Tai Pan in Clifton Park for Dim Sum

It’s rather unfortunate that some of my clearest pictures in a while were taken at one of the most ‘meh’ meals I’ve had in a while. Daniel B. and I met up for lunch one day at Tai Pan (1519 Route 9, Clifton Park, NY). I’ve had food at Tai Pan before. Never been very impressed with it – usually long waits for so-so food, but The Profussor was all about Cheryl Clark’s upbeat review in the TU. Eventually, he wore me down enough to go over there and try out their dim sum menu for a weekday lunch.

We sat in a front/sunny area. The seats/tables looked like outdoor patio kind of furniture, and a lot of the backs of the wicker chairs were broken. :/

One positive thing about Tai Pan’s weekday dim sum menu – they don’t have everything on the sheet, and they tell you that. More like, circle it and see what your server says they have.

We got some of my dim sum mainstays – har gow & har cheung. Shrimp rice rolls & Shrimp rice noodle dumplings. These were really bad. There’s no mincing words about it. I’d just basically suggest avoiding the dim sum dishes that involve rice noodles.
The har gow were better than the har cheung, but… they were still kind of gloppy/granular. And what’s up with the bed of shredded iceberg lettuce underneath instead of a leaf of napa cabbage?

These may have been some of the worst shrimp rice noodle rolls I’ve ever had. See how thick the noodle is? It was crazy-thick. And tough. And tasted kind of stale. And there was only One. Small. Shrimp. in the roll. It was way overcooked and gummy. WTF, you always get two whole shrimp in har cheung. Not one or one half. And they should pop with shrimpy goodness, not mushiness.

The sauce was really weird too – VERY oily and greasy.

The shrimp eggplant were one of the better dishes. New take on it – I’m used to seeing the eggplant stuffed with shrimp and the entire thing deep fried. This dish was more like they fried slices of eggplant, and then put slices of fried shrimp discs on top that were battered in panko. Nice texture, and not too oily for something fried.

At first I was like “WTF is this?! This isn’t traditional!” But then the texture won me over, so I ended up really liking it at the end. But if you’re used to the more traditional stuffed eggplant dim sum dish, the first time you eat this will be way different.

Taro dumplings with some meat in them. These were also good. Too oily/greasy, but still passable. You know how you get some fried foods, and you’re like “Oh, these are good, but there is a lot of oil coming out of these.”, and you still eat it? Yeah, that’s what these were like. Nothing so horrible we couldn’t eat ’em, but enough of a distraction to make us double check where our napkins were.

Beef chow fun. It was okay. But suffered from way too much oil. Good wok hei on the meat and some noodles, though. These rice noodles were much better than the rice noodles in the dim sum dishes.
I liked the cold beef tendon dish. We got the whitey warning from our server about it being a “very traditional Chinese dish” and asked if we really were sure we wanted it. *sigh* I guess I’m not looking too Chinese lately, eh? Maybe if I did they wouldn’t have given me a heads up on the cheung fun situation, lol. Give me tendon bits and lemme put them in my mouf, pls!

These were spicy-style and served on a bed of cucumbers. This was probably one of the best-executed dishes of the meal. Pleasantly chewy tendon slices – if you like beef tendon, this will suit you just fine. Beef tendon is more about texture than it is about flavor.

Here’s another shot of the chow fun. Look at all the oil pooling on the bottom! Way too much oil.

If I go back, I’d ask them to go really light on the oil. I think this was about $7-8. I’m not really sure how much everything else was because when we got the bill it just had one price on it. Maybe some of the other Chinese dishes are more authentic than the ones we got. Beef tendon isn’t too popular ’round these parts, so I would go back just to get that again.

  1. Gerry Erchak said:

    Once upon a time in the late 70s TP was the best Chinese resto in the area. It has gone steadily downhill since then. Dinner in particular is truly awful.

  2. DM800 said:

    At first glance, it looking like Thai food, but i am wrong. I know that TP was best Chinese restaurant, but time has proven that everything changed very far.

  3. Anonymous said:

    We went for dim sum on the weekend last year. It wasn't too bad (there's a Capital Region correction applied here). Wouldn't go out of my way for it but would have it again. Same thing could be said for CCK or Emperor's. Mostly we skip it and, if we have to have dim sum, travel 2-3 hrs east or south (Ala Shanghai, while great, doesn't really count in this category). The beef tendon, at least in noodle soup, is not too bad at Hong Kong Bakery (even their new market location).

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