There are many Chinese dim sum restaurants in the South Bay Area serving dumplings and small plates from steam carts, and Hong Kong Saigon Harbor in Sunnyvale is a good choice to meet, eat and drink some tea.
We rarely turn down fried chicken, and their chicken wings sprinkled with fried garlic bits and jalapeño slices is generally a good version if you can get it fresh. It’s not always easy to tell if it has been sitting on the cart for awhile but it is better when served hot:
Wu Gok is a crispy dumpling stuffed with mashed taro and minced pork, battered and deep fried. The soft inside is contrasted by the crispy fried “netting” (a by-product of cornstarch in the batter) surrounding the dumpling:
Lu Mai Faan is stir-fried glutinous sticky rice. Topped with scallions and strips of scrambled eggs, the rice was studded with BBQ pork and Chinese lup cheong sausage which added sweetness to the dish:
This Har Gau shrimp dumpling variation came with some pea sprouts. Large chunks of shrimp a are wrapped by translucent rice flour dough. It would be nice if they could space the dumplings apart so they don’t stick and rip the skins off of the neighboring dumplings, but there’s not much space in the steam basket:
Fu Pei Guen, always a favorite, are steamed tofu skin rolls stuffed with a minced pork, shrimp and mushroom mixture:
What is yum cha without tea? Our current favorite is pu-erh tea since it does not get bitter with long steeping. The problem is trying to order it as “pu-erh” at a Cantonese restaurant. We were educated by a server to order it as “poolay” and the right tea appears. We now remember it as the French pronunciation of chicken, as in “poulet.” We also took a plate of the Dan Tats, the mini-egg tarts (click on the custard pies to refocus the Lytro living picture):
Law Bok Gow is often referred to as a turnip cake. It is a savory dish made with thinly sliced daikon radish cooked with some dried shrimp and rice flour. It is pan-fried to a soft, tender texture:
Hom Sui Gok are deep fried glutinous rice dumplings filled with minced pork. The rice flour wrapper has sugar added which makes it a slightly sweet savory item. They normally look like mini fried footballs, but the server cut the dumplings in half making them reminiscent of Pac-men:
The bird’s nest shrimp balls were perfectly fried and not greasy at all. This is one of the more delicate and better versions of this dish (no idea what the Chinese name is):
Lo Mai Gai is sticky rice is wrapped in a dried banana leaf and steamed:
The leaf package contained glutinous rice with minced chicken, pork, mushrooms, lup cheong sausage and a salty duck egg yolk:
The real reason we really like coming to Hong Kong Saigon Harbor is for their Lai Wong Bau which are baked buns filled with sweet taro. The kitchen only makes so many of these and they come out once or twice at most during dim sum service. People literally run to the server and clamor for these when they come out of the kitchen, so be on the lookout:
The inside of the buns shows the creamy taro filling. There is a version with egg custard as well, but it’s just not as good as this one:
Hong Kong Saigon Harbor gets full for dim sum even during weekdays but showing up before 11:45 am or after 1:00 pm makes it much easier to get a seat. You don’t have to speak Chinese or know the Cantonese names since looking and pointing always works. They also have a seafood-centric menu that can be ordered from during the day or evening where fresh fish from tanks are cooked to order.