Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Yum Yum Cha

Yum Yum Cha
2435 Times Blvd
Houston TX 77005
Monday - Sunday 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM $1 to $6
This hole-in -the-wall Dim Sum place in Rice Village is like no other place you have been to, small (sits maybe 30 people) and quite stark. It is all about the food and not the atmosphere. Also no carts roll here. You order “a al carte” from a paper menu with abut 60 options. In a ring system on the table are pictures of the food items so you can see what you are getting. They make everything fresh and bring it to your table as it is finished. Do not expect to see everything arriving at the same time. If you have patience you will be rewarded with excellent food. Service itself can be rude especially if you are not a regular. So hang tough and forbear for the reward.
I was alone so I could order all the strange stuff I love and others people roll their eyes at. Be assured they also have the normal stuff except it tastes better since it is made to order. After placing my order they started coming out in a steady progression after a slight delay
First to hit the table was Jook with Pork and Preserved Duck Egg. This is rice gruel, which I absolutely love. A lot I like about dim sum is the mouth feel of certain items. I must have Chinese genes because I love unctuous gelatinous textures. The 100-year-old egg in the Jook was just the white, which turns black during the process. They tasted like unflavored jello. The pork lent great flavor however. Next came Foong Jow. Really nice large braised chicken feet in soy. They had lots of skin and scrumptious sticky gelatin. Ngau Pak Yet appeared. Braised beef tripe with ginger and spring onions. It proved to posses a light and snappy taste with just the right mouth feel (not at all chewy) and melted in the mouth. The ginger made all the difference in the flavor. Ngau Tow followed. Steamed beef stomach with a black bean sauce and chile flakes. A bit chewier but still good texture. The spiciness of the dish made it that much better. Next came Law Bak Go, turnip cake (maybe my favorite dish). This one contained pork and shrimp. It is kind of like a stiff pudding with a mild turnip taste that has been pan seared. The mouth feel and taste make this a must have for me. Chai Sui So is a baked BBQ pork bun. While OK I prefer the steamed kind (least favorite of the meal). For a bit of sweet I got Dow Sai Jen Ban. It consists of red bean paste stuffed in a rice flour pastry steamed then coasted with sesame seeds and pan sauteed. Just enough sweet without being cloying.
All in all, the best dim sum experience I have ever had. I have eaten dim sum in San Francisco, New York and London, none better. If you are in Houston and are a dim sum nut like me give it a try. Patience is the key.

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