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Another one of Peter's recommendations that wasn't on the itinerary, Hong Kong Zhai makes every single one of their dim sums in house, or so I've been told.

Their lo mai kai ($1.80, bottom right) is pretty decent. A tasty cap of chicken, mixed in with slices of lup cheong and a large chunk of mushroom sat atop the base of well cooked glutinous rice that's not overly mushy. Unfortunately, the rice was under seasoned, presumably as they were over reliant on the preserved sausage to impart flavor to it. The good news is that it all gets even better from here.

The liu sha bao ($3) was undeniably excellent. The salted egg yolk custard leaned more towards the sweet side of the scale, just enough to satisfy any sugar cravings, but had a little hint of salt to satisfy the purists. The custard itself is smooth, but carries a very desirable grittiness to it, attesting to the fact that actual salted egg yolks went into the custard. The pau dough itself was soft and oh-so-supple while maintaining a pleasant thickness.

The shrimp chee cheong fun (also $3) was doused liberally in a savory, ambrosial soy-based sauce that had me mopping it all up with the silky smooth rice rolls. The rice rolls are steamed separately from the shrimp unlike most other places which wrap up the shrimp, then steam it all together. Hong Kong Zhai's method prevents both elements from being overcooked, and it paid off handsomely. The shrimp was bouncy and snapped under just a touch of pressure, while the chee cheong fun slithered off spoons and chopsticks like velvet.

And finally, the winner is the beancurd skin rolls (you guessed it, also $3)! Soft, supple, sizable and simply stellar, these rolls were some of the best I've ever tasted thus far. If you ever find yourself dining at Hong Kong Zhai, order at least two baskets of these bad boys. You'll thank me later.

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