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Monday, March 31, 2014

Review: Yum Cha, Baskets of Bite-sized Happiness

Being Asian, as much as I like my Spaghetti and my burgers, it never really takes the place of good ol' Chinese food. The name Yum Cha, literally translated means to 'have tea', and is essentially similar to Western tea-time. But unlike its doughy pastries and sweet treats, the Yum Cha menu usually consists of savory bite-sized morsels of steamed and fried food, called 'Dim Sums'. I was glad to bring my close long-time friend Germaine with me, and boy was she excited ,since she's a major Yum Cha fan.

Located in the heart of Chinatown, the entrance of Yum Cha was slightly hidden so I took some time to find it. You would need to walk a flight of stairs up of its shophouse building, before a truly oriental setting greets you. I spied with my eyes lattice partitions, wooden lacquered chairs and round marbled tables, bringing me back to the days of yesteryear. 

Keeping up with the theme, replenishment of dimsum dishes are served up piping hot from the kitchen on a pushcart just like the old days. How's that for the authentic feel?!

Be spoilt for choice, as Yumcha offers more than 80 over choices, boasting a mixture of both traditional favourites and contemporary dishes. We came late, so I had missed abit of the earlier dishes and so I'm abit limited in choices. We started off the course with some Custard Buns ($2.20), that were served up steaming hot from the oven. One of the bestsellers, it did not disappoint with its fluffy skin and rich, sweet-tasting yellow custard filling. Probably one of the more value for money items.

The Deep Fried Shrimp Beancurd Roll ($4.00) was lovely, with the shrimp-cake with vegetable bits, wrapped all over with a deep-fried bean curd skin. It was not too oily and goes great with vinegar sauce. Do eat it hot though, once its left out too long the skin loses its crunchiness and becomes rather limp. 

Unique but traditional, the Paper Chicken Wings ($4.60) dish contains 2 chicken mid-joints that were marinated with seasoning before being wrapped up in cooking paper and fried. Germaine and I initially debated whether the paper outer is made of edible rice paper, but after this author took a bite I can safely testify its NOT. I'd say the serving is abit on the small size (I went for seconds), but the tender chicken flesh tasted great with a hint of ginger.

I don't really like Yam, but these Chicken Yam Puffs ($3.80) would be one of the exceptions. Crispy fiber exteriors, but bite into one and the salty taste of the moist chicken and the sweet lavender-coloured yam paste fills your mouth. I did however find it abit dry for me so it left me abit thirsty, but this makes for a good small but filling meal.

Of course, what is a Yum Cha experience without the classic, foolproof Xiao Long Bao ($4.20)? The Chinese classic does not disappoint; the meat fillings are kept warm with the soup stock contained the small skin pockets. The best way to eat this is to swallow it whole, to taste fully the tender minced pork.

I think this was one of my favourite dishes; a light-hearted tasting Scallop Pea-Shoot Dumplings ($4.60) were just the thing admidst all the deep-fried stuff. It consists of 2 of my all-time favourite seafoods, scallops and prawns! The translucent skin envelopes the juicy, fresh-tasting scallop and prawn. And it tasted as good as it looks, although it kind of falls apart rather easily. A definite must try for me.

I will never, ever, ever go have dimsums without having my must have Yum Cha Prawn Dumplings ($4.60) or Har Kaw. Nothing much I can say that hasn't been said about Yum Cha's perfected prawn dumplings: the prawns were burst with juicy flavour, fresh and sweet. I measured, this is just the right size to pop it in my mouth, close my eyes, chew and enjoy <3

Fried Prawn Dumplings is the alternative if the steamed version isn't your thing. While it was just a tad dry for me, but I do love the resoundingly crispy exterior, and the prawn fillings on the inside remained moist and not over-cooked. Plus, the size of each pieces were quite decent, which was good because this will disappear fast if sharing.

Who doesn't like pork ribs? Tangy on the tastebuds, thanks to its lightly spicy favouring of chilli oil. garlic and thinly sliced chilli. The Pork Ribs with Sour Plum ($4.80) features small cut-up pieces of the pork ribs had absorbed the taste of the sauce so the meat had a full-rounded taste, so much so I ended up sucking on to the bones for the sauce to the very end! An overall truly appetising looking dish.

First you have squi-ink pasta, but now I present you....Squid Ink Dumplings! Ending the food-tasting is this rather peculiar looking dumplings that made me take a second look. I don't think that there wasn't all that much a difference in the taste save except that the skin tasted a tad more salty than the usual. The fish roe on the top not only adds a dash of color but have a sweet dimension to the flavour. 

Although it was a late Tuesday afternoon that we went, it was already bustling with people and almost more than half of the place was filled. So I would recommend you to make a reservation before heading down otherwise you may have to wait for a seat. And brainstorm no more on where to eat, with Yum Cha's Dim Sum Buffet promotion that offers more bang for your buck. Details as below:

Not only did we go back with stuffed bellies, but Yum Cha has kindly sponsored us bloggers its priviledge card (only $30/year) which is really value for money since you immediately get a $20 voucher and 10% off at all its outlets; amongst other exclusive benefits such as birthday discounts. If you are a dim sum aficionado, this is the best time to take advantage of the card!

Really had a lovely time eating to our heart's content with Germaine, thank you Blogseed & Ms Melody Tan of Yum Cha Chinatown for the invite! 

Do follow their Facebook page or website to stay updated on the latest dishes and promotions!

Yum Cha Chinatown is located at 20 Trengganu Street, #02-01 (Chinatown) Singapore 058479
 Tel : 6372 1717 | Fax: 6323 5375
 Email :
 Opening Hours: Mon to Fri: 11am - 11pm Sat, Sun & Public Holidays: 9am - 11pm

1 comment

  1. I love chicken wings and all other snacks mentioned in this post. I would certainly try all these this weekend. Thanks for sharing.


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