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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!

Cheers,
Rebecca

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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.

      Rebecca

      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: http://www.sptimes.com/2007/05/31/Foo...

        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: http://tampa.creativeloafing.com. 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.

                2. After reading the reviews, I decided to give the restaurant a try, only to be turned away at the door for not having reservations. A server told us it was reservations only. The place was 1/2 empty. What's the deal? Very disappointed.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: frobins

                    Oh jeez--- and yesterday I sent a friend there after he called asking about "that Chinese restaurant I told him about" (China Yuan)...

                    He said he'd call and tell me how it was, but I haven't heard back...
                    It was a late lunch / early dinner I think, so maybe he was safe...
                    I'll talk to him today...

                    Earlier in this thread I said I was going to pop by the next day and feast out, but I haven't had the chance yet...

                    1. re: Mild Bill

                      DH and I went for dinner and were very happy with the food quality but not the service - forgotten entrees, repeated requests for drink refills and cramped seating - reminded us of our time in NYC. :)

                      1. re: TampaAurora

                        China Yuan is completely remodeled and spacious now. They re-opened about 6 weeks ago.

                    2. re: frobins

                      How bizarre - I have been 5 or 6 times and never had a reservation or been asked about one.

                    3. After reading all of these great reviews, I tried Yummy House last night with my boyfriend. Unfortunately, our experience wasn't that great. (Note that I was born and raised in Taiwan and spent the past 15 years in the Washington D.C. area, so my palate is pretty spoiled.)

                      We went around 6:30pm on a Sunday evening and it was pretty crowded already but with 2 empty tables. However, the host was not so nice to us. He asked if we had a reservation, we said no, and he told us flat out that he would not have any tables for us. I politely asked him if we could wait for a while for a table to open up, as I was visiting Tampa just for the weekend and would like to try the food. His response was: "Look at this place! It's packed already plus you don't have a reservation. I don't know how long the wait is because most people come here and have a long meal and sometimes they don't leave right away." Then he suggested we go somewhere else for dinner. I was dismayed by his response and we left the restaurant. As my BF and I stood outside trying to figure out where we could go nearby for dinner, the host came out a minute later saying that he MAY have an open table because he wasn't sure where the customers went so we were finally seated. As more of the "regulars" showed up, we realized that the host was telling several customers that unfortnately, he had to give away a table earlier (pointing to ours near the door) and wasn't unable to seat them, but promptly offered them menus so they could order while they wait... as if we were to be blamed for the lack of empty tables!! I really couldn't think of anything that could have prompted the host's negative response to us from the get-go.

                      I would say the food was pretty good and more authentic than a lot of the Chinese places I've been to (though not in Tampa). We ordered the grouper in XO sauce -- while the dish was good, it took a very long time to arrive, and it wasn't even lukewarm when it got to our table. No complaints on the other dishes that we had gotten, but we were not too pleased with service itself. Maybe we had gone on a bad day...

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: MonkeyGal

                        I didn't feel compelled to write about our experience yesterday at the Yummy House even though I thought the food was stellar (my experience was like that of just about everyone else on this thread), but in the interest of the accumulation of knowledge in the face of seemingly disparate treatment of people without reservations, here goes:

                        My wife and I went to the YH yesterday as well, but during the lunch hours (they close from 3 to 5, apparently). We arrived around 12:45 p.m. and sat ourselves. Less than half the tables were filled, there was no host in sight, and I didn't see any servers as soon as we walked in. We sat down at a table with four seats and were promptly greeted and served. The service was good. The food was outstanding. We ordered potstickers, wonton soup, and a seafood and tofu "clay pot." Everything was served piping hot and lived up to the unfortunate, but accurate, name of the restaurant. The shrimp, the scallops and the squid were all expertly cooked. I am already planning our next visit. Thank you, chowhounds.

                        We stayed until about 2:30 p.m. and at its busiest, 80% of the tables were full. Most people came in and sat themselves, and I didn't see anyone being turned away. I imagine that dinner is a different story, and I will be sure to make reservations if I can.

                        Noice

                        1. re: Noice

                          I agree with you, the service during lunch time is much better. In fact I was very happy with the waiter who always smiles and makes sure everything is Ok at our table.
                          We will continue to come there again.

                        2. re: MonkeyGal

                          The male host that I have encountered is far from gracious whereas there is a lovely female host who at least is polite and tries to accomodate people. That said, I will never go there for dinner again. I have been for lunch several times now though and have been very happy with the service and the food.

                          1. re: rhnault

                            i've heard consistent reports of hassles at dinner from a couple friends. Sounds like they need to look up the word professional in the front of house. To be honest, I'm anxiously awaiting the return of China Yuan: they've expanded to twice the spqace, moved the kitchen, and are laying tile. I hope they are able to install the fish tanks as planned. I once ordered my favorite China Yuan dish (beef with ginger and scaliion) at Yummy House, and China Yuan's is superior. The YH beef was good, but did not have the same wonderful sauce. That said, I'm sure the YH calimari is superior, tho i've not tasted it yet. But I've never had service problems at China Yuan...

                            1. re: andy huse

                              On my last post here I mentioned how I haven't made it in to Yummy House yet, but now I can say I've been there three times for lunch...
                              No negative issues with courtesy or food... Far from it...

                              The Salt and Pepper Calamari 'is' a classic dish--- and it's in the appetizer category for like $6.95... A big plate full, and you would never know what to expect by the name... It's lightly battered and wonderfully crispy--- tender and thick strips of squid, prolly Cuttlefish... I mean tender...
                              But the crispy, toasty, soyee, spicy, cilantroey, garlikky, scalliony, and sesame seedy sprinkle topping is the signature...

                              I'd go today but they're closed on Tuesdays...
                              Believe it or not, I won't go there without getting their 'Crispy Pork Chitterlings'...
                              Oh man, it's good... A rare interesting species of crispy with a very tender meat---intestine... No 'off' essences detected... Served with a sweet dipping sauce and sweet pickled veggies that are super good...

                              For those adventurous palates out there, get it!
                              Again, appetizer--- $6.50...

                              I'll be making my way thru the menu with the agreed-upon guidance of one of the waiters there...
                              He said he'd gladly recommend good things after I explained and demonstrated that I'll try, and most likely enjoy, anything if it's good...

                              But the reason I decided to post here again today is because the guy there mentioned that they were going to be relocating soon...
                              Maybe for a bigger place, so hopefully the reservation thing won't be an issue...

                              1. re: Mild Bill

                                I'll continue to go there just for the salt n pepper calamari. it's the fried garlic and the cilantro and the tenderness of the calamari....just excellent stuff. The tofu is good too but I want to try the salt n pepper shrimp next time.

                                1. re: rhnault

                                  The S&P Tofu was OK, but spicier when I tried it...
                                  My mouth was burning up...
                                  People near me ordered 'Salt & Pepper Pork Chop"...
                                  It looked good!!
                                  A heaping pile of bone-in pork chop pieces...

                                  I'll be buzzing by the area of China Yuan later today I think---maybe some workers or people there can give us an ETA... I'll check...

                              2. re: andy huse

                                any word on when China Yuan is opening? I called once a couple weeks back and the answering machine said they were still closed.

                              3. re: rhnault

                                I'll try to drag the BF to try China Yuan when I'm in Tampa to visit him, if it's re-opened by then. As for YH, we'll probably try it again during lunch like several people have mentioned, hopefully we won't run into the same service problems. Thanks!

                              4. re: MonkeyGal

                                My wife and I found YH last year and since then we have been taking our clients to eat out three times a week lunch or dinner since most of our clients are Asians and this is my observation:
                                1. They do take reservation, and if they happen to sell out- then you are out of luck. Sell out means sell out. They can't take you because they do not have any space for you or they have too many reservations for the day. If you do not have reservation then come back another time or call in to make a reservation. There is no big deal about it. You are nobody, the restaurant is there to serve but it happens to sell out then go somewhere else. We were there on a Friday night to wait for the table for about an hour without complaining a word.
                                2. Their food is excellent and the prices are affordable comparing to TC Choy. S & P Tofu or Calamari are the best. But the Season Veggie of the day seems to be high since it cost 10.00/dish. Also they are more authentic and no MSG added. They are NOT fast food or buffet, so you can't expect that the food will be there within minutes. If you have worked in the restaurant before you would know unless you want to eat raw food. If you want to eat out, plan your night accordingly. Do not go to a restaurant a rudely rush the wait staff. Manner is manner if that is too much for you to deal with, cook at home.I personally went there with 4 other clients on a Sunday night at 7PM without any reservation. We were not seated until 8:15 and the food did not come until almost 9 PM and we did not even complain.

                                3. The wait staff did excellent job whenever we are there, especially during lunch hours. I personally know Tony who happens to be a head server at YH and he would take care of us. Unfortunately he is only there during lunch hours and works only on Sunday night. But if you happen to be there during Sunday dinner, look for Tony. He is an excellent person in the hospitality industry. We used to own a Chinese restaurant in Lake Land and the staff at YH as good as my former one. Again when you get there, look for Tony and you will become his pals. He will remember your name, your regular order and you will be well taken care of.
                                4. In the service industry, it seems to me more people tend to spend their time to complain than to compliment the wait staff. They try to do their jobs. It is true you have money you can go anywhere and order anything but as when you deal with public you can't always expect your way or satisfaction all the time.
                                Overall the restaurant still there to serve and get more people as time goes. It is still running well with or without you. Give people some chance to work, put yourself in the situation and you will never want to work in a restaurant for the rest of your life. Yummy House has done its best so far both food and service. Compliment to the Chef and Head Server, Tony, We will come back again and again.

                                have bad experience at YH, give it another try again, maybe different.

                                1. re: chowtwan

                                  Yeah, Tony's great! --- as is John...

                                  I only get there for lunch, frequently, so I've never experienced the slightest negativity...

                                  Next time you guys go, get the 'Hong Kong Style Pan Fried Noodle'...
                                  Mother of God!

                              5. I am surprised at the total lack of mention of TC Choy. I haven't been there for quite a few months, but that place was absolutely fabulous and I consider its dim sum the best in Florida. All my Chinese friends love it.
                                Has it closed down or the food has deterioated??

                                15 Replies
                                1. re: tarepanda

                                  I didn't particularly like the dim sum at TC Choy. I think it's a little bit less than authentic, as the manager admitted to me that their target audience is not Chinese diners. Any number of places in the Miami area serve much better dim sum.

                                  1. re: Chandavkl

                                    I agree - I am glad TC Choy is there because it does give me a dim sum 'fix' when needed, but I have had better, more authentic, and cheaper in many other cities. On the other hand, I think that both China Yuan and Yummy House hold their own against most Chinese dining options in bigger cities with real Chinatowns.

                                    I only go to Yummy House for lunch (I have a 6 year old who eats almost nothing and hates restaurants so i rarely get to go out for dinner). It's clear from these posts that they have a serious dinner service problem, but not a lunch service problem. I certainly hope they don't move out to the burbs, though, as I will miss them terribly.

                                    1. re: rebecca.kukla

                                      China Yuan now has a larger selection of dim sum than before, although iit has been a long time since I have been to TC Choy's so I can't really compare. They don't wheel around carts, but they have a good variety and quality - including my favorite, water chestnut cakes, which I didn't see on the menu but they do have. http://chinayuanrestaurant.com/dim-sum

                                      1. re: proboscidian

                                        As visitors to the area on vacation, I've depended on the Chowhounds for suggestions. We did China Yuan yesterday and it was excellent for lunch. We had Chilean sea bass in black bean sauce, mixed vegetables and several great dim sum items, including my beloved sticky rice in leaf. Two thumbs up. IMHO, it looks like that neighborhood is the only place in the area with Chinese food worth eating...

                                        JK from Baltimore

                                        1. re: jkosnett

                                          You're right, China Yuan and nearby Yummy House are the two best, not only in Tampa but the bay area. But I also like T.C. Choy's, especially for dim sum. I went for China Yuan's dim sum a couple weeks ago and was disappointed; not nearly as fresh and hot as T.C. Choy's, though the prices were much more reasonable. T.C. Choy's has higher rent to pay, more upscale atmosphere and prices to match. Still, I think the new China Yuan is better overall because of its vast array of dishes and overall quality and price. I just hope the dim sum improves. Oddly, they have a couple of carts, but they left them near the front of the restaurant and would fetch food from them as you ordered, which doesn't help in the freshness department.

                                  2. re: tarepanda

                                    TC Choy's is okay, but for the price and quality of food, I'll take either of the others mentioned in this thread. Typical Hyde Park, TC Choy spend lotsa money on decor to impress the well-heeled. They reviosed their menu several years ago, dropping a couple of my favorite items. Haven't been back since, nor have i missed it.

                                    1. re: andy huse

                                      Has anyone noticed that the salt and pepper dishes at China Yuan got totally mangled in the reconstruction. The dishes are nothing like what they used to be. I have tried S&P pork, shrimp and scallops and they were all disappointing. I mentioned this to the waitress both times but she insisted that it was the same chef and the same recipe. Previously, the sauce was a bunch of finely chopped garlic, onions, and some kind of greens. Now it is just big pieces of vegetables. I don't get it. I am very happy that China Yuan underwent rennovation, but I really miss the old S&P pork.

                                      1. re: CFishman

                                        the salty toasted pork chop remains excellent with chilies, onion, and pepper, not big chunks.

                                        1. re: CFishman

                                          I think the S&P stuff is better at Yummy House these days, as are lots of things I regret to say...
                                          Just my experience...

                                          Sadly, my 'disappointment ratio' has widened at China Yuan...
                                          I'm all over the menus, trying 'all manner' of offerings...
                                          Tripe & Black Bean, Crispy Pork Intestines, to Fried Rice...
                                          Yuan's 'House Special' Fried Rice is generic--- what you'd find anywhere...
                                          Yummy House's Seafood Fried Rice with XO sauce is gorgeous--- especially when mixed with some of their Kung Po Shrimp (Not spicy)...
                                          Magic!

                                          ---- and their Crispy Pork Intestines, cut like Calamari rings, are crispier --- which is the essence of the dish...
                                          Chinas Yuan's were cut in large rectangles, and consequently rubbery/blubbery... Not cool...

                                          Yup, much better odds at Yummy's...
                                          My last visit was really a profound eating experience, hospitality/service included...

                                          1. re: Mild Bill

                                            I don't eat offal or fried rice so I have been pretty happy since China Yuan re-opened. Everytime we go we try something new and we always get salt n pepper calamari. The only thing I have had at YH that I found better was the salt n pepper tofu. That stuff is just divine.

                                            1. re: rhnault

                                              I rarely eat fired rice or offal either. That said, some of China Yuan's creations are better than others. I was never thrilled with their hot pots, and their duck entrees never did much for me either (although the duck works well as an app). I need to bring a large group to Yummy House so i can try more things--- on my only visit, I had the beef with ginger and scallion, which while good, didn't measure up to China Yuan's.

                                              Mild Bill, I appreciate the message and will make a point to investigate YH further.

                                              1. re: andy huse

                                                To be clear, I'm the happiest boy in Tampa because we have both of these restaurants... I'm not dissin' (I hate that word) China Yuan, I've just struck gold more consistently at the other place so far...
                                                There was something I LOVED at China Yuan that I got before the remodel. When I went last week I 'tried' to order the same dish, but it came back something else--- and I considered that a disappointment... BFD--- it was good, I was happy to be there, and I hit the Din Ho afterwards...

                                                I plan to bounce back and forth trying the things we talk about and recommend... That's why I mentioned how good the Hong Kong Style Pan Fried Noodle was at YH... Kinda profound how that incredibly flavorful sauce gets absorbed by and softens the crispy noodle pillow... Not to mention the pork, chicken, shrimp, big scallops, and baby bok choy (Shanghai cabbage?) that's piled on as well...
                                                If I didn't re-start Atkins again last Monday I'd have gotten it again today...
                                                An offal shame...

                                                1. re: Mild Bill

                                                  hahaha. I would think offal would be allowed on atkins ; )

                                                  1. re: rhnault

                                                    It is--- but the delicious sweet dipping sauce and the sweet pickled carrots and radishes it's served with are not, and I love the combo...
                                                    And all the other dishes really need to go with rice...

                                                    I just made up two fat lo-carb ham and cheese wraps for the road so I won't do battle with the steering wheel if I drive nearby...

                                                    I'll still go, but less often for a while...

                                                    1. re: Mild Bill

                                                      Oh, and forget what I said earlier about YH relocating...
                                                      There was no meat to that... No 'plans' per se...

                                                      Wow, I never wrote 'per se' before--- I think that's how it's written... :-)

                                    2. My 2 cents here:

                                      Reservations for dinner at YH? That's crazy, I've been there a ton and have never had that problem. Nor have many of my friends who go regularly. Perhaps we've just been crazy lucky.

                                      I'd also have to agree that YH is superior to CY. The S&P dishes at YH, as several have pointed out are head and shoulders above, as is the XO sauce (I'd eat shoe leather if it had XO sauce on it).

                                      I'm also a very big fan of the seafood clay pot at YH. NOM NOM NOMS.

                                      I was surprised that no one has mentioned the daily special fresh vegetables at YH. If you can't see them on the board, ask your server. They are well worth it. Well, except when it comes to me and bitter melon, we don't get along too well. :/

                                      Re: dim sum, I agree with the previous posters who've said TC Choy is overpriced. I used to go there often, for full meals or dim sum, but the menu (and portions) has gotten smaller, the prices higher and it's just not worth it any more. The last two times I ate there I left feeling ripped off. SECRET: If you go to Oceanic Supermarket downtown around 2:30-3p, everything left over from the dim sum carts at TC Choy is in their deli on sale for half-off or better. Same owners.

                                      For a far less expensive, no-frills alternative on dim sum I recommend Ho Ho Choy on Fletcher Ave.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: maladrin

                                        Now that the hype has died down I would not expect the same wait they used to have. It was crazy busy when people were making the posts about waiting and reservations.

                                        1. re: rhnault

                                          That would make sense. My friends really started going on about YH in Nov., I think, and we went for the first time in late Dec.

                                          1. re: maladrin

                                            Getting a seat at YH during lunch is fairly easy. I've been a long time diner at China Yuan and I think the quality of the food, especially the dim sum, is much better now compared to prior the remodel. The mini egg tarts are awesome and my kids love the fried shrimp balls. I also think their roast duck and roast pork (char siu) is some of the best in central FL. I travel extensively between Tampa and Orlando so I've been to most Chinese places.

                                            Also regarding TC Choy, their food is definitely skewed more towards Americanized palettes, so I tend to bypass the place and head to CY or YH. I'll have to check out Ho Ho Choy now; thanks Maladrin.

                                            I'm actually surprised no one has mentioned Xie's Oriental Bakery in the same strip mall that CY is in. Although not a true place to dine, they are one of the few places that offer a wide variety of Chinese sweets and the quality is pretty consistent.

                                            1. re: sc68

                                              i've mentioned the bnakery several times in previous posts. I once saw the name "Lucky Bamboo" but the sign outside is rather generic. I often buy sweets there to have for dessert at China Yuan.

                                      2. i'm in sarasota and there is NO decent chinese (le chang's used to be half-acceptable but closed a while ago). i'm willing to make the trip to tampa for some serious chinese food and the place sounds good, but i'm a vegetarian and don't eat soy (i know...) so i'd just like to know if there are worthwhile options there before we make the drive. anyone?

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: snickerus

                                          Yes - lots and lots. Their Salt and Pepper Tofu is in my top five dishes at any restaurant of any kind. As someone mentioned they have a daily Chinese vegetable special which is awesome. There are plenty of noodle and vegetable and tofu dishes. Mmmm... starting to salivate....

                                          1. re: snickerus

                                            Tofu is soy, of course. But there are many vegetable, noodle and rice options.

                                            1. re: Miss E

                                              Oops, didn't see the 'don't eat soy' part. But yes, I agree, there's tons to eat even just sticking to vegetables and noodles and rice.

                                          2. Hi Rebecca! Thanks for the recommendation:o) I know what you mean about serious Chinese in Toronto. I have family there and in Mississauga and I have visited quite bit in the past and always LOVED going to Chinatown (and to the Portuguese neighborhood). I look forward to trying Yummy House next time I visit Tampa. Do you know if they serve Winter Melon soup? I would kill for some of that. Thanks again!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: voyageurdemonde

                                              I don't think I remember Winter Melon soup on the menu but they have a fantastic and unusual list of soups. The Westlake Beef Soup and the Tofu Seaweed Soup are wonderful. I haven't gotten around to trying the crab maw soup but I am dying to. Mmmm - never post about Yummy House over lunch - now I am getting hungry.

                                              I grew up in the Portuguese neighborhood in Toronto (though I am not Portuguese myself) and I still love walking College St. and eating Portuguese food whenever I go back to visit family...

                                            2. Has anyone had problems at Yummy House? Mine started this past Saturday when I walked in the door with my husband. I didn't make it to even ordering food. As soon as we were told our table was ready, before we were seated, we were asked what we wanted to eat. When we were seated, we were given menus because we hadn't seen one yet and then asked if we were new to the restaurant. When we replied yes, he rolled his eyes and then began to rush us even more. He told us that we should order quickly because the food would take a while. More than half of the diners did not have food in front of them. We asked how long - an hour, or more or less - he said he couldn't tell for certain. We clarified "you don't know." "No, we are very busy." I would have been fine waiting an hour for the food I have been reading about, but to have 'no idea' just seemed odd. My husband and I decided to leave, and to try another night, and before I had picked up my purse he had signaled another duo that he had already sat at a larger table and had them waiting for our table. This is in addition to cleaning four tables in a row with the same rag and without disinfectant, and then throwing the cloth onto the floor. I was prepared for a busy restaurant and for abrupt service, but I felt like I was just a ticket to be punched. Is any food worth this?

                                              10 Replies
                                              1. re: TampaAurora

                                                We've been there half a dozen times and never been treated this way. We usually go as close to opening hour as possible, having heard that they get very busy indeed; it sounds as though their popularity has overwhelmed the kitchen and staff, but there's no excuse for rudeness.

                                                Come on now, did he really throw the rag on the floor?

                                                1. re: Miss E

                                                  I go for lunch, and the place couldn't be more relaxed, welcoming, and friendly---- with wonderful food...

                                                  1. re: Miss E

                                                    Sadly, yes..on the floor...I almost left right then but I rationalized that maybe he just missed a dishpan I couldn't see. It made me sick. If I didn't teach, I would have waited to try it for lunch.

                                                  2. re: TampaAurora

                                                    This doesn't surprise me after what I saw last fall. Now that China Yuan reopened I doubt I'll be back unless I have a severe craving for the salt n pepper tofu. Even then, I would probably get it to go.

                                                    1. re: rhnault

                                                      We continue to go frequently for lunch and always, always have spectacular food AND great, friendly service. The place is always busy enough to feel lively but we have never waited for a seat.

                                                      However we went to get their food for dinner recently ... we ordered it to go, which was a good thing, since there was literally a line out the door (in the middle of the week!) and some woman started yelling at me - like practically cussing me out - when I walked past the line to pick up my food. I figured she'd been waiting a LONG time and was having a major blood sugar crash. When I got the food home it wasn't nearly as good as their lunch standard. This was the second time we ate off the dinner menu and those were the only two times the food was kind of disappointing.

                                                      So I think they are way understaffed and overwhelmed at night and perhaps they even dumb down the cooking, either to keep things moving faster or to please the whiter-looking crowd that seems to come in at night.

                                                      Of course none of that makes the rudeness TampaAurora describes ok! But I strongly suggest going for lunch and skipping it for dinner.

                                                      Anyone know anything about 'Golden Dynasty' on Fletcher which now has big Dim Sum signs up in its window?

                                                      1. re: rebecca.kukla

                                                        I went to Golden Dynasty once and thought it was decent- but I'm no dim sum expert. I loved the fried wontons they serve and the shanghai noodles were good. There were some Chinese tourists eating there at the same time- so maybe that means it's authentic?

                                                        One of the servers at Ivory Mandarin Bistro once told me that the owner of Ivory goes to that shopping center off of Fletcher to eat dim sum. I thought he had said it was not to Ho Ho Choy, which therefore leaves Golden Dynasty as the place- but I may be getting my stories confused.

                                                    2. re: TampaAurora

                                                      TampaAurora:

                                                      I can no more disown Yummy House than I can disown Obama for not disowning his disowning pastor.

                                                      Was I treated with contempt when waiting in line for the first time at the Yummy House? Of course. Have my elbows stuck to the indeterminately-colored tablecloths from time to time there? Yes. Have I ever shuddered at the thought of their cleansing practices? Absolutely.

                                                      But the truth is, that isn't all I know of the Yummy House. The restaurant I fell in love with many months ago is a restaurant that helped introduce me to Chinese cooking; that has elicited joyful groan upon ebullient groan from me visit after visit; and whose staff smile at me when I walk in with my wife, now that they know who the hell I am.

                                                      That explains my experience at the Yummy House. As imperfect as it may be, the Yummy House has been like family to me in the short months I have been in Tampa. It has strengthened my palate (salt and pepper calamari), officiated my heartburn (free jasmine tea), and baptized my spirit (seafood tofu clay pot).

                                                      "Is any food worth this?" you ask? Could anyone possibly make any reasonable argument that you should go back to the Yummy House again? Probably not. But the Yummy House is a part of my Tampa, this city that I (am beginning to) love.

                                                      Some will see this as an attempt to excuse conduct that is simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. Just as I will always hold my (non-white) grandmother's hand as she blasphemes all things chowish, so too will I continue to feast at the table of Yummy House. Provided I am not dead, of course.

                                                      Noice

                                                      1. re: Noice

                                                        I kept thinking i should be going back to Yummy House to see what the fuss is about. Now I'm just glad I'm a fan of China Yuan. I don't need to perform gymnastics to justify my patronage there. The broad noodles with black bean sauce is another new fave of mine.

                                                        1. re: andy huse

                                                          I'll have to look for that on the menu next time we go. Last visit we had chicken with ginger and scallion which was really good. I try to have one new thing each time but we have certain things we have to have every time. What I love at CY is how Mr Chen comes by to see what we have ordered and then will either nod approval or tell me a different thing to try.

                                                          1. re: rhnault

                                                            Yes, the dish is actually Chow Fun with black bean sauce. I had it again last night. It is served with beef, which is not indicated on the menu, but it is gloriuos. It makes sense that the Chinese invcvented paste when you eat it. The noodles resist the bite perfectly, and their folds hold the sauce, blacks beans, etc., quite nicely. Ask for it spicy! My brother and I had that, the Peking shredded pork (glad i asked for it hot, as it balanced the sweetness nicely) and the wonderful snow pea tips. Mr. Chen's farm is a huge plus in my book, but i'll be trying YH soon.

                                                    3. Andy, just don't go on a Saturday night... Go for lunch if you can...
                                                      I've probably been to YH 30 times and I have yet to have anything less than a great lunch / experience...
                                                      I would hate for you to miss-out for the wrong reasons...

                                                      I went to China Yuan the other day when we arrived at YH before dinner hours and they were closed... We wanted an early dinner/late lunch kinda thing...
                                                      That's a great thing about CY--- they're open all day...

                                                      I love black bean sauce--- I'll utilize your recommendation soon...

                                                      1. Great restaurant! Went four Sunday's in a row after discovering it. Service is generally prompt, and the food is great.
                                                        The salt and pepper calamari is incredible. So are the soups. Tried a Szechuan dish there once and I wasn't greatly impressed, but the Cantonese dishes are the real deal.