Hong Kong Flower Lounge


I have previously lived in Hong Kong where I would go for Dim Sum about once a week. Although the Flower Lounge’s Dim Sum here doesn’t quite match that, it is pretty close and is probably the best of all the Chinese Restaurants I have tried in the bay area. Unlike a lot of the restaurants around here, the Dim Sum is not swollen to suit American appetites and I feel this improves the quality.

The small, custard filled ‘bo loh Bau’ are really good, with a very crisp, still savoury topping. The golden, flaky pastry of the ‘cha siu sou’ melts in your mouth, with none of that all too common dryness. The ‘ha cheung fan’ (shrimp rolled in a rice wrapper) are free from the kind of doughy sloppiness which often puts me off eating them. The ‘cha siu bau’ (steamed bread with honeyed pork) always taste really fresh and have the right balance of sweetness and meatiness for me. The ‘siu long bau’ (shanghai dumplings holding soup and pork) are a little dissapointing, lacking any soup at all really. This restaurant is one of only a few places to serve ‘jung’ (flavoured rice cooked in large leaves, often served around the Dragon boat festivals) and these are well worth trying.

If you live in the city, its probably not worth making the trip out here specially however. The dim sum at Great Eastern is equally good and much closer to you.


51 Millbrae Ave
Millbrae, CA 94030
(650) 692-6666

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Great Eastern


After an uninspiring trip to Gold Mountain Restaurant, did a scan of Yelp, Chowhound, Zagat et al and skeptically came down to this place for Dim Sum. Having lived in Hong Kong for two years, I’m fairly particular about my dim sum and compare what I get here to excellent experiences there.

Great Eastern’s dim sum is very impressive. The Cha Siu Bau (barbeque pork steamed buns) tasted freshly made with nice soft white bread around them. Rather than the gloopy, bright red pork which is often served here, and which has a too bold flavor for me, the filling was much subtler in flavor and slightly drier. The bau were a lot smaller than those in other restaurants which I often find overwhelming.

The Siu Mai (pork and shrimp dumplings) were different to ones I’ve had in Hong Kong, larger and slightly heavier on the meat. Again however, they tasted really freshly made and both the shrimp and the pork had an excellent flavor. 

The Xiu Long Bau (small dumplings with pork and soup inside) were some of the best I have had in San Francisco. They were small, unlike the crude offerings at some of the restaurants here, and they did not have thick wrappers. The soup had a warm, distinctive flavor – my only criticism is that there could be slightly more of it.

The glutinous rice wrapped in steamed bread was a surprise treat. As with the Cha Siu Bau, the bread was really soft and fresh, contrasting nicely with the sticky chewiness of the flavored rice inside, which is like the rice you often get in jung or leaf parcels.

We also had shrimp and snow pea dumplings. I was again struck by the freshness of these. They were small, but stuffed full of the different vegetables, demonstrating the real fresh, exciting mouthful which dumplings can give.

Although the waiter clattered down a pot of jasmine tea to begin with, he was happy to change it when we asked him what other teas the restaurant had. I was impressed that they offered black Bo leih, oolong, jasmine and sau Mei white tea. When went for the oolong, which was high quality and added to the general sense of authenticity given by this restaurant. 

Sitting downstairs, I also found the atmosphere in Great Eastern calmer than that of most Chinatown restaurants I’ve been too. When the check came, we were surprised at the reasonableness of the price considering how much we had eaten.


649 Jackson St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 986-2500

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