Let's just face it... the Chinese food in San Francisco might be authentic, but does it always taste good? Sure, there is damn fine dim sum out here - and the dumplings from Henry's Hunan are aces in my book and don't get me started about Chef Jia's amazing fresh garlic chicken, but the run-of-the-mill Chinese food here just doesn't compare to what I grew up with on the East Coast. Ah... such fine memories of Boston's Chinatown...
But I digress. This isn't a review about unsatisfying Chinese food, it's about Yum Yum House, the best of the "standard" chinese joints I've found here.
Tonight, on my first trip, I started with the Hot and Sour soup, which was both hot (spicy) and sour. Have I had better? Definitely - Jade in Munich holds the spot for best Hot and Sour soup in my book, but this was a better than average rendition, tasting of mushrooms, black vinegar and spice.
Following that were the potstickers, nicely seasoned and tasting of ginger. Accompanying the dumplings was a standard soy sauce, vinegar and a small dish of dried pepper flakes and seeds in oil. Again, there are better potstickers in the world, but they were better than average.
The surprise of the night was when I ordered a dish that wasn't on the menu. I was in the mood for Moo Goo Gai Pan... blanched sliced chicken breast cooked with mushrooms in a clear garlic starch sauce... a dish that I rarely see outside of the East Coast. I asked if they could make it and was extremely surprised when the waitress said that they could make it.
I was even more surprised when it came. The dish was spartan, consisting of only quartered button mushrooms, sliced carrots and chicken - but it tasted just like I remembered. Sure, I would have preferred straw mushrooms, snow peas and water chestnuts - but the dish worked without them.
2 bowls of soup, an order of pot stickers, two entrees, a coke and tea for two came to $30. Sure, I could have schlepped myself out to Henry's Hunan and paid twice as much, but with Moo Goo Gai Pan like this, why bother?