Yesterday marked the end of the Year of the Rabbit and the beginning of the Year of the Dragon according to Chinese Astrology. To celebrate we joined some friends for dim sum at one of the two Tampa Chinese restaurants we frequent, Yummy House China Bistro.
This was the first time I had visited Yummy House during dim sum. Normally my preference is China Yuan (here) when it comes to dim sum (those pineapple buns are amazing). I’m not sure if it was the norm but yesterday the bistro rolled their dim sum around in little carts. Here you could see everything in front of you, ask any questions or point if your mouth was to full to speak. I think this approach sells more, it is sort of like the bakery effect. When everything is laid out in front of you it is hard to resist. I know I bought more than I normally would have.
One of the emptier dim sum carts
Through the carts I was tempted into buying Pineapple buns, Chinese Brocoli in Soy Sauce and Egg Pastries. J-Fur and I also ordered fried rice and salt and pepper tofu from the menu. My first dish was the Yummy House version of pineapple buns (picture didn’t turn out). These are your traditional pineapple buns stuffed with a custard like substance. The buns were decent but lacked the pineapple insides that make the China Yuan version out of this world. These were also a little cooler than China Yuan’s (probably one of the downfalls of the dim sum cart, foods weren’t as piping hot as normal). Next up was the Chinese Broccoli in Soy Sauce. The dish was simple which is exactly how it should’ve been done. The greens weren’t loaded down with sauce like other Chinese restaurants I have visited. Yummy House has an almost salsa like hot sauce that they brought out to the table. Putting that on top of the broccoli made good, great.
Chinese Broccoli in Soy Sauce
J-Fur and I finally broke away from the carts and ordered our menu choices of Salt and Pepper Tofu and Fried Rice. Salt and Pepper Tofu is my favorite Chinese dish and Yummy House’s version was super spicy and had a lot of cilantro. I’m not a big fan of either of those approaches. After my first experience of eating Salt and Pepper Tofu at China Yuan I ran home and had to make my own. Yummy House’s didn’t make me feel that same way. I ate it, it wasn’t horrible, I’ve just had better. J-Fur’s Fried Rice was a different story. I really like that it was lightly seasoned (not overly salty like other places do it) and the vegetables were able to shine through better. Instead of tasteless squares of carrot and peas, these were full flavored veggies that tasted like they should.
To wrap up my meal I took one more plate from the dim sum cart, an egg custard pastry. I expected a little more than what the pastry gave me. Not being a fan of egg (or custard) I was drawn solely by how it looked; like a mini pecan pie with egg instead of pecans. Probably could’ve done without it as it tasted strongly of egg and custard (big surprise).
Egg Custard Tarts
Yummy House is like a date with the second hottest girl in your school. Sure she can bring the hot sauce, she doesn’t trap live animals in front of you and she won’t disappoint, especially with those vegetable dishes. But the whole time you are visiting you are thinking in the back of your mind that their is that one girl that can outdo her. Yummy House China Bistro remains my go-to Chinese restaurant when I’m okay settling (or when China Yuan is closed).
Back in 1939 the Year of the Rabbit began. It was a swell time, a time for partying, solidarity, cheering friends as they fought in backyard brawls and…uh the downers of Berlin and Madrid and hundreds of protesters being rendered voiceless. Tyred Eyes have tried to capture the downers of the rabbit (while comparing it to Stockholm today) in their song “Party Like it’s 1939.” The song reminds me of a dim sum cart in the musical sense, reach out and grab some three chord rock sounds or Lemmy style vocals. Perhaps a male/female chorus or a lukewarm off key scream. Take a handful of political lyrics, a steaming pot of calling to arms and wrap it all up with a bowl of crowd chants and clapping. Check these guys out as they tour with Impo and the Tents (here).