The last time I went to Koi Palace, was in July 2008, as part of my Journey to the West trip from Chicago to San Francisco, before I bade the US goodbye for than an indeterminate length of time. Bruce had brought PY and I there, and while I remembered the dim sum as being delicious, the most unforgettable dish on the menu is the Indonesian thousand layered cake dessert (kueh lapis). Such a painstaking cake to have to create, layer by layer! I still remember happily enjoying biting through each layer of it later on that day, on our hike in Muir Woods.
So the moment we picked up our rental car at the SFO airport early Friday morning, we drove straight to Koi Palace. I was so crestfallen to find that it was closed! But then brightened up immediately a heartbeat later when I realized they only opened at 11am. It was then 1030am. Wah, back in Chicago, dim sum could be had at 9am if we’d wanted!
But the short wait was worth the while. When they opened at 11am on the dot, there was already a throng of people lining up to get in. We were the second party to be seated. Hehe. And although there were only two of us, we went nuts with the ordering, picking a total of 7 dishes, including a ginormous bowl of beef congee. The congee turned out to be the highlight of our meal, and afterwards, we toyed seriously with the idea of returning for another meal before we flew back to Chicago. The porridge was so smooth, and so flavorful with the ginger and pickled vegetables. The rice crepes with dough fritters and XO sauce was delicious too; the rice crepes were silky smooth and the fritters fresh and crunchy. Our one slight complain about that dish was that they were too generous with the fritters – they were so large that there didn’t seem to be enough rice crepe to go around! Hehe.
And our favorite test of a good dim sum restaurant – the runniness of the salted egg yolk custard bun. Koi’s more than passed the test, and we bit into the piping hot and creamy custard with relish.
We ended up having to pack the char siew buns, egg tart, and a slice of fried taro cake to go, but they made for a lovely snack in the car later on. Pity we didn’t get to try the crispy fried noodles dish that we saw other tables enjoying, nor the roast duck. But there will definitely be a next time!