Saturday, March 28, 2009

HK Causeway Bay -- A hankering for Chinese

HK Causeway Bay
111 E 4th Avenue

San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 342-8388

In all honesty, even the most mediocre dim sum in the Bay Area is better than the best dim sum in Orange County. Frankly, there isn't a place I'd really go for dim sum in OC when I'm hankering for some. HK Causeway Bay is another example of the tons of dim sum restaurants available in the Bay Area, and in San Mateo alone, there are at least a handful which does the job when you've got that craving for some BBQ pork buns or har gow.

I came here with my aunt, uncle and cousins. We ordered quite a few dim sum items as well as some specials including a bamboo pith with Shanghai bok choy in broth with goji berries, steamed tripe served with a special soy sauce and a rice vermecelli with bean sprouts and
fried anchovies (they call it silver fish here) and a fried sweet potato dusted with salty egg yolk.

Dim sum comprised of the usual offerings: bbq pork buns, har gow, chicken's feet, w
u kok (taro puffs), seen juk guen (tofu sheets wrapped ground pork), mushroom cheung fun, mochi balls (lui sa tong yuen) and steamed sponge cake (ma lai goh).

I thought the chicken's feet were fantastic, flavorful and off the bone tender. Wu kok was also fabulous, so light on the outside and nice and mushy on the inside. The only thing I had a problem with was the rice noodles which were too thick and not delicate enough, and the wrappers for the har gow which uses the same rice flour as the cheung fun. Everything else wasn't bad.

Service is really awful at times even when you shout out in Cantonese to them. I think the bus boys were better at getting your tea or water refilled if you were lucky to flag one of them down. You can pretty much get an above average meal here if you know what to order.
We came back for dinner another night and again some of the dishes were hit and miss.

During our dinner visit, we had the snow crab done two ways: with scallion and ginger sau
ce as well as the legs steamed with vermecelli, string beans, salt and peppered pork chops, yuk tze tofu with a mushroom medley, steamed fish, stir fried gai lan in a wine sauce, sticky rice to finish. Most of the dishes were okay except the pork chops which had an over abundance of soda powder (generally used to tenderize the meat) which gave the pork a 'fatty' texture. I hate this texture because it causes the pork to not resemble meat anymore.

The yuk tze tofu was really good as was the sticky rice. The snow crab wasn't too bad and the fish was good too. Eating with a group means you can try more dishes and that's exactly
what we did -- eight adults did some major damage, but without hurting the pocketbook too much!