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Jan 27, 2011 10:56 PM

Chowdown Report: Chinese New Year Banquet at Yum’s Bistro

Yum’s Bistro in Fremont is featuring a Year of the Rabbit Banquet Menu (in Chinese only), $288 per table of 10,

and more Chinese New Year special dishes (bilingual menu)

Tonight a dozen ‘hounds gathered to chow down on the set menu, including

1. Combination appetizer: Seaweed salad, marinated jellyfish with daikon pickles, Japanese-style marinated baby octopi, mock roast goose, and char siu

2. Seafood & bamboo pith soup (and the lobster/kabocha dish were substitutes for the sharks fin combination soup on the set menu)

3. Fat choy (black moss) with dried oysters, dried scallops, roast pig, roasted garlic cloves, and lettuce

4. 100 blossom crispy bacon rolls filled with shrimp forcemeat

5. Sauteed scallops, oil duck (lop op), cloud ear fungi, snow peas, and celery

6. Crispy-skinned chicken stuffed with sticky rice ($20 surcharge to substitute for the concubine chicken on the set menu, 24-hour notice required)

7. Crab meat, pea shoots and oyster mushrooms

8. Clear steamed striped bass

9. Lobster sauteed with golden egg yolk and kabocha

10. Fried rice with taro and lop mei

11. Red bean soup with black sesame-filled mochi dumplings (tong yuen) and fresh lily bulbs

Priced at $308 per table of 10, this turned out to be generously proportioned and enough to feed 12 hungry chowhounds. I was surprised to see that the bill had not been grossed up by 20% to serve two additional people. I double-checked with the staff and found out that what we'd been served was the normal portion size and not increased for the additional diners, therefore, no change in price. One of the rare occasions when the food is excellent and the portions are BIG.

Let's hear from the chowhounds around the table about their favorite dishes, criticisms, and any other comments on the meal. I'm glad we had a chance to get together at the start of the lunar new year feasting season and recommend this menu when there's still time for others to try it.

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

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  1. This was a good meal, and the portions were indeed ample: we would have been hard pressed to finish it all with two fewer diners.

    Some memorable tastes:

    In the combination plate, I was happily surprised by the smoky flavor of the tofu skin with mushrooms.

    I've had shrimp paste in many forms, from Thai shrimp cakes to various dim sum, but Yum's bacon rolls were a novel and delicious combination. (I skipped the mayonnaise, though.)

    I've only had it a couple of times, but Yum's crispy chicken stuffed with sticky rice was my favorite version of this dish.

    The two vegetable dishes (scallop stir fry and pea shoots with crab sauce) sparkled, with beautiful colors and perfectly tender greens, and a good clean taste.

    I don't have any complaints, although I'd probably change the lobster preparation and skip the dried scallops/oysters/moss combination. And I always want more mochi balls.

    Photos online here:

    And I have to give thanks to Vince for assistance with ingredient translation, and numerous shopping and restaurant stories that helped deepen our appreciation of the dishes and keep us entertained between courses.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Jefferson

      Ohhh such great pictures - I'm so sorry I wasn't there :(

      1. re: Jefferson

        "although I'd probably change the lobster preparation and skip the dried scallops/oysters/moss combination. "

        BUMMMED I missed this. Work prevented me. Thanks to Melanie for settingit up!!

        Although not as common, the lobster preparation is a standard one. Was the egg, "salty egg" (shien dan, ham dan)?

        The oyster/moss/scallops preparation (if I am thinking of the same dish) is fairly typical of Chinese New Years dinners. My mom makes a HUGE pot every year.

        1. re: Cary

          Yes, it seemed to be the salty egg preparation.

          I'm so glad my parents refrained from making the oyster/moss/scallops dish. I think I would have dreaded New Year's if I knew that was coming. I'm afraid the flavor can be a bit overwhelming!

      2. Did the sticky rice stuffed chicken come with the side of incredible dip sauce (magic sauce + scallions + diced mushrroms and I think dried scallops)?

        1 Reply
        1. re: K K

          Nope. (Or if so, I missed it!) I should always ask whether something comes with incredible dip sauce, just in case.

        2. The general standard was quite good, and it was an attractive spread, and well-paced. Everything was good, and a few got me really excited. Namely: the lobster/kabocha(=pumpkin) was delicious; the pumpkin had a perfect texture--slightly crispy outside, soft inside--and was very tasty--and I found myself scraping the batter off the lobster claws after eating the meat. (I think I enjoyed the batter more than the meat itself.) I quite liked the steamed bass--simple and tasty, with soy sauce (and ginger and maybe a few other things?). The stuffed chicken was crispy and moist and the rice inside was delicious; I'd make a point of ordering it in advance if returning.

          While those are the ones I'd go out of my way to get, many of the others had memorable aspects--the garlic cloves in the moss dish (a spectacular round layered mound) and the bits of orange peel in the dessert.

          1. I enjoyed the meal. My personal favorites were the stuffed chicken and the steamed striper. The chicken was just perfectly crispy. The bass was a simple dish, but cooked just right - not always easy to do with a thick fish. Yum.

            1. I had a great time dining with fellow chowhounds!
              My favorite dishes are 100 blossom crispy bacon rolls, crispy-skinned chicken, sautéed scallops and pea shoots with crab meat.
              The combination appetizer, fried rice and the red bean soup was just average.