While food trends fade, yum cha’s one of those things that I can count on to be amazing every single time. I don’t know whether it’s the bustling atmosphere or the promise of dishes that I’m guaranteed to love, but it’s always a treat no matter where I have it! Anyway, what better way to catch up with friends than with a late lunch of dumplings? By the way, I’m warning you ahead of time that you’ll have to bear with my shoddy photos today. My camera screen broke temporarily, so this is the best quality I could come up with shooting blind!
Location-wise Vinh Phat is way more convenient than any other Chinese restaurant I’ve visited, but funnily enough I’d never been there for yum cha before. Apparently it’s actually served til 3pm, which is good news for people who love their weekend sleep-in! Even at around 1.30 on a Sunday the restaurant was packed, but we managed to nab a table for four relatively quickly.
If you ask me, yum cha’s not really complete unless you get har gow, or steamed prawn dumplings. With its chewy yet soft exterior and succulent prawn filling, I think it’s fair to say this is a definite crowd pleaser. The same goes for siu mai – you can’t really go wrong with that tasty pork wrapped in wonton, especially with a bit of chilli sauce on the side!
I’ve loved these rice noodle rolls ever since I was a kid, and nothing has really changed since then. This dish basically involves prawns wrapped in layers of rice noodle, and comes drenched in a tangy soy sauce. Although this dish is seemingly simple it’s super satisfying, especially with the texture of those rice noodles! They’re incredibly silky smooth, but still with some bite to it.
Like most kids, I used to be super against the idea of eating chicken feet. However, once you can get over the freaky looking claws, they’re seriously addictive and hard to pass up! There’s hardly any meat here, mainly just skin and tendons that give the feet a really unique texture. On top of that, the sauce makes it extremely tender and juicy. There’s really nothing I can fault, apart from the issue of how to be elegant when spitting out all those bones…
This isn’t something I typically see when going out for yum cha, which is a bit of a shame! I really enjoyed that fried exterior, which houses a juicy prawn filling. Surprisingly, the spring rolls also don’t go soggy underneath all that sweet and sour sauce, and every element just goes together really well.
I’m not really a fan of tripe due to texture issues, so understandably I wasn’t the most excited about this particular dish. My friends seemed to agree, considering it was one of the last things we finished! I guess it’s just one of those things that you either love, or you don’t. On the other hand, the sesame prawn rolls were a winner. The outside was crunchy and chewy at the same time, and housed a tasty prawn filling. Can you see a theme here?
Of course, we couldn’t leave without having a little something something for dessert. These egg tarts were still warm and incredibly flaky, just the way I like them. The wobbly centre was also quite sweet, even coming from a sweet tooth like myself. Regardless, I could honestly polish off a million of these, they’re so addictive!
Here’s the restaurant looking deceptively empty, only because they were setting up for dinner by the time we left. Anyway, I was a bit sad that the deep fried taro dumplings didn’t come around to our table, even though we asked a waitress for them! Nevertheless, we walked away stuffed. Even then the price came to around $15 a person, which is pretty great value. I’ll definitely be back for my next yum cha fix!