Rolling with the Dim Sum Carts at Hong Kong Flower Lounge (Millbrae) [Thoughts + Pics]

We were in San Mateo and found ourselves running late to meet up with some friends for Lunch. While we had some lunch suggestions from everyone on FTC ready to suggest, our friends (who weren’t foodies) suggested “a Dim Sum place close-by” so off we went.

There’s probably a reason we’ve never heard @ipsedixit or @beefnoguy mentioning Hong Kong Flower Lounge as a recommendation, and we soon found out why.

Walking in, you’re greeted by a wall of Live Seafood tanks (albeit a bit run down and dirty). After being seated we found out that Hong Kong Flower Lounge was serving Dim Sum by carts, old-school style.

Steamed Scallop and Shrimp Dumpling:

Over-steamed, the Dumpling skin was a bit mushy. The filling was fine, but the Shrimp and Scallop tasted pretty average / muted.

Chinese Broccoli in Oyster Sauce:

The best dish we had on this visit: Nicely poached / boiled Chinese Broccoli, with a nice snap, but cooked all the way through. :slight_smile:

Siu Mai (Shrimp & Pork Dumpling):

Sadly overcooked. Lots of Pork Fat chunks mixed with the Ground Marinated Pork and Shrimp filling. Definitely not as good as Dragon Beaux. :frowning:

Steamed Chicken Feet in Black Bean Sauce:

Solid. Familiar, savory with a touch of sweet. The Steamed Chicken Feet were very soft.

Steamed Fish Ball:

This was fine. Relatively lighter in texture and flavor than Beef Meatballs, it was a nice break from the usual dishes.

Steamed Vegetarian Dumplings:

This Dumpling Skin was a touch on the thick side, but otherwise the filling of Chinese Chives, Mushrooms and Vermicelli was tasty. :slight_smile:

Deep Fried Tofu in Special Sauce:

One of our friends really wanted Tofu, so we ordered this off of the dinner menu. This was Deep Fried Tofu, of the firm variety, then marinated / drenched in a Light Soy Sauce-based Sauce. It was rather sparse, but had decent flavor.

Fried Rice with Vegetables:

This Fried Rice was too wet and on the oily side, with no Wok Hei (Breath of the Wok), a far cry from the wonderful, soulful version from Dragon Beaux.

Har Gow (Shrimp Dumplings):

Over-steamed as well. The skins stuck together and tore apart as we tried to take a piece out. :frowning: The Shrimp chunks within were pretty mediocre, tasting like typical frozen Shrimp.

Steamed Beef Tendon with Satay Sauce (No Pic):

We forgot to take a picture of this, but thankfully this was the 2nd best dish of the lunch meal. The Beef Tendon was steamed to a pretty tender consistency and had a nice Satay flavor infusion. :slight_smile:

Baked Egg Custard:

Served cold (off of the cart roaming around, probably sitting in there for a while), it was a pretty mediocre version of the Hong Kong Egg Custard Tart.

Service for a cart style place was actually far worse than usual (worse than most restaurants we’ve tried in the San Gabriel Valley). :frowning: Servers never came by to refill Tea or replace dirty plates. They never came by even once. We had to get up and track down someone to get the bill.

Hong Kong Flower Lounge is noteworthy in that this is the first truly mediocre restaurant we’ve visited in the SF area. Clearly, it’s a bit skewed because when we visit SF, we already have an itinerary planned out and thanks to all our FTC’ers with great recommendations, we always have something tasty lined up. :slight_smile:

Sadly for this one meal, we left it open given our schedule and meeting up with some non-foodie friends in the area, and this is the result. Mediocre, passable Dim Sum that would be a touch below many of the places in L.A. And definitely the opposite end of the spectrum to SF’s Dragon Beaux.

Hong Kong Flower Lounge
51 E Millbrae Ave.
Millbrae, CA 94030


If back in the area - not THAT close! - maybe try this in Palo Alto.

Thanks for the update.

Hong Kong Flower Lounge has been around for a very long time. Back in the day it was very good for both lunch and dinner. But it changed hands some years ago and is now part of the Mayflower Group (one location in Milpitas and I want to say they were in SF at some point), but decided to keep the HKFL name.

You were probably better off going to Zen Peninsula instead, though they also can be inconsistent, but one of the better places along that strip of HK seafood restaurants (for dim sum only). The Kitchen and Asian Pearl are very mediocre and I might dare even say The Kitchen sucks to the bone. The other half decent choice might be Champagne Seafood in downtown San Mateo (though the latest iteration of ownership is trying to do Guangzhou style higher end banquet + dim sum), and the rest of the places are crap shoots.

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Thanks @beefnoguy. :slight_smile: Yah, we didn’t even want Dim Sum (especially after having Dragon Beaux a couple days earlier), but our friends suddenly brought that up and we let them choose. I had bookmarked a bunch of places you and others brought up when I asked for San Mateo recs, but alas that didn’t happen, thanks for the info on the other possible places in case we find ourselves in a similar situation again next time. :wink:

Yeah, and its glory days are long past.

I hate when that happens!


When I first moved out West from the east coast sticks; HKFL was one of the first dim sum joints I hit and I thought it was amazing compared to what I had been accustomed to.


Yes sir, old school but not in the American Chinese way, but yet at the time, one of the more true to form places that Canto expats flocked to. Fook Yuen nearby was also one of the greats in the early 1990s. But we are dating ourselves lol.


Oh yeah Fook Yuen was another one on rotation :smile:

Sorry, @Chowseeker1999. I’ve learned that’s the price you have to pay sometimes when you meet up with non-foodie friends. At least you were able to spend time with them :slight_smile:


I try to remind myself of that :slight_smile:

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