[Oakland] Legendary Palace dim sum

Another post from my recent trip to the Bay Area… this is the last one, I promise ^^” I actually wish this weren’t my last post and that I had more time to eat more things while I was there, but alas – I’m already making a list of things I want to hit up next time.

One of the things that I definitely knew I wanted to eat was dim sum. Since moving to San Diego nearly a year and a half ago, I haven’t had dim sum at all. Partly because S doesn’t really like dim sum (he doesn’t like seafood, and what’s dim sum without seafood?), and also partly because there hasn’t been any place that’s been highly recommended to me. So, I called up a couple of my old friends and asked them to meet me at Oakland Chinatown for dim sum. Originally I had wanted to go to San Francisco, but my flight was leaving from Oakland so it was more convenient.

There were several places to choose from, but I picked Legendary Palace – I’d been there once before (even though I didn’t realize this until I actually stepped in the restaurant), and the Yelp reviews were not bad. It was super crowded, and I had all my luggage with me at the restaurant, so I actually didn’t get to take many photos of the place itself. So, food-pics-only post here.

Siu Mai (Pork Dumplings)

Siu Mai (Pork Dumplings)

Har Gow (Shrimp Dumplings)

Har Gow (Shrimp Dumplings)


Beef Cheung Fun (Beef Rice Noodle Wrap)

Beef Cheung Fun (Beef Rice Noodle Wrap)

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[Dallas-Fort Worth] A snapshot of food in Texas

I was in Texas for my sister’s college graduation (congrats!!) and Mother’s Day, and of course, in addition to spending time with friends and family (and catching up on sleep), I enjoyed a lot of great food.  Here I present to you some of my favorite meals from the week!

Starting off with Chinese food:

Sesame bread (芝麻大餅) from First Emperor Barbecue in Richardson

Warm and fluffy, full of sesame and green onion, this is probably one of my favorite breads.  Ever.

Of course, you’ve heard of Tex-Mex (I hope).  I was fortunate enough to visit one of the best Tex-Mex restaurants in Ft. Worth, Yucatan Taco Shop:

Garlic shredded beef nachos from Yucatan Taco Shop in Ft. Worth

These nachos are ridiculous.  As you can see, in addition to tender and delicious (and rather garlicky) shredded beef, there’s shredded lettuce, tomato, cheese, some sort of sour cream-based sauce, and a huge heaping of guacamole.  You actually run of chips way before the toppings…  And in case you were wondering, it all actually tasted pretty damn good together.

Something else that you should have heard of is Texas barbecue:

Barbecue is basically heaven on Earth, seriously.  And Texas has some of the best barbecue on Earth.  This is one of them.

This little piggy, place right in front of the meat counter, was just too cute :P

Awesome beef brisket! :9

Pork ribs, corn, and coleslaw

Succulent.  Smoky.  Tender.  Just perfect.  Need I say more?  This was definitely my top meal of the week.

Moving on to more Chinese food.  My stepdad, who is Cantonese, took me to one of his favorite dim sum restaurants:

Char siu puff pastry (叉燒蘇) from Kirin Court in Richardson

Red bean sesame balls (芝麻球)

I loved the char siu puff pastry – you rarely see this item at most dim sum restaurants, and it’s always a treat when I see them.  The char siu itself is really good, just sweet enough to complement the puff pastry perfectly.  Also, the sesame balls were definitely some of the best that I’ve had in the States (yes, including California!).  There was plenty of red bean filling, and the sticky rice was served warm and just the right balance of soft and chewy.

Last but definitely not least, I need to give a shout-out to my stepdad, who is one of the best cooks ever.  He has 3 principles: 1) cooking has to be efficient (we’re busy and hungry!), 2) food should be healthy, 3) food should taste good.  In his mind, these principles are not in conflict at all, and I am very inspired by his cooking style.

Home-cooked strip steak

He makes grilling a phenomenal steak look so easy!  I am so stealing the cooking technique and recipe.

Home-made Greek-style salad

One of my favorite dishes, a simple salad of cucumber, tomatoes, olives, and walnuts tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette.  It was super refreshing, just perfect for the Texas heat.

There, I hope that I’ve made you hungry enough for the evening.  More food reviews of San Diego restaurants coming soon!

Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood Restaurant Dim Sum

I had a crazy dim sum craving a while ago, so my stepdad took me to Hong Kong East Ocean (HKEO) in Emeryville for their ‘seaside dim sum’. The restaurant is located right next to the Bay, which means it is a popular choice among Chinese folks for weddings, banquets, and other parties. Also, be prepared for a pretty long wait on a Saturday morning; it took almost 45 minutes before we were seated. I was starving, but thankfully you don’t have to wait long to get your food with dim sum.

Crispy Pork, 脆皮燒肉, my personal fave

Shrimp Rice Rolls (Cheung Fun), 蝦腸粉

Marinated beef and jellyfish, 鹵牛肉+海蜇皮

Daikon cake, 煎蘿蔔糕, my 2nd fave item of the meal; steamed spare ribs, 豉汁排骨

Pork siu mai, 豬肉燒賣; BBQ pork puff pastry, 叉燒酥, my favorite item of the meal

Egg tarts, 蛋撻, my obligatory dessert

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal here. Not only is the atmosphere and service much nicer than most dim sum places, the food was really good. The place is a bit more expensive compared with some of the dim sum in Oakland, but I would say that the food quality is definitely reflected in the price. I will definitely be back when my next dim sum craving hits!

Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood Restaurant (香港東海海鮮酒家)

3199 Powell St, Emeryville, CA
(510) 655-3388

Dim Sum hours:
M-F: 11am-2:30pm
Sa:     10:30am-2:30pm
Su & holidays: 10am-2:30pm

Koi Palace!

My friend Jason has been raving to me about Koi Palace for almost two years – and now that we’re in the Bay Area, we can finally go! So we used Sid’s visit last weekend as an excuse to try out this supposed ‘best dim sum place in the Bay.’

There were only 3 of us, so we couldn’t order too much food – but we got most of the standard stuff: shrimp dumplings, chive dumplings, turnip cake, spareribs, fried taro, sesame balls…

So delicious! The shrimp in the dumplings was jumbo-sized and fresh. The turnip cake was also amazing (sadly, we started gobbling it up before I took a picture!), as were the sesame balls… but I think my favorite dish of the meal was the fried taro! I think it was seriously one of the best taro dishes I’ve ever had. (AND I usually like my taro sweet – I think this dish totally changed my perspective!)

I am not sure if I’d come back anytime soon, since the wait is ridiculously long (we even called ahead to reduce our wait time from 75 minutes to 40 minutes…), and it was a pricey meal ($24 for each of us). But it was quite a fulfilling dim sum experience. I think it is worth the hype – even just once – especially if you are a dim sum lover like me!

Neo-Asia’s weekend dim sum

We had heard good things about Neo-Asia‘s dim sum – at least that it was better than Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant’s (see previous post) – so we absolutely had to drive out to Cary and give it a try.

**Note: Neo-Asia/ Neo-China has a few different locations in the RTP, and only the Cary location serves dim sum on weekends!

We ordered the typical yum cha stuff, a few of which are pictured below (sorry, I didn’t quite get a chance to take a photo of the food before my hungry meal companions poked their chopsticks into the food): siu mai, spare ribs, shrimp dumplings, shrimp with fried tofu, shrimp cheong fun, and the like. All of them were pretty decent, but not that much better than HK’s except for the siu mai. However, I did enjoy in particular the chives dumpling, which is not available at HK.

Select steamed dishes

What we thought was really special about the dim sum at Neo-Asia were the cold meat platters: sliced chicken with garlic sauce, sliced pork with garlic sauce, sliced spicy pork (some of which are also pictured). Those were really delicious – especially the spicy pork. The spicy sauce that was used really had a special taste that wasn’t too strong, and the meat in all the cold platters was very tender and fresh.

Select cold meat platters; potstickers; green beans

We also ordered some potstickers, the obligatory veggies, and a sticky rice chicken. I didn’t try all of the dishes since I’m not particularly fond of sticky rice stuff, but I was told that the sticky rice was pretty good, since it had lots of fillings (chicken and Chinese sausage and ground pork and whatnot).

Finally, for dessert, we tried the tofu pudding and sesame ball. The sesame ball was freshly fried and very yummy. The tofu pudding was both a surprise and a disappointment: the soup that accompanied it was ginger soup, which was perfect for the cold day, but the tofu itself wasn’t soft enough to achieve the pudding-like texture. I definitely enjoyed the ginger soup more than the tofu part…

Overall, my favorite part of the meal was definitely the cold meat platters, but they obviously made the meal very expensive. You also do not know how much each item costs, since your card is stamped with a server’s number instead of in price categories. My buddies and I enjoyed the meal, but we decided that we’ll probably still stay in Durham and go to HK when we crave dim sum…

Restaurant: Neo-Asia (Cary location)
Price Range: $20-$25

Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant’s weekend dim sum

I’ve had a lot of good yum cha (more commonly known as dim sum) since I have a handful of relatives in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and NorCal. I didn’t expect too much from Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant’s yum cha, but I was a bit surprised.
We ordered the usual stuff: siu mai (燒賣), har gau (蝦餃; shrimp dumpling), cheong fun (腸粉; rice noodle roll). The siu mai was delicious – mostly ground pork with just a bit of shrimp paste. The har gau was pretty decent, and the cheong fun’s noodle skin wasn’t firm enough.
Left photo, top plate: shrimp dumplings. Left photo, bottom plate: siu mai. Right photo: rice noodle rolls.
We also tried a plate of the char siu (叉燒; Cantonese barbecued pork), which was very nicely done. Good amount of sauce, and pretty tender meat. Another good dish was their sliced ham (火腿), which was served with red vinegar and diced garlic – these two were probably my favorite.
Top: Cantonese barbecue pork. Bottom: sliced ham with red vinegar.
Finally, we also ordered their lo bak go (蘿蔔糕; turnip cake). It wasn’t anything spectacular, but good enough to satisfy a craving. Of course, we had a plate of vegetables, which changes from visit to visit based on freshness and availability.
Turnip cakes.
We finished the day with some dessert – matuan (麻糰). Overall, a pretty decent meal. There were some other dishes that were ordered, but I didn’t try enough to give a good enough review. Maybe someone else out there can give them a try and leave some feedback?
Restaurant: Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant
Price Range: $15-20 per person
– Worth it – yum cha is a good choice for Chinese food because it’s not oily, and you can sample many different options. Give it a try, and you’re bound to discover at least one or two dishes you’ll like.