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China Yuan in Tampa-Twice last weekend!

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We have found our new favorite restaurant. Thanks Andy Huse ; )
Just myself and my husband went friday night and we had the soy sauce chicken, shrimp dumplings, squid in black bean sauce, and the shrimp wonton soup. Everything was so good. My husband was especially happy because he ordered the squid extra spicy and for a change a restaurant actually did it! I really loved the shrimp dumplings because they were so deceiving. They basically looked like pale steamed dumplings until you bit into one and tasted the wonderful sesame marinade! We were laughing when we received our bill and it was $22.00 and we thought about how much we normally spend on friday night dinner out!
So we went back on Sunday afternoon with our 13 year old daughter. On Sunday we ordered the clams with black bean sauce, salt n pepper shrimp, a whole duck, the octopus app, and spring rolls. My husband and I liked the clams the best and our daughter liked the shrimp the best though she also loved the clams. I was very proud I had her eating the shrimp shells ; ) Next time we all have agreed that we have to get one of the fish dishes. There was another family there eating a snapper that looked amazing. I'll only order a 1/2 duck next time as I took a lot home. This trip was around $50.00 but still a great deal considering how much we ordered and the quality of the food. I would imagine we'll be back again this weekend.

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  1. I could not agree with you more. I just wish it were closer to St. Pete.

    John

    1 Reply
    1. re: RibDog

      Oh yeah St Pete would be a long drive. It's about 15 mins from our house in Tampa. We have shopped a lot at Din Ho over the years so we were familiar with the location. I never would have eaten there if not for Chowhound.

    2. Yes, China Yuan is a real asset. Peter Chen, the owner, is an interesting fellow. He should be renovating the place over the summer/fall, and plans to add live fish tanks and lots of other cool stuff. I usually don't care what a place looks like, but it would be nice if he could spruce the place up a bit. I'm always impressed with Peter's willingness to personalize his orders.

      A couple words of advice: always ask what vegetables are in season. Sadly the "snow pea tip" season is just now ending, they are my fave. Like spinach but with no trace of bitterness. Chinese broccoli is good as well. Always order them with garlic if you like it.

      For soup, the beef and noodle is excellent. Just try it. I also love the shrimp wonton soup. I order it wiothout the noodles to save room for other goodies. Nice broth and Chinese broccoli with the wontons.

      For entrees, it is hard to avoid the beef with ginger and scallion. I just had it last night. If you like ginger, this dish is a real treat with tender beef! His roast pork is the best as an app or with lo mein. The walnut shrimp is very different but quite good. The salty toasted pork chop is divine, almost better than fried chicken.

      I did anb oral history interview with Mr. Chen. When it available online, I will share.

      16 Replies
      1. re: andy huse

        Andy, does that they will be closed for part of the summer/fall? Please say no.

        John

        1. re: RibDog

          that is possible, John. He didn't say anything to me about it, but I'll ask him next time. He will be renovating soon, so it is possible.

        2. re: andy huse

          Oh I really look forward to the interview! Everyone has been so nice to us when we have eaten there. Does Mr Chen's wife also work there? There is an older lady that works there who we really liked and was the one that believed my husband when he said extra spicy. I love ginger so I will try the beef with ginger and scallion. The ginger that came with the soy sauce chicken was very high quality so I am sure it will be good.
          The vegetable that I saw going out was the Chinese Broccoli(looked like broccoli raab to me) which I like. It also garnished my wonton soup.
          What are some of the other good dim sum choices?

          1. re: rhnault

            We went there this afternoon for some dim sum, and hate to say it we were very disappointed. I had dragged my fiancee there telling him how everyone rants and raves on the board about how good and authentic the food is, so he finally agreed to make the trek from South Tampa. We ordered the 1/4 duck, turnip pudding, shrimp dumplings, and the sticky shrimp. The shrimp dumplings and sticky shrimp were okay, but not good, and the duck and turnip pudding was greasy and just rather bleh. We would've tried more things on the menu but we were both somewhat disheartened. I'm wondering if the food wasn't up to what it normally is due to the fact that we were the ONLY customers in the restaurant, but I'm not sure. The service however was very good, and I would consider giving it another try since I figure you all CAN'T be this wrong! :)

            1. re: PollyannaFlwr

              I and another couple were there Sat. night and had excellent food. We got the quarter duck, shrimp dumplings and misc. fried dumplings to start with. We thought everything was excellent. We then made pigs of ourselves with beef with ginger and scallions, squid with black bean sauce, BBQ pork lo mein, and a side order of snow pea tendrils with garlic. We were very satisfied when we left.

              Who knows, you might have hit a slow day.

              John

              1. re: RibDog

                and we were there again on Friday night lol and had shrimp dumplings, pan fried dumplings, shrimp wonton soup and squid in black bean sauce. Excellent again. I have to try the beef eventually and the crispy pork chop!

                1. re: rhnault

                  The beef was fantastic and packed a punch with the ginger in it.

                  John

              2. re: PollyannaFlwr

                I went for the 1st time this weekend. I've been to this shopping plaza dozens of times before to shop at the grocery store, but never knew there was a great restaurant right there. I ordered the duck over white rice, pork and scallions and shrimp wontons. all were excellent. I knew it would be good when i didn't see eggrolls on the menu!

                1. re: travelnfood

                  they have nice spring/egg rolls on the dim sum menu

                2. re: PollyannaFlwr

                  truth be told, i avoid most of the dim sum. The entrees are where the excitement is at. I ate the dim sunm exclusiovely for a couple months but i eat much better when i order entrees and the veggies. Soups are always a winner.

                  1. re: PollyannaFlwr

                    Your best bet for fresher dim sum would be TC Choy's in Hyde Park. The weekends they have the cart service but are super busy on Sunday. That's when a lot of Asian families get together for dim sum. Heck, that's when just about any families get together. As an added bonus, they have a sushi bar on premise as well. The downside is their dim sum can be pricey.

                    Back to China Yuan, I have ordered the five spice duck to go and their roast BBQ pork is really good too. I like their Beef and Chinese Broccoli with/without the pan fried noodles. If you ever to go dim sum in larger cities like NY, Toronto, LA you will see a lot of the Chinese families ordering some type of pan fried noodle dish.

                    If you are into the Cantonese seafood, Peter orders his stuff at the beginning of the week like most restaurants so the latter part of the week would be the best time to get your fix. I apologize in advance if I am restating the obvious.

                    1. re: ramblinwrek92

                      We've had the dim sum at TC Choy's on multiple occasions and enjoyed it, but still wanted to try China Yuan. Would definitely consider giving it another chance for dinner, but not for dim sum.

                      1. re: ramblinwrek92

                        I had dim sum at TC Choys many times, and finally quit after i tired of eating cold fried items. They cool off on the cart. They bring plates of some items fresh from the kitchen (like chinese broccoli), but the cart stuff all turn room temp. I also stopped going because they cut several good items from the menu and i thought it was too expensive. When i found China Yuan, I never turned back. I found their food more reliable. I did find some dim sum items taht i didn't like, but for the price, I felt more open to explore.

                        1. re: andy huse

                          we went again today and the only thing we had that was new for us was the water spinach. OMG it was soooooo good.
                          Andy, do you have any idea of what they saute it with other than garlic?

                          1. re: rhnault

                            I've heard oyster sauce, but I can't be sure. The spinach is quite good, but i still prefer the snow pea tips.

                            Someone told me they liked Yummy House nearby even better, but I compared the two and China Yuan wins rather easily.

                            1. re: andy huse

                              I think the snow pea tips are out of season now. I will be further researching some oyster sauce to buy.

                3. Their salt and pepper scallops appears to be unique. While you will occasionally see this dish on Chinese restaurant menus in the Los Angeles and San Francisco, their manner of preparation is totally wonderful and delicious.