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Champion Gourmet Chinese is Born Again as Yi Mei Champion Taiwan Deli

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For fans of Taiwanese cuisine, the loss of Champion was a loss. John Curtas reports that the same owners are back, and judging from the photos, it looks like the new place serves [at least some of] the same dishes. http://www.eatinglv.com/2010/10/taiwa...

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  1. This has been some of the best recent news to come out of a city where the dining news has been mostly bad of late (too many closings). Because there is a bit of a language barrier at Champion, the fear was that the old place had simply closed as a sign of the times; there wasn't a notification in English on the door to leave one with any hopes. But they were just moving about a mile to a better spot, and that block on Jones between Spring Mountain and Desert Inn may well be the best in all of Chinatown right now.

    5 Replies
    1. re: QAW

      If you get a chance to do a reconnaissance mission, I'm sure we'd appreciate a report.

      1. re: Dave Feldman

        Ate at Taiwan Deli today for lunch. Quite frankly, the place is not gringo friendly. Many of the categories on the menu have no English translations. No diet sodas and water, chopsticks, napkins are fetch your own.

        The dumplings, either steamed or postickers are nowhere near the quality of China Mama or Wendy's Noodle Cafe. Service was terrible. Was expecting dumplings first, but got my soup noodle, followed 7 minutes later by steamed dumplings. Another 10 minutes before my friend got his soup and finally a few minutes later, the potstickers.

        Beef soup noddle was acceptable. Really flavorful broth, but over cooked vegetables and chewy chucks of beef.

        Not a success in my opinion.

        1. re: shamu613

          Sorry you were disappointed. Beef soup noodle is perhaps the most popular Taiwanese dish. The fetching is part of the charm of the place. The water cooler is as close as the old Champion got to decor. Did they sell prepared food at all, as in the old Champion?

          1. re: Dave Feldman

            Yes they did. There was a large deli case next to the counter. I didn't even notice the water cooler nor the utensils next to it, because they were on a low table.

            Very busy, very crowded. Had to wait for a table. Like I said, I loved the broth in the soup noodles, but the cut of beef was wrong in my opinion. And if I want to spend time fetching, I'll stay home and cook myself.

            1. re: shamu613

              This is primarily a Taiwanese breakfast restaurant, so go for what they do best. Having said that, the other things you ordered, dumplings are (generally) not specifically Taiwanese, (though they're certainly abundantly available in Taiwan.) The article from Eating Las Vegas touts the "Beef roll" (niu rou juan bing) but this also is not a Taiwanese dish (its from Shandong province), nor is xiao long bao (juicy pork buns, also known, erroneously, as soup dumplings), which are Shanghainese, but both have become extremely popular among the Chinese restaurants of LA and this popularity has apparently spread to Vegas. Just because its on the menu doesn't mean you should order it, though. Stick with the specialties of the house, do your research and know what the restaurant specializes in, and then order those dishes. At least when you do, you'll know that you're eating a superlative version of that item (like the house fantuan/rice ball and the guabao/"Taiwanese hamburger"). If you still don't like it, then hey-- at least you gave it a shot, and I'm certainly not going to argue personal taste. There's a lot of very popular Taiwanese foods I don't like either (there's lots of savory items with a chewy/soft/slimy texture that still wigs me out a bit), but I definitely appreciate and will eat a superlative version of something even if its not to my personal taste. The way I figure, I always have room to learn.

              Mr Taster

    2. It's a tragedy that this is the only mention of this restaurant on the Las Vegas Chowhound board, and that the most thorough review is a largely negative one. We're visiting from Los Angeles and decided to avoid overpriced buffets for a down to earth Taiwanese breakfast. (My wife is Taiwanese and we were traveling also with one of her classmates who is from Guangdong).

      First of all, "Yi Mei" is a sort of generic name for Taiwanese breakfast places. You find them all over Taiwan, and they're not (necessarily) connected in any way. Los Angeles has a couple of Yi Meis. One of them burned down and turned into "Huge Tree Pastry". But they're essentially the same style of restaurant, serving Chinese/Taiwanese breakfast favorites, which are very foreign to those who are not familiar. It doesn't mean that they're doing anything wrong. In fact, they're doing a hell of a lot right.

      The moment you see "Yi Mei" in a restaurant name you have to assume it's all about the breakfast. That means youtiao, doujiang, fantuan, mantou etc. NOT dumplings, not xiaolongbao (which is not Taiwanese at all, despite the popularity of Din Tai Fung), etc. I ordered one guabao, which was probably the best one I'd eaten... about 2x the size of the one I usually get at Huge Tree Pastry, with a beautiful texturing of the pork belly... a bit chewy and jerky-like on one end, transitioning to a silky, tender middle and a luxuriously fatty end. In a steamed wrap bun with peanut powder, green onions, etc.... it was the real deal. My wife's fantuan (the Yi Mei house special with suan tsai) was delicious. Downed it all with warm soy milk (and added sugar), eaten in a bowl with a soup spoon. All exactly as it should be. Didn't taste her friend's (she ordered the salty fantuan) but she enjoyed it. Everything we ate was really top notch, and as it should be-- gruff service, non-translated specials and all. Incidentally, most of the menu items were translated into English. This seems to have changed since the last reports in 2010.

      So, please don't be put off by the negative review. If you're familiar with and enjoy Chinese style breakfast, don't hesitate for another instant. And even if you don't like Chinese breakfast, get the guabao.

      Mr Taster

      2 Replies
      1. re: Mr Taster

        Sheesh, I feel like a clod. I'm the OP on this thread and I've totally forgotten about visiting Yi Mei. I'll remedy this on my next trip. Thanks for the report, Mr Taster.

        1. re: Mr Taster

          We make a point to come here every time we're in Vegas. We started going when they were Champion Noodle House in the old location and followed them to their newer digs. Their nieu ro mien is very good, wth a deep beefy broth, lots of noodles, beef and vegetables. Even better when you ask for tendon. We've also had the yao tsa guai (you tiao) and soy milk, the former comes out piping hot from the fryer. It's like having a savory fresh donut. Their 7 treasure ice is really good on the hot summer days.

          The menu is in English and Chinese. We haven't had problems w/ the waitstaff messing up our orders.