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Tea Palace Dim Sum Review

Point Me to the Highlands, Dim Sum at Tea Palace

Dim sum, the Asian equivalent of dining à la carte.

By Catherine Reynolds | Email the author | December 30, 2010

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Lotus Leaf Credit Catherine Reynolds
Photos (11)
Stir-fried noodles with bean sprouts & onions. Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o2.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/24228c858b6d42bab7d7cb8044005ac9
The steamed Gai Lan, Chinese broccoli is made to order and was  served hot, oyster sauce on the side. Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o4.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/b06c629b3353f0f4f76d11a11bb965ca
The standout was the crisply golden fried shrimp balls,  oval-shaped and graced with a strip of nori, which gives them an  artistic touch. Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o4.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/b13b4a6943f3362dccaa7a6d83ba013a
Fu Zhu Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o2.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/e8999ca0833cdb3a81fd15a9f917f51f
Ha Cheong Fun Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o1.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/93ee462ed93733776646702ac3f0e158
Har Gow Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o4.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/3d4be2225315e0bb7bef7d1e85862d7a
Lotus Leaf Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o3.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/6d4bd5f112765eb3ee063d1a3f942c6e
Wolf berry & longan “pudding” is knox blox on tropical  steroids. A jewel-like quivering cube of encased wolf berries and floral  longan strips, artistically topped with a cool layer of condensed  coconut milk. Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o3.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/62b9181c2d68c6953313227866bd2cf
Shu Mai Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o2.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/11eabb30305f3fc691449aeb8eb4579d
Sticky Rice (unwrapped) Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o5.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/fc0f6e30bc3cfa8e84168bf949adc33f
Along with strands of chicken, fried tofu skin and minced  scallions, Tea Palace's congee also holds the surprise of Pi dan,  blueish preserved 'century eggs' at the bottom of the bowl. Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o4.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/3fa1c6295268ecd84a7ba2f5026ab503
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"C'mon," I said nudging my husband as the hour grew closer to noon. "Let's go get dim sum!"

"You mean, fifty ways to eat shrimp?" my dozing husband laughed and rolled over. 

The true translation of dim sum is to "point heart." That being said, your stomach should point you towards Renton's Tea Palace

Tea Palace, situated in an enormous lot behind the Highland's Viet Wah,  is a staggeringly large restaurant, aimed to have banquets of up to 800, and is one of the largest Asian halls in the Northwest. The day after Christmas, the chandeliers glistened and several stages were set for live entertainment the night before. This is a place built for a serious party. 

I envied the large tables with families, set around Lazy Susans filled with various dishes. It's hard to do dim sum justice with only two or three people, even though it can make for splendid leftovers. I've laughed at another dim sum joint as a small Asian woman claimed the entire offering of shrimp and chive dumplings, then proceeded to break out her Tupperware.

While Tea Palace may not have Tupperware-toting Gow Choi Gau, it does have cordial service, a wagon train of carts and a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere.  And excellent jasmine-infused tea, as a tea palace should. Servers are friendly, and willing to answer questions, even if it requires sending over a translator. 

The congee was a comforting start, especially after a night of revelry. Along with strands of chicken, fried tofu skin and minced scallions, Tea Palace's congee also holds the surprise of Pi dan, blueish preserved 'century eggs' at the bottom of the bowl. A treasured dish, a first for me, and an acquired taste I believe.

Stir-fried noodles with bean sprouts and onions were quietly comforting, the fu Pi Kuen, or bean curd skin rolls were devoured quickly along with their hidden layer of minced pork & shrimp. The shu mei were up to snuff, although we agreed that it may have been our fault for ordering greedily, the dishes could have been warmer. The steamed Gai Lan, Chinese broccoli, is apparently made to order as we never saw it on a cart but on many a table, and was served hot, oyster sauce on the side. Just the way I like it and a great way to round out a meal of tasty fried dishes. 

However, the standout was the crisply golden fried shrimp balls, oval-shaped and graced with a strip of nori which gave them an artistic touch. And the surprise favorite for me? Wolf berry and longan "pudding." This is knox blox on tropical steroids. A jewel-like quivering cube of encased wolf berries and floral longan strips, artistically topped with a cool layer of condensed coconut milk. Not too sweet, but a refreshing finish.

If one is to judge the caliber of dim sum on the pleats of the har gao, I didn't count. I will say they stuck to the paper which is a dim sum faux pas. But would I rather eat here than head to madness of the International District after a major holiday? Dang ran, of course.

Our meal of over ten dishes barely pushed $50 with lots of leftovers. And as I spooned chili sauce into the side of my to-go box, I felt pretty merry for the day after Christmas.

Tea Palace Asian Restaurant & Banquet
2828 Sunset Lane NE, Renton, WA, 98056
(425) 228-9393


Monday - Friday :   10:00am - 3:00pm Lunch
                                        5:00pm - 10:00pm Dinner

Saturday - Sunday : 10:00am - 10:00pm

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