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Excellent off the beaten path affordable Cantonese at Yum's Bistro in Fremont

Apparently the Cantonese Chinese community already knows about this place, still under the radar for most folks.

It's located inside a nondescript strip mall, and you couldn't tell from the inside that the head chef Boson Yum (and possibly the only chef) has an extremely impressive resume, with experience that includes

-Grand Hyatt Hotel Hong Kong
- Fook Yuen (Millbrae)
- HK Flower Lounge (Millbrae)
- ABC Seafood (Foster City)
-South China Seafood Village (SF)

Here is the restaurant's website, along with pdf's of the menu


A glance at the menu shows that this man is skilled in upwards of 10 lobster dishes and 10 crab dishes. In addition to that he apparently can make the style of Cantonese in Hong Kong (like speakeasy's and private kitchen). All for an affordable price.

His specialty dish is "Under The Bridge" spicy crab, which is actually not spicy at all. Stir fried with a ton of garlic flakes as well as red chili's, and what looked to be a hint of black bean sauce. This was different visually than what Anthony Bourdain had in No Reservations: Hong Kong (at the original "Under Bridge" crab in Causeway Bay). He also makes typhoon shelter crab, but everyone and their brother is doing it these days, so the effort to replicate somethign unique with a true flavor of Hong Kong, is appreciated.

The Jakarta style crab had very mild curry flavor, listed as spicy on the menu, but it didn't even tickle one bit. A little bit of onions and a few other seasonings. Very messy eating with fingers as the sauce is like liquid butter. The restaurant provided 6 steamed buns to help soak up the sauce, and a side dish of lemon tea (used for rinsing the fingers).

The salted egg yolk crab was another highlight. Perfect lightly salted mild batter thin layer that sunk in through the shell, which tricked the tastebuds with savory outside and sweet on the inside (the crab meat).

There were other dishes sampled that while were good, did not blow me away. Stir fried pea sporuts with garlic was done well, as was the yin yang fried rice.

Yum's Bistro does have a rotating white board, and as of this week. So whatever you see on the website is likely not being offered (e.g. the basil clams


- dried mountain yam ostrich
- a dish made with frog
- black bean bitter melon catfish claypot
- roasted squab
- bean sprouts chives "Malay" style stir fried pork neck (could be the jowl cut) - this one was quite good and unusual
- lamb brisket clay pot (and it looked like they provided the portable gas burner at the table to keep it toasty), and comes with a side of veg, although at a whooping $18.

plus five other items I can't quite remember.

This place ends up being cheaper than the competition, given its remoteness/location. Quality food by a very skilled chef. Though service can be a bit slow, and especially the pacing of the dishes, so be prepared for a wait.

There are other dishes that can be pre-ordered from what I learned

- high end steamed fish (grouper or something in cantonese called Lung Dung). They only stock mahn choe (black bass).
- geoduck served several ways
- Chiu Chow style cold crab

and basically anything you can think of that's within reason. I hear he makes a killer HK style curry beef brisket clay pot (that needs to be pre-ordered to slow cook overnight).

If you are a fan of Andy Wai's cooking (sadly he no longer has a Cantonese chef gig) then you will like Boson Yum's cooking. If you are not bothered by the service and slow pacing overall (e.g. if you have a large party and you order 4 crabs), then it should be good.

The crab dishes are roughly $22 per. Could go as high as $26 for bigger crabs. There is a separate white board for the seafood prices.

4906 Paseo Padre Pkwy
(between Capulet Rd & Deep Creek Rd)
Fremont, CA 94555


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  1. Nice write up ....... sounds interesting!

    1. Thank you for the report. It's close to me, I'll try it soon.

      1. Folks you want to order at least one crab dish, maybe even a lobster prep to try. I have a feeling that if you order randomly off the menu, your results can be mixed. Also, the male waiter there is the more helpful one.

        Heard others say the steamed pork patty with salted fish is good. Regular menu.
        Family also recommended lap mei fan (preserved Chinese sausage/meats in rice), chicken stuffed with glutinous rice. These are items that you need to call in to reserve in advance.

        Also the white board specials are entirely in Chinese. Maybe the waiter can help translate if you ask.

        Yum's resume is actually posted in Chinese of the website, and those chef gigs he did in the past were executive chef gigs (not just a helper or sous chef).

        Our group's bill totaled over $120, and the restaurant threw in two coupons, one for a free crab, and the other for a free roasted squab. I didn't see the details but to use the squab coupon, you need to spend a $40 minimum (2 crabs will easily take care of this).

        1. Thanks for the find - how big is this restaurant? How many big round tables?

          1 Reply
          1. re: kc72

            Website says: Up to 80 guests with private rooms of 10 to 60 guests (banquet facilities). However I saw no private rooms.

            From a Chinese blogger's writeup of his experience, he was in a party of 30 to 40 people (4 tables). Any larger sized than that you will have to contact the restaurant (and I suppose pre-ordering anything even on the menu items, is recommended to avoid a major slowdown). This is the case if for example more than 3 to 4 crabs are ordered, they want to leave enough for other customers.

            I remember seeing about 5 to 6 round tables that seat upwards of 10.

          2. I got to try Yum's Bistro (Cantonese food) Sat 12/12/09. This used to be a bunch of Chinese restaurant that are no longer here. It's in the Ardenwood Plaza near Round Table Pizza. Paseo Padre Pkwy @ Deep Creek.

            We went at 5pm so we beat the crowd and had the whole place to ourselves for 1hr, then the place started to get busy at 6:15pm.

            FREE salty peanuts given w/ teapot (tea w/ leaves).

            We ordered 4 dishes for 2:

            Jakata hot chili sauce crab small $22/Lg $26 - we got the small. Comes w/ 6 steamed white buns to catch the tasty sauce. I'm not a fan of crab, but I tried it and thought the flavor was good. Crab crackers given to use & bowl of lemon water to wash your hands.

            Dry braised string beans w/ spicy meat sauce $7.5- very tasty beans w/ minced pork. Good.

            Sauteed oyster mushrooms & spinach $8.95 - B. wanted it, tasted fine.

            Steamed minced pork w/ salted fish $7.5 - small pork patty w/ some ginger slices & w/ some salted fish on top. I liked it.

            Rice: 2 small bowls for $2.5

            FREE red bean soup dessert. Just ok for me, I don't care for that dessert.

            Our bill was $53.17 Before tip. Credit cards taken.

            Got a coupon for FREE deep fried pigeon to use within a month. We'll be back next week.

            To try next time:
            Stewed beef brisket & white radish $10.95
            Braised tofu w/ seafood in hot chili sauce $7.5
            Braised yee mein w/ crab meat $9.5
            Fook kin fried rice $10.50

            They are Open on Xmas & New Years Day - Advanced reservation recommended.

            Closed Tues
            Lunch hrs: M, W-F 11-2:30; Sat & Sun 11-3p
            Dinner: Su-Th 5-9:30p; Fri-Sat 5-10p

            Ph: 510-745-8866


            My pics:

            3 Replies
            1. re: hhc

              Thanks to the recommendations here, we tried Yum's Bistro for lunch yesterday (12/20). The deep fried salt & pepper crab was excellent, close to the gold standard of R&G Lounge in San Francisco. The steamed pork hash with salted fish was quite good - very light and fluffy. However, it disappointed in that it lacked character - it needed some salted fish and water chestnuts mixed in with the ground pork. Just placing a couple of pieces of salted fish on top doesn't infuse the flavor into the meat patty. The braised tofu-mushroom-choy sum vegetable dish was nicely done. Total tab was $43 ($22 for the medium-sized crab). Not a signature meal overall but very very good and worth trying if you're in the neighborhood. Food service was efficient, although the staff had to be flagged down to place the order after a long wait.

              1. re: foodlover

                I went back for a dinner with family middle of the month. The meal lasted an ungodly 2.5 hours as there is only one executive chef with an assistant/sous chef. This place is torturous on the weekends, and is notoriously slow, but the food can be fantastic. I will provide a more in depth review of the off-menu dishes I had when I return from my trip.

                1. re: K K

                  Safe travels, I'm looking forward to a full report. This place is high on my list to try.

                  Yum's Bistro
                  4906 Paseo Padre Pkwy, Fremont, CA 94555

            2. OK I have a little bit of time now so I'll try to get this out while I still remember.

              It turns out Chef Boson Yum with all that experience under his belt, was actually supposed to be in retirement. He got bored doing nothing and cooking was his true passion, so family scouted out and picked out a location for him to open his own restaurant, where he could flex his muscles again.

              There is only one waiter there, his name is Jason and he's the one you deal with. The other not so seemingly friendly female waitstaff is actually Mrs Yum... but she's cool once she starts to open up (I'm not sure how proficient her English is but even speaking to her in Cantonese her answers were short)

              Practically everything was pre-ordered through the restaurant and not on the menu, with the exception that when we special ordered the enoki mushrooms wrapped inside beef, the chef decided to purchase enough quantities to make it a white board specials item.
              Some of these items are extremely labor and time intensive, and a few items he may not make for everyone, but it won't hurt to ask. Also if you can think of some common Cantonese dish you can find in Hong Kong (or not so common) but practically you do not see it in any SF Bay Area restaurant (or rarely), perhaps Chef Yum can make it, should you do so request them when you make the reservation.



              1) Grouper served two way, fish soup and the boiled meat by the bones with tofu and mustard greens. The soup was glorious, creamy and savory.

              2) Beef with enoki mushrooms was superb. Old style Cantonese style black pepper sauce that reminded me of HK style cafes in Hong Kong that served black pepper steak on sizzling iron plates, but better. The beef was fatty on the inside, but not super soft, and not hard chewy either. We had a bottle of Santa Maria Valley 06 Cambria pinot noir which paired well with this. Gigantic portion which all five of us had more than enough to share.

              3) Lor Mai Gai. But this is not your dim sum version. It's basically a Canto style fried chicken (like Za Zi Gai) stuffed with fried sticky rice. The chicken was crispy on the outside and incredibly juicy on the inside. Served with a delicious mushroom and dried scallop dipping sauce that was out of this world. Very labor intensive prep, and I'm not sure if Chef Yum will make this for non regulars, but you can ask.

              4) Steamed deep sea grouper. The only live fish the restaurant stocks is mahn choe (black bass) so if you want a seafood restaurant quality deep sea fish, you have to pre-order it for sure. This fish showcased Chef Yum's experience with seafood, cooked exactly to a T, not undercooked and not overcooked like so many places. Cooking a big fish like this is an art and a science. Good stuff

              5) Soy Sauce King stir fried crab with garlic (see yau wong suen yong hai). Not on the menu either but this should be simple enough to make on the spot without pre-ordering (although call and ask just to be safe when you make the reservation). You can also request this prep with lobster or shrimp (fried to the point where you can even eat the shell and head, the least messy). I can't think of an equivalent flavor, unless you like and can understand soy sauce king veggie stir fried noodles at dim sum restaurants, but this is way better. Two simple ingredients, soy sauce and garlic, but the key was the chef's experienced stir fry skills to bring it all together. Out of the other crab preps I've tried, I'd say this is close to Under Bridge spicy crab, but better than the salty egg yolk or the Indonesian style. Hats off to Chef Yum for doing this, I bet he does it better than all the other restaurants.

              5) Family specifically requested lap mei fan, preserved meats with clay pot rice. Chef Yum did not preserve or cure the meats himself, but he has a knack of picking them out. What was interesting was that he did not steam the meats with the rice, but did so separately. The head waiter when he brought out the clay pot rice, only lightly drizzled a little seasoned soy sauce on the top (instead of gushing it all over the rice). The meats were lap cheung (pork sausage) and duck (lap ngap). The duck was super salty and fatty and I almost felt a heart attack going on, but the flavors were excellent once paired over with rice. The choy sum served on the side next to the meats was a nice balance.
              Former Jade Palace/Lucky Buddha used to do a good lap mei fan as well, and while their rice was a litle better, Chef Yum was able to pick and steam the meats better.

              6) Curry Beef Brisket Claypot. The last pre-ordered main course item. By the time this dish arrived we were practically full. Not as good as Chef Andy Wai's version and the curry had more coconut milk flavor, bordering on Thai or perhaps Indonesian fusion style rather than an in your face attack. Not bad

              7) We ordered a stir fried large pea sprout with garlic veg, but didn't take pix. Standard good dish, nothing more to say.

              8) Dessert....now who would have thought that dessert would be something to pre-order.... the pic doesn't tell you much but this is called Hung Yun Loe, or grounded almond paste. The texture is very similar to Cantonese desserts like peanut paste, black sesame paste (jima woo), except with Hung Yun Loe they do not add any rice (or starch) for thickening, just pure almond. The whole pot is cooked for a while until the right consistency is reached then egg whites are added. Words can't describe how smooth and beautiful this is.

              Dinner was well into the low 2 digits range, but I'm sure it would have cost a helluva lot more at the more well known places. So we considered it good value for a true taste of Hong Kong, despite the 2.5+ hour meal (we joked it was like eating at the Chinese Laundry but in a non descript strip mall with no decor).

              And thus my vote for the absolute best non dim sum Cantonese in the Bay Area.

              4 Replies
              1. re: K K

                I forgot to mention we also got a nice roasted squab, easily one of the best preps I've had in the SF Bay Area. Usually you'd get a side dish of dipping salt and pepper but that was not even needed. The squab is/was on the white board specials menu so it is something that everyone can partake in.

                Just a disclaimer that the 2nd meal I went to was with family who knew the owners through a friend, and thus the ability to pre-order virtually the entire meal. So perhaps this is a one-off kind of thing, and you may or may not be able to get the same dishes, but it won't hurt to ask or try.

                1. re: K K

                  Thank you for the pics & descriptions of the special order meal you had. I'll try to pre-order some of those dishes, though I'll have to have someone tell me how to say it in Chinese just in case.

                  My 2nd visit: This time the free appetizer was pickled daikon/carrots/cucumber. I enjoyed them.

                  Dishes we tried:

                  Crabmeat & sweet corn soup $8.99 - huge soup enough for 4-6ppl. I enjoyed it, though not enough crabmeat, & corn probably from a can. Lots of eggwhite too.

                  Braised tofu w/ seafood in hot chili sauce $7.5- Not spicy enough for us. Braised tofu was silky, small shrimp mixed into the dish. Not my favorite - pass on it.

                  Stewed beef brisket & white radish $10.95 - not enough beef, too much tendons, white radish was fine, gravy was nice.

                  Stir fried pea sprout w/ garlic $10.95 - very nice, we enjoyed it.

                  FREE squab (from coupon given last time) - 2 halves, I thought they were overcooked, not tender enough. FREE ok, but not worth it really.

                  FREE red bean dessert - still not a fan.

                  Bowl of rice $1.25 ea.

                  Before tip was $44.88. Credit cards taken.

                  Closed Tues
                  Lunch hrs: M, W-F 11-2:30; Sat & Sun 11-3p
                  Dinner: Su-Th 5-9:30p; Fri-Sat 5-10p
                  They are Open on Xmas & New Years Day - Advanced reservation recommended.
                  Ph: 510-745-8866

                  1. re: hhc

                    My bad, I meant that dinner was in the low $200s.

                    Actually clear both stewed brisket with daikon....more tendons is actually a good thing! But I suppose that's a preference.

                    I didn't have the red bean dessert the first time round, but he had a wicked taro tapioca (wu tau sai mai lo). Judging from the quality of that, you can tell he spent a lot of time and effort prepping it, and not just doing a shortcut watered down version like many other restaurants. For red bean soup, it is not the sweeter the better, but the thicker the consistency, the less water, and the more seasonings used (like dried orange peel), the better.

                2. re: K K

                  As always, thanks for an incredible report on what sounds like an incredible meal. I'm glad you provided the photo of the no mai gai, as the skin does look like za zi gai and quite different from the other sticky rice-stuffed fried chickens I've enjoyed. Can't wait to try it here.

                3. Glad I was able to participate in this feast K K. It was indeed worth it all. I need to go back and use the squab coupon.

                  1. We made our second trip to Yum's Bistro last night. On our first visit, we ordered the $78 set dinner and while we liked it it, we weren't blown away overall.

                    This time, we pre-ordered many of the dishes based on KK's recommendations and had a much more successful meal.

                    (Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathan...


                    1) Beef/Enoki Mushroom Rolls with Black Pepper Sauce - $14

                    6 well-sized rolls were placed on top of a bed of carmelized onions with black pepper sauce drizzled over the top. The beef was perfectly seared and seasoned. Texture was about right but perhaps slightly chewier than you'd expect from fatty beef. A great rendition overall.

                    2) Crispy Chicken stuffed with Sticky Rice - $38

                    I haven't had this before, so I have nothing to compare it to. Unlike what it sounds, it's not actually a Crispy Chicken with all the meat intact and then rice stuffed inside. Instead, it's deboned and mostly "de-meated" up to the skin with the rice taking place of the meat, and the meat of the chicken stirred into the rice.

                    Either way, it was a novel and delicious dish for us. The skin was particularly crispy, and the rice had plenty of ingredients mixed in. It came with a mushroom dipping sauce.

                    3) Supreme Soy Sauce and Garlic Crab - $30

                    They also had the lobster version of this on the menu, but we opted for the crab. Unlike what it sounds, this preparation is between a wet and dry prep. The crab is tossed in a mixture of fried garlic, black beans and sweet soy sauce that gets caramelized and binds to the crab. It was quite good, although messier than we would have liked.

                    4) Curry Beef Brisket - $12

                    We saw several tables order this one last time. There was plenty of brisket and less tendon than ideal in it. The base is heavier on coconut milk but still has a mild amount of a heat. It was pretty good and better than some we've had recently that stick in kidney beans as filler and thickeners.

                    5) Sauteed Pea Sprouts - $11

                    Solid but nothing else to say about it.

                    6) Almond Paste Soup - $12

                    This was perhaps the highlight of the meal. This labor intensive dessert involves grinding almonds by hand into a paste that serves as the base for the soup. Egg whites are stirred in at the end. This was absolutely delicious, creamy and just the right sweetness. Chef Yum even came out to peek at us to make sure it's to our liking.

                    Overall, we were quite happy with the meal, and it showcased Yum's skills much more so than the set dinner did. I'd definitely try the Chicken and dessert again in a heartbeat. Word is that he does a stuffed duck dish.

                    I'm also very curious to hear (particularly from KK) what other unmentioned dishes Yum is known to do well.

                    Yum's Bistro
                    4906 Paseo Padre Pkwy, Fremont, CA 94555

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Jon914

                      Thanks for the update, glad you liked Yum's. This place is certainly picking up on popularity, perhaps I let too much out of the bag :-).

                      They now offer (in shorthand Chinese characters) the stuffed duck and sticky rice stuffed chicken as pre-orders ($38) on their updated menu online, along with a few other really interesting pre-order items I've not seen or heard of before or elsewhere (mostly soups). Never had the duck, and I haven't been back since my 2nd visit.

                      From what I've read, you can also pre-order other things like

                      准山螺頭燉雞湯 - dried mountain yam conch and chicken stewed soup
                      釀刺參魚肚 - what appears to be fish maw, sea cucumber with large pea sprouts
                      象拔蚌二吃 - 鹹蛋黃四季蚌頭 + 韭菜花銀芽象拔蚌: geoduck served two way, stir fried with four seaons beans (geoduck smothered with salted egg yolk), and the other with chives w/flowers + bean sprouts + something that looks like woodear but called something else
                      清蒸老虎斑 - steamed deep sea fish (tiger grouper is the loose translation but I have no idea what it is in English)
                      焗西米布甸 - baked sago pudding, supposedly really really good rendition
                      羊腩煲 - this has been offered before on their white board/seasonal specials, and perhaps during wintertime....it runs about $18+ and is their signature lamb brisket claypot.

                      九層塔炒大蜆 Sauteed Clam in Basil Sauce. This is right out of the website, heard great things about it, but may require a pre-order.

                      龍井綠茶炒魚米 Stir Fried Minced Fish w/ Green Tea Leaf, heard this is good too.

                      話梅豬手煲 Braised pork feet w/ preserved plum in clay pot. This is on the menu and sounds good.

                      I haven't tried the pre-order Chiu Chow style cold crab yet. This is a dish that you either like, or you don't.

                      Some of these dishes might not appeal to Americanized tastebuds, but represent a small portion of the chef's finest work There's a lot more he can do than I know, but if you have a working knowledge of old style classical Hong Kong Cantonese, he can probably do those dishes. Or ask the waiter what he recommends.

                      1. re: K K

                        Thanks for the recommendations! The sago pudding sounds like the one that's often seen in dim sum, but I imagine that Yum can bring it to a whole different level. I'll report back if I have a chance to try it.

                        I also sense that in a similar fashion to a private kitchen in HK, there is much more to Yum's cuisine than first meets the eye. Although I've had many delicious meals at the usual places (Koi Palace, Champagne, Asian Pearl, etc.), it was very enjoyable to try something new that most places won't do, and I can't wait to dig in more.

                        On that note, a fairly recent Chowdown on New Year's also shows off bacon shrimp rolls that look delicious - is there a Chinese name for that dish that could be dictated over the phone?


                        1. re: Jon914


                          沙丹白花烟肉卷 - Sa Daan Bak Fa Yeen Yok Guen

                          Some of the white board stuff can be interesting too, here's Melanie's pic from a month ago:


                          I'd say try the stir fried pork neck meat dishes. Typhoon shelter fried intestines sounds very interesting too.

                          They could get other grouper types like "mouse" or "western grass", probably safer to pre-order. Mouse grouper is translated as Coral Cod on their white board menu. No idea what "western grass" is, but just $2 /lb less than tiger grouper ($28 /lb).

                          1. re: Jon914

                            Here's the latest white board from Wednesday night, and all of them sound very interesting

                            From left to right

                            Pacific clam in supreme broth $6 each
                            Pickled/preserved veg (za choy) enoki mushroom with beef in claypot - $10.95
                            Some type of fish steamed with "yin yang" egg - $8.95 (best guess is steamed egg custard, maybe duck and chicken egg mix? with fish)
                            clam and crab, ginger scallion, and beef shank claypot - $11.95
                            dried shrimp? garlic and yam sprout veg in broth (or in spicy sauce) - $10.95
                            roast squab - $12
                            steamed egg custard with clams $11.95
                            black bean sauce with bitter melon and catfish in claypot - $14.95
                            black pepper sauce w/4 season beans stir fried pork neck meat - $11.95
                            Fermented bean curd and bell pepper shreds stir fried ong choy - $10.50
                            mango beef tenderloin - $11.95
                            Belachan bean sprouts chive flowers stir fried with pork neck meat - $11.95
                            Typhoon shelter style spicy stir fried pork intestines - $11.95
                            sea cucumber balls and chinese melon (jeet gwa) claypot - $12

                            The other pic is their "private kitchen" style high end double boiled soups, requiring advanced order, which most of you have already seen or have had.

                            The only thing I never figured out, but asked a relative is the soup that costs $100 for five, or $200 for ten.... who basically told me it contains a mixture of seafood. Did not get into specifics, but I'm guessing the high end dried seafood maybe with some fresh stuff.

                            1. re: K K

                              Thanks for sharing the updated whiteboard specials. Most of them sound pretty interesting.

                              Is the first one a typical "Princess Clam" prep (steamed in the shell with garlic and vermicelli), or is it something else entirely?

                              1. re: Jon914

                                No idea, since the Chinese characters only tell the ingredients. My guess is that if it is not served in supreme broth, then perhaps steamed with it.

                                I've had the belachan bean sprout chives pork neck meat before, it is very good.

                                The mango tenderloin beef is excellent, reminds me slightly of maggi beef and Vietnamese style bo luc lac (Shaking Beef), but paired with (and stir fried with) Mexican mango (green/red kind) and the way it is cooked, has a very refreshing sweet and sour taste.

                      2. Yum's Bistro rolled out an updated menu at the restaurant, and now has a back page entirely of pre-order items along with pictures and names of dishes in English. Didn't get a chance to ask the prices on them

                        They've also updated their website: www.yumsbistro.com

                        - Crab Meat with Egg White - Koi Palace also has this prep but probably costs more. Crab meat stir fried with egg whites, originally a Shanghainese substitute crab dish that was fish meat and paste only but taken to another level using real crab. Head, legs are stir fried salt and pepper style, so in a sense, crab two ways. I had this on a recent visit and it was really good.

                        Braised goose webbed feet with abalone and greens - high end banquet dish in a more downscale environment, lower cost, but I'm sure really tasty.

                        Collard green with lobster - looks more like an elegantly plated gai lan with a few other mixed greens stir fried with lobster meat.

                        Almong Broth with egg white dessert (hung yan loe) - Jon and I already covered this, popular enough that practically every regular customer pre-orders this. Word is that he used to grind the almonds by hand when this was more obscure. Still tastes great though and surpasses any version served by those trendy Hong Kong style dessert shops in town (even if they offer it


                        Supreme winter melon soup - served in a whole winter melon

                        Shark fin soup with Virginia ham

                        Cantonese style turtle in clay pot

                        crab meat with tofu - plated similarly to the crab with egg white, also looks really good from the photo

                        an interesting plate mix with preserved/century egg and sour ginger on the edges, salt and pepper fried tofu (tofu mixed in with egg/riben tofu), and "typhoon shelter" style eggplant

                        Lettuce wrap with squab meat

                        pan fried oysters with bacon wrap - a slight variant to the dish at one of the chowdowns

                        tai shi snake broth with fish maw - could this be the only restaurant in town where you can get an upscale version of HK style snake soup? Seasonal item I'm sure.

                        Lotus leaf wrapped sticky rice with dried scallops and taro - it's a very large portion, imagine your dim sum sticky rice stuffed chicken, but bigger than 1.5 plates of fried rice entrees. Should be really good.

                        Yum's Bistro
                        4906 Paseo Padre Pkwy, Fremont, CA 94555

                        25 Replies
                        1. re: K K

                          Kevin, I really appreciate the update, but is there a particular reason you listed those dishes in the order that you did? I am looking through their "Creative Dishes" and am cursing whoever put up the pictures without English captions. Do you have any idea what these following dishes are:





                          I spoke with Jason, the waiter, and in his limited English, I got that the following dish was salt & pepper oyster with crispy gut, adorned with kiwifruit, preserved egg, and ginger, $30:


                          1. re: tpc

                            My name's not Kevin by the way

                            The special pre-order dishes that I listed are directly from their new menu's back page, available at the restaurant but perhaps not updated online. I believe the website was last updated in June, and does not have the expanded menu. I'm guessing whoever does the website is very likely not the chef, his wife, or Jason...unless it is the assistant chef?

                            As far as the pictures in their photo album of "creative dishes" I only recognize one of them


                            this should be the Shark fin soup with Virginia ham (made with chicken soup)

                            1. re: K K

                              Good stuff KK...hope all is well. I need to schedule another trip back to Yum's to try the Chicken stuffed w/Sticky Rice. Last time I took my parents there, they didn't indicate that it had to be pre-ordered...but then again, I let my brother plan it out and he probably dropped the ball. The crab meat with egg white sounds really good too!

                              1. re: K K

                                K K, my apologies. I thought you were the Kevin K on Yelp who also likes Yum's Bistro quite a bit and I thought took some of the same pictures which you linked to before:


                                And now I see I mixed-up Kevin with Ken, as in Yelp's Ken K.

                                If you are Ken K, I really like your reviews on Yelp, especially your creative use of the ASCII art.

                                Yum's Bistro
                                4906 Paseo Padre Pkwy, Fremont, CA 94555

                                1. re: tpc

                                  He is the one you speak of on Yelp.

                            2. re: K K

                              Great update - can't wait to try the crab and egg white. It's one of the dishes I particularly like at Koi, and no other place around here has come close. I think Yum's might do the tricky though. :)

                              The pan-fried pompano... is that a prep where the whole fish is deboned, mashed up, stuffed back and cooked? My mom was reminiscing about that a few months ago, talking about her family's cook doing that and not being able to find anything remotely like it here. Is this it?


                              Are you implying that the almond dessert is no longer ground by hand?

                              1. re: Jon914

                                No idea about that pan fried pompano, as it is not even listed in the new menu list of preorder items, but if you request it specifically ahead of time or bring a printout of that photo you linked of the old menu I am guessing he will do it. It reminds me vaguely like Shunde Cantonese version of pan fried stuffed dace then stewed/steamed but different. Seems like Yum's might do that too in that picasaweb album


                                In fact you might even be able to request that at Hakka Restaurant in SF or get a variant of it if you can talk to the chef directly somehow...

                                If you try the crab with egg whites at Yum's, let us know if his or Koi's is superior.

                                About the hand vs machine grinding of almonds...I really don't know. It's now a very popular end of meal item to pre-order by regulars and folks in the know, so either chef Yum is still investing the time to do so, or he changed methods due to increasing demand. Could be speculation, but honestly it still tastes very good. The trick is the amount of sugar he adds...too little and it could end up being a tad bitter, and if too sweet, overpowering.

                                Here's a pic of the crab egg white on my 2nd to last visit.


                                1. re: K K

                                  That looks pretty good from the picture, though the crab looks noticeably smaller than whatever Koi uses. Are those shavings of Virginia ham over the top? I'll let you know how the two compare next time I dine here. One thing I rather like about the Koi version is that they crack and stir in a raw egg at the table, which is rather similar to what I like to do with fresh pasta to finish it off.

                                  How much did it cost? (Koi's is $36)

                                  1. re: Jon914

                                    Didn't look at the bill....so don't know. We actually had the crab before it was formally introduced as a pre-orderable item.

                                  2. re: K K

                                    You're right about the dace. I checked with my mom again, and she says it's dace that's mashed up into fish paste (similar to fish balls in congee) and then stuffed back into the fish's skin, pan-fried or steamed and then sliced. Sort of like this:


                                    It's hard to tell if that pic you linked to is of the stuffed dace from that angle, but if it is, I think you've hit upon exactly what my mom's been looking for (sans the sauce, though).

                                    Either way, I'm continually amazed by Yum's repertoire. It's like having access to a private kitchen in our backyard.

                                    1. re: Jon914

                                      Actually, Jade Garden in San Francisco has some Shunde/Shun Tak dishes


                                      There was pan fried stuffed dace written on the mirror/wall in that thread. No idea how it is, but since Shunde cuisine is virtually low profile outside Guangzhou and HK, this is better than nothing.

                                      Then there's Gourmet Village in Millbrae, which has some Shunde dishes but seems to focus more on the Zhongshan/Pearl delta region of rustic Cantonese, which is a bit hard to absorb for many who are used to HK style Cantonese. Dace fish paste slices with daikon in soup, or dace fish paste slices stir fried with milk + egg whites are pretty good (doubt they use buffalo milk like back in China), but at least it is better than nothing. Reports of crocodile on the wall specials, but hmmm even that is too hardcore for me.

                                      1. re: K K

                                        duo xie, KK, for sharing this great info with us. didn't know there was a distinctive Zhong Shan style of cooking, though people of that subprefecture were among the first to migrate in significant numbers via euro/british steam ships in the early/mid 19th c., including railroad workers of course. there's a dish from Gourmet Village pictured on yelp that's captioned Loondu-style (a version of pork belly) which probably refers to the village of Long Dou, or Loong Du, 'dragon head'. my late mother was always tickled to meet other folks who spoke that dialect of as you say 'rustic Cantonese'. from the picture on yelp, the crocodile looks like it's a salt and pepper type of prep, which would make it similar to a cajun style of breading and frying 'gator.

                                        1. re: moto

                                          Here's my report (with a photo) of the Lung Do style chow fun at Gourmet Village.

                                          Gourmet Village
                                          465 Broadway, Millbrae, CA 94030

                                          1. re: moto

                                            Yeah this is all confusing.

                                            I dropped by on the way home just to take a look at their menu and specials, and made short chat with the cashier just to reconfirm what region of Cantonese food the restaurant calls themselves. She firmly said that their food is Zhongshan style, even though the main menu, wall and outside poster specials are all over the Guangzhou culinary map, including typical stuff you find at most Cantonese joints. When I asked "isn't there anything Shunde?", she said, "no it's all Zhongshan, Shunde is the next town over". :-o

                                            I guess it's a regional Cantonese pride sort of thing as the cashier (maybe owner) is from Zhongshan too. The restaurant's Chinese name 魚米之鄉, is just an eloquent saying of an area of fertile land with freshwater streams producing excellent river fresh fish + shellfish and quality rice crops. Perhaps it applies to everything in that area, Foshan, Panyu, Shunde, Zhongshan etc, who knows.

                                            The Shunde dishes they actually have on the menu are unmistakenable...pan fried stuffed lotus root, stir fried milk (where the Chinese name containing the word 大良 Da Liang is a giveaway clue, since DL is a subdistrict in Shunde known for producing cow and water buffalo milk).

                                            If anyone heads over there, the colorful picture menu has items not on the takeout menu. One that caught my eye is a pancake made primarly with pan fried rice noodles (mai fun) with minced beef inside, something I have not seen in years. As far as crocodile dish, whoever on Yelp ordered that probably did so on a dare and picked the easiest one (deep fry with salt and pepper), but they actually have multiple preps.

                                            1. re: K K

                                              the four-ideogram expression that the restaurant borrowed for its name is a very [c. two millenia] old literary phrase -- many such come in four characters, like parts of the texts that had to be memorized in the old days for the civil service exams. Some of the oldest uses of "land of fish and rice " were references to the Chang Jiang (Yang tze) region. the empires [Qin, Han] where the written language was first standardized weren't based on rice cultivation, so the phrase evoked a bit of the exotic and distant.

                                  3. re: K K

                                    > Lotus leaf wrapped sticky rice with dried scallops and taro - it's a very large portion, imagine your > dim sum sticky rice stuffed chicken, but bigger than 1.5 plates of fried rice entrees. Should be
                                    > really good.

                                    This sounds interesting - but it's more in there than the conpoy and taro I imagine? I vaguely recall that Cooking Papa (FC) had a similar sounding dish on its special menu (different from the one they have on the regular menu).

                                    1. re: Jon914


                                      Bottom left side. 瑤柱芋頭荷葉飯

                                      Cooking Papa's special menu listing of the rice you might be thinking of is stir fried glutinous rice 生炒糯米飯. This is something that Yum's can also do with advanced order. Many good dim sum restaurants will have this during lunch on the carts or allow you to order it, but most of their renditions are not terribly to my liking. With Yum's crazy good stir fry skills, he can definitely do wonders with this.

                                      Lotus leaf wrapped rice (not sticky rice, I must have remember incorrectly) is a different preparation altogether. Never had Yum's version, but a good lotus leaf wrapped rice is would basically have solid quality rice (in HK they probably use Thai jasmine), ingredients including but not limited to duck shreds, bamboo shoot, Japanese shitake, chicken, shrimp or dried shrimp and/or crab meat. The rice would be first stir fried (with an egg) with soy sauce seasoning. The result is then wrapped in a lotus leaf, then steamed. Pretty sure he will execute on a very high level with his interpretation.

                                      Traditionally the lotus leaf wrapped rice would be one large entree and seasonal (probably because of the availability or seasonality of lotus leaf) and some restaurants in HK would be willing to do a half order, since it is a lot. But purists declare that in order to preserve flavor, one should get the whole order and not break it up. In an interesting parallel, much like going to say, Yung Kee in Hong Kong and ordering a whole goose to get the full juices and flavor, versus half or the thigh with noodles (where a precut bird will already have lost its juices until a customer orders, versus a carved and plated to order whole bird).

                                      1. re: K K

                                        Wow, thanks for the photo! It looks terrific and similar to ones I've had in HK. I'll report back if I end up ordering it.

                                        Do you have photos of the rest of the special menu? That would make it a lot easier for my mom to dictate over the phone.

                                        Re: Cooking Papa - I actually believe it was a lotus leaf rice. It was specifically on the placards on the table alongside other things like fish 2 ways and live seafood and I believe, the waiter said it had to be pre-ordered.

                                        1. re: Jon914

                                          Sorry for the late reply on this, had to re-take the photos since the first attempts were not so good

                                          1. re: K K

                                            And the rest

                                            1. re: K K

                                              Thanks. I actually went here a few days back for dinner and had a bunch of the special order dishes.

                                              - Duck Gizzard, Dried Scallop, Watercress Soup ($22)
                                              - Crab Meat w/ Egg White ($36)
                                              - Minced Squab with Lettuce Wraps ($18)
                                              - Stir-Fried Pork Jowl in Malay Sauce ($12)
                                              - Mango Beef Tenderloin ($12)
                                              - Lotus Leaf Rice w/ Taro and Dried Scallop ($15)
                                              - Almond Soup ($12)

                                              I'll get around to commenting on the other dishes in more detail in the future, but the meal was good overall, but the pacing was way slower than it was the previous two times despite pre-ordering the meal.

                                              The crab was good. Better than Koi's? I think Yum did some things better (virginia ham shreds add a nice accent, no/less MSG), but overall, I still think the Koi version has the upper hand - the crab itself is more abundant and succulent, and the consistency of the egg-white stir-fry is smoother. They let us pick between a small, medium and large crab - we went with the medium, which was priced the same as Koi's version. That all being said, they're close, and save for Koi's, Yum's rendition is far better than the ones I had at Champagne, Asian Pearl, Kitchen and another place I can't recall.

                                              Almond Soup was just as good as last time - it was a great way to end the meal.

                                              1. re: Jon914

                                                Must give props to Yum again for his almond soup. I came back from HK where one of the nicer Canto restaurants we went to (Chariot Club) made the almond soup, again using the manual grinding method and ladling in the egg whites at the end.

                                                They were close, but I'd have to give Yum's the nod for a ever so slightly creamier texture. It's really that good, and it really is quite a labor intensive process.

                                                1. re: Jon914

                                                  Is it possible to order those special order dishes in English or do you need to speak Cantonese? I'd like to try: Crab Meat w/ Egg White ($36), Lotus Leaf Rice w/ Taro and Dried Scallop ($15), Almond Soup ($12)

                                                  1. re: hhc

                                                    Those items are on the back page of the menu in English, so you can drop in and preorder (give at least 24 to 48 hours notice). The other items like watercress and gizzard soup, sticky rice stuffed chicken, and stuffed duck, are listed inside the menu (forgot which page) which can be pre-ordered in advance as well. There is a "deep sea treasure" item listed at $100 to $200, and I believe that's a soup with a ton of rare expensive dried seafood inside.

                                                    There are places in HK that do a great walnut or cashew paste soup (instead of Chinese almond), kind of a shame that Yum's won't do it via special order. But the great thing about the almond soup is that it also tastes quite good chilled (as leftovers in refrigerator).

                                                    1. re: K K

                                                      Got any specific recommendations for places (in HK) that do the nut soups (and black sesame soup) particularly well?

                                    2. Is this place still good for those crab dishes ?

                                      Is the opening chef still heading the kitchen ?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: kevin

                                        Yes and yes. He still owns the place.

                                      2. Any recommendations on good choices for takeout from the regular menu?

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          Roasted squab, mango beef tenderloin, seafood chow fun with xo sauce, stir fry spicy belachan Malay style pork jowl/pork neck meat with chives and bean sprouts (from Chinese white board), Yangchow style fried rice or dried scallop egg white fried rice, snake soup (no preordering needed), soy sauce supreme baked lobster (or crab)

                                          If you preorder the almond egg white broth (dessert) ahead of time it's fantastic reheated or refrigerated overnight and consumed cold.

                                          1. re: K K

                                            Thanks for the tips.

                                            The lobster and pork jowl were great. I got lobster because it was considerably cheaper by the pound than crab and we just had crab a few days ago. There is a whiteboard with a list of the seafood prices in English.

                                            Dried scallop egg white fried rice was lovely and delicate.

                                            Beef with (ripe) mango, never had anything like that before, lovely combination.

                                            Seafood chow fun with XO sauce was pretty light on the seafood but nice flavors.

                                            Squab probably better to eat there. Good flavor but had lost its crispness.

                                            Overall I was impressed by how refined the food was. I'm looking forward to ordering ahead and having a serious meal there.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              What was the price per pound for crab and lobster?

                                              1. re: K K

                                                I think the lobster was $18. I forget what the crab was.

                                                1. re: K K

                                                  On Sunday, March 2, the lobster was $20/lb; medium crab was $30 each, large was $35 each. Geoduck was not available.

                                                  1. re: Kirk_T

                                                    that's not too bad in pricing.

                                          2. Finally got to this restaurant when we needed to go by Newark over the weekend. The two of us contemplated getting a crab, but decided against it. We got:

                                            Sea clam 貴妃蚌 -- This was a bigger portion than, say, the ones at Hong Kong Flower Lounge in Millbrae. Both the clam and sauce had good flavor, though the knifework on the clam seemed a little too chunky. Btw, is there a better name in English? I'm not sure anyone calls these sea clams or princess clams in English.

                                            Dried scallop egg white fried rice + Conch & scallop stir fry with snow peas -- both stir fry dishes were full of wok hei yet still delicate. The downside to the fried rice was that the rice tasted too fresh, a little mushy; I don't think they used day old rice here.

                                            Steamed chicken with fish maw and ham -- My favorite of the day. This dish also had goji and mushrooms; also a nice balance with shaoxing wine. The sauce/broth that resulted from steaming was delicious. The steamed chicken was done to a slippery (滑) texture, really excellent.

                                            The restaurant was not crowded on Sunday; 3 small tables plus a family banquet, but the dishes came out pretty slow. We basically ate one dish at a time with some waiting in between. They gave a coupon for a free order of quail with $50 purchase, but it has to be used within one month. The restaurant is out of the way for us, but we both liked it enough to go again, next time preferably with more people to try the bigger items.

                                            22 Replies
                                            1. re: Kirk_T

                                              Thanks for the update.

                                              The common name in English for 貴妃蚌 (gui fei bang) is surf clam.

                                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                The literal translation is "concubine" clam, which is also the same moniker applied to some preps of steamed chicken. That's why the term "princess" sometimes comes up. I've also seen it translated as "giant" clam.

                                                The chicken/fish maw dish sounds like a play on the classic "jade" chicken dish, deboned, then steamed with ham, shiitake and you choy in a similar broth.

                                                Good to hear that Yum's is still going strong.

                                                1. re: Jon914

                                                  There was an aspect of Yum's that wasn't so strong when we were there. We preordered a grouper the day before. When we got there, there were 3 in the tank with muddy water. All 3 had white eyes and did not move the whole time we were there. We expressed our concerns about the fishes to the owner lady and switched to eating lobster noodle instead (the lobster was alive and kicking).

                                                  So my guess is as a small shop, sometimes velocity on fresh seafood can fluctuate.

                                                  1. re: ckshen

                                                    Hmm, thanks for the tip on that. We generally keep to steamed fish at home or splurge when we travel overseas where the selection's much better.

                                                    The "hung lung" (the red groupers) in particular can be a little sleepy. It's something I've noticed for that species in practically every restaurant I've visited in the past year (Koi, Saigon, Joy Luck, Asian Pearl, etc.)

                                                    1. re: Jon914

                                                      when you say sleepy, does it mean they are still fresh despite looking sleepy?

                                                      the grouper we preordered was 'shek baan'. not sure if its the same as 'hung lung'. it certainly looked sleepy, maybe even permanently so.

                                                      i like steaming at home too when there is time, though i must say there aren't any fishmongers around the bay area that i know of who offer a large variety of live seafood, usually its the usual tilapia, catfish, black bass, etc.

                                                      1. re: ckshen

                                                        Shek baan would be rock cod. Hung lung's this one, courtesy of Melanie.

                                                        It's similar to "kinki" in Japanese (or perhaps even the same fish).

                                                        I define sleepy as still-alive, but little/no movement, sometimes accompanied by being "permanently" upside down.

                                                  2. re: Jon914

                                                    Yes, and a specific concubine named Gui Fei, isn't it? If you wanted to buy this type of shellfish at a seafood market, you'd ask for a surf clam, which is what I meant by English common name. It's also called an Atlantic surf clam or Boston surf clam. I've never seen it called either of those on a Chinese menu.

                                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                      quite humorous, really, how some names and concepts cross the culturo-liguistic divide. translating 'Guifei ' as 'concubine' would be like translating 'Pompadour' (Louis XIV de France) as 'concubine', though the role of Yang Guifei in the history of the Tang dynasty bears a slightly closer resemblance to the Duchess of Windsor (Mrs.Wallace Simpson after her earlier marriage). Yang Guifei as a legendary beauty bringing the fall of an empire resembles Helen of Troy for that matter -- are surf clams considered particularly beautiful in physical appearance ?

                                                2. re: Kirk_T

                                                  I was also at Yum's about two weeks ago. Like you, had the steamed chicken with fish maw and ham- it was excellent. such a delicate dish with amazing tasting components that blend very well together. only wish was that its a bigger plate so i could have some more!

                                                  1. re: Kirk_T

                                                    The trick with Yum's is to understand what his strengths are.

                                                    Concubine clams, the steamed version is really overplayed. For a better result, I suggest having them stir fried with chives and bean sprouts (works even better with geoduck, but that has to be preordered). Kick it up a notch by asking for the XO sauce stir fried version, or substitute the empress clams for another protein source (e.g. pork jowl which also works great).

                                                    Yum's logo is a crab....so that's one of the dishes he does best (followed by lobster). 2 people can feast on one big crab, although that doesn't allow you to sample other things, but it is a feast in itself, especially with over 10++ preps to choose from. The shaoxing wine with egg white version steamed (with a little garlic) is quite excellent (although the latest menu has this listing, but without egg white). Any stir fried crab, even the Jakarta chili/curry crab is awesome.

                                                    For the fried rice, add salted fish and the experience will be complete.

                                                    I would say steamed fish is not Yum's forte.

                                                    "hung lung" / "red dragon" I believe is channel rockfish. The lack of swimming space, difference in water pressure in the tanks (vs their natural environment), plus maybe their inability to survive too long after being fished may have something to do with sleepy looks (and behavior).
                                                    The rest is probably timing and season.

                                                    1. re: K K

                                                      Is there an online menu for this joint ??????

                                                      It sounds stupendous.

                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                        There is an online menu, but it's the kind of place where you might order entirely off of the specials whiteboard.


                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                          It is, if you know what to get and if the timing is right.

                                                          Kevin, tell you what: if you can come up and bring with you the LA regulars....Porthos, ipse, JL, chandavkl and the other Chinese and Japanese food lovers that I may have left out....I will personally host a table for us at Yum's, so you can see how great we have it up here.

                                                          But they all have to be present, is the condition :-).

                                                          1. re: K K

                                                            All of them ?????

                                                            How about one of them ? :)

                                                            KK, that's going to be when pigs fly most likely. :)

                                                            So that means a definite no.

                                                            Both JL and Ipse have remained anonymous at least to me, but I do respect there anonymity.

                                                            I'd have better luck pulling a balanced budget through partisan gridlock in Congress in the next day or so.

                                                            Maybe I can get Chandavl up there, he's always up for a Chinese food challenge, unless he's already been there already.

                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                              Think of it as a challenge, for great food.

                                                              1. re: K K

                                                                Even Superman himself would not be able to succeed.

                                                                Perhaps one of them plus me will suffice :)

                                                                oh, well, and so it goes ...

                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                  Strength in numbers. Gotta have all of them present.

                                                                  1. re: K K

                                                                    Is it ok if I post your message on the LA board KK ????

                                                                    Thanks man.

                                                                    1. re: K K

                                                                      Maybd just me and one other.

                                                                2. re: K K

                                                                  Is there any way to cross-post your most generous offer in case they can be persuaded ?????

                                                                  Thanks man.

                                                                  When you in LA ??????

                                                              2. re: K K

                                                                We had steam crab over sweet rice in a bamboo steamer lined with lotus leaves and crispy skin chicken stuffed with sweet rice at Yum's twice in three weeks! The two preps of sweet rice are very different in flavor profile. We liked both. Yum's is yum! (Pre-order required for both dishes.)

                                                                That steam crab dish is not on the menu that we could find. Wonder if it is the same as your "The shaoxing wine with egg white version steamed (with a little garlic)..." (don't think ours had egg white, though.)

                                                                Agree that fish is not their strength. Over cooked (steamed) and not as fresh as it could be. Will try geoduck stir fried with chives when chives are in season. Thanks.