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Jul 4, 2007 10:43 AM

Great Chinese in Tampa!

Hi everyone -

I need to put in a plug for (the unfortunately named) Yummy House on Waters just east of Armenia. I have not seen it mentioned anywhere on these boards and it deserves to be frequented.

I lived my whole life in cities with dead serious Chinese food (grew up in Toronto), and recently I moved to Tampa. Until I found Yummy House, I was a China Yuan fan - that was the only place I'd found in town that tasted like real Chinese food to me. I think Yummy House is better, and very authentic. Perhaps it is new and others don't know about it yet?

So far I have especially enjoyed the "Salt Tofu", which sounds boring but isn't, and the Beef with Bitter Melon. They have traditional Congee and other authentic dishes I was worried I would miss here in Tampa.

Andy Huse: I love your Tampa food posts!!! If you have been to this place I would love to hear what you think. If not, GO!


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  1. Rebecca,

    funny you should post on this now. I went at the suggestion of a friend, and i thought it was quite good. The menu seems to be more consistent than China Yuan's, but the two dishes i compared (beef with ginger and scallion), China Yuan's was superior in taste and volume. I look forward to trying Yummy House some more. I heard the salt and pepper calimari is not to be missed. any suggestions on what to order are welcome.

    3 Replies
    1. re: andy huse

      Oh, I am glad you responded! I need to try both China Yuan and Yummy House again, several times each, to come to a final decision about which is better and which to recommend... :-)

      One reason I prefer Yummy House (so far, by a small margin) is that I have found China Yuan a bit heavy on the gloppy, corn-starch based sauces that are typical of American Chinese cooking - I think Yummy House has a lighter hand.


      1. re: rebecca.kukla

        I haven't been to China Yuan yet (it's on the list!), but the prevalent style at Yummy House is Hong Kong, which accounts for the brighter flavors and less abundant sauces. We were just there Saturday night, it was crowded but not packed at 7:30, and the food was awesome: salt and pepper calamari were the hit of the night, but salt and pepper tofu, potstickers, braised eggplant, XO grouper and scallops with Chinese greens were terrific as well. The scallops were perfection.

        Note: Yummy House does not serve liquor, but you can bring your own beer or wine and they'll bring you glasses. We saw a couple sharing a bottle of La Crema pinot noir and thouhgt, "How perfect! That will be us next time."

      2. re: andy huse

        Not that it will do any good at this point, but does anyone remember China Yuan when it was Wong's? When Wong went back to Hong Kong it was a sad day for Tampa dining.

      3. I second the Yummy recommendation, though I remain a China Yuan loyalist! The roast duck was great as were the snow pea pod stems, though neither was quite up to China Yuan standards; the duck wasn't quite as juicy and the stems didn't seem as fresh, both both were full of flavor (China Yuan had reported a week earlier that the stems were out of season, so that might explain the difference). The room is bigger and livelier than China Yuan, though just as humble and reasonably priced; they even moved us to a larger table after our party of four at a four-top ordered too much food! And they have the same byo wine policy, with the added advantage of offering wine glasses instead of China Huan's tea cups.
        Anyway, the Times' Laura Reilly offers her raves here:

        2 Replies
        1. re: Bergerman

          OK... I'll go tomorrow... I was thinking of taking the day off cause I had to work 'hard' on Saturday which I usually don't do...
          I'm a China Yuan duck guy, but I'm excited to hear of this place...
          1:00PM... Seeya there!
          I'll be wearing my underwear on the outside of my clothes so you'll know it's me! :-)
          Seriously, I think I really will go...

          1. re: Mild Bill

            Did you go yet? I am thinking of trying it out this weekend. I am craving some good Chinese and China Yuan is in the midst of the remodel.

        2. sweet! I haven't found good chinese yet here in south Tampa, and so will look forward to traveling down Dale Mabry for some Yummy House!

          1. Brian Ries of the Creative Loafing newspaper has a great review in the September 5 issue entitled "Yummy It Is Yummy House has flavor to spare" at: Click on the food & drink section. I am definitely going to try this restaurant out.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Penelope7

              I think they are going to have a very busy weekend!

              1. re: rhnault

                I was so glad to see the excellent review, and to find out I am not the only one addicted to the salt and pepper tofu!

                I have been back to Yummy House a few times since my original post and I think it is getting better with every visit. If China Yuan isn't careful, I suspect they may lose some of their regulars during their renovations, as people discover the yumminess that lies just around the corner.

                1. re: rebecca.kukla

                  I'm excited to try it... My only prayer is that a percentage of their yumminess isn't derived from MSG... It truly does make me crazy sleepy, which'll ruin a huge portion of that day...

                  1. re: Mild Bill

                    We tried to eat there last night but since all they have are big tables and there were 2 of us were we pretty much out of luck since we weren't given an option of a place to sit. I suggest if you go there, go at opening when maybe there is a small table open. They would serve them selves well to buy some smaller tables that can be moved together for larger groups so that couples aren't turned away at busy times.
                    Anyway, we got some food to go and it was very good. The tofu was the best and also the xo grouper was very good.We also got some cashew chicken that was good though unremarkable. The food did not seem to be loaded with msg because I did not get a headache and did not feel dehydrated later. They are heavy on the garlic which was nice.
                    If we eat there again it would be on a Saturday at 11am when they open because the whole experience was borderline aggravating. I hope China Yuan opens again soon.

                    1. re: rhnault

                      I went on a Friday at around 5:05 or so and it wasn't busy at all. However, I think it was a week or two before China Yuan closed so it wasn't nearly as busy yet.

                      1. re: queencru

                        I guess I felt discriminated against for not having a big party lol. There were 4 big open tables but since there were 2 of us they would not let us sit there.

                        1. re: rhnault

                          We tried it and loved it. If you want to be adventurous, you can tell them that you're willing to share a table. I saw several big tables filled up this way. Another couple stood in line, ordered their food, and by the time their food was ready a small table had opened up.

                          1. re: Penelope7

                            I don't want to sit with people I don't know unless I am planning on it. Somewhere like Benihana or whatever the local Japanese place is that fries food in front of you.
                            We went again on saturday for lunch and the food was really good. I still say they would do well to get more smaller tables that can be pushed together. I just won't attempt to eat dinner there again and I'll probably be happy.

                      2. re: rhnault

                        These bad experiences at dinner are very strange. We've been to YH twice now, both times on a Saturday at around 6pm, and had no trouble being seated. Service was gracious and quick... really, we saw no hint of what some of the posters here are describing. The first time we were a party of 4, but the second it was just two of us, and again, no problems. The place was about half full when we came in, full by the time we left, and while people were waiting for a table, no one was being turned away.

              2. Went to Yummy House tonight for the first time with my family -- amazing! We got there at about 4:50 pm, a little bit before they opened. It was supposed to be a late lunch, but turns out they're closed from 3-5 pm, so we came back closer to 5. There was already a line outside, definitely a good sign!

                Egg rolls were delicious, hot, and NOT greasy, which was a pleasant surprise. We ordered the egg drop soup which, no lie, could feed ten people easily. For entrées we had sizzling short ribs (our least favorite meal) which were a little tough, but this was the worst part of the meal, and that's not bad. Also had the szechaun chicken (sauce was wonderful), and the honey walnut shrimp -- the best! Shrimp were cooked perfectly. No room for dessert, sadly.

                Anyway, someone mentioned MSG. We asked our waiter if there was any MSG in their food, and he laughed and said it was wrong to put chemicals or preservatives in food and to rest assured. So that was good news. :-) Also, we were there for about an hour and a half, there were only 2 or 3 open tables the whole time.

                We will definitely be back! Apparently the salt and pepper calamari is a must try!

                2 Replies
                1. re: AriB

                  The salt and pepper calamari is AWESOME. I am waiting for my husband to bring me back some right now, for takeout night.

                  It's true, Yummy House uses no MSG whatsoever - I should have mentioned that up front. Huge plus.

                  I hope this new success doesn't go to their heads or detract from their former excellent service and quality.

                  1. re: rebecca.kukla

                    I have to admit I wasn't too enthusiastic about the s&p calamari but I have to agree that it is absolutely delicious. It was the highlight of my night there, although the other dishes I ordered were also very good.