It is with 50% shame and 50% excitement that I advise you that this marks my first Yum Cha experience.
Yum Cha has been something I have been DYING to have for quite some time but things arise and it wasn’t to be. The girls got wind of this and decided it was high time I went along with them for an early morning session.
I was collected from my home promptly at 9:30am on Sunday and off we headed to the infamous Rhodes Phoenix. I am very aware that this time of the morning is quite an unsavoury hour to be eating Chinese food but I am assured that you need to get there early as it gets packed out very quickly.
We arrive and meet the rest of the clan out front at 10:15, head inside and are seated at an 8 seater table with a Lazy Susan (Much like Gerry McGuire……..you had me at Lazy Susan) and are immediately greeted with stealth like women offering us tasty morsels or food from their overflowing trolleys.
We started with the basics. Prawn dumpling, vegetable dumplings and some Gow Gee with a side order of spring rolls.
All are delicious and I have forgotten its only 10:30am. The chilli sauce on the table is nothing to be laughed at so I would suggest only trying a smidgen if you aren’t chilli inclined. There are two levels of heat also so get your guests to test it out for you first
I am very well warned not to gauge myself in the beginning as “it’s a marathon, not a race”. Many a trolley has stopped to ask us if we would like more food but I am assured we need to take a break.
Some suitable gossip and all things girly later and within half an hour – yes that makes it 11:00am – the place is jam packed and those once stealth-like trolleys are few and far between. If you want anything now, you must stop them as they run past you trying to serve some 300 patrons. I am left wondering how, in between my dumpling and now, all of these people appeared. There is even a line out the door of people waiting for any on of us to give up our seat so they can be fed. The 9:30 pick up is now understood.
We decide to pick up again with some pork buns, BBQ duck and salt & pepper calamari. I have also wanted to try chickens feet and have been persuaded in to saying yet to the plate even though there’s only two of us tasting. The duck is crispy and succulent – everything you want in good duck,
the pork bun is pillowy soft and so flavoursome it makes you want to eat plates full, and the salt and pepper calamari is a great way to end two very sweet dishes – deliciously oily that keeps you coming back for more (very hard to do with seven hungry ladies and a Lazy Susan to rip the food away from one another). The chickens feet however, yeah not a fan. The flavour of the sauce they had been cooked in was amazing but I’m not one to suck or chew on bones (never have been – eww) and you need to do both with the feet. Glad I tried them but it will be my last.
Prawn toast. Regular, flat, greasy, not so prawn tasting, prawn toast. Yeah – the usual. Not here! At the Phoenix you will receive toast, topped with prawn, wrapped in crispyness and deep fried. I am drooling reliving the moment. They were superb!
Something unusually un-Yum Cha-like is the hot dogs. Perhaps it’s my Anglo roots or perhaps the fact that its part hotdog part pretzel that has me drooling but I wanted one. Nothing was going to stop me. Yet since I saw them while we were on our “break”, not one had crossed my path since. It had come to the point where I started stopping the non-hotdog carts to ask them for hotdogs. My Yum Cha mirage was about to turn me postal when one of the trolley ladies placed the plate on my table. So thankful I almost stood up and hugged her, but then thought best to leave it at a very excited thank you. She smiled politely and headed on her way. My female counterparts were horrified at the though of this processed meat delight so I at all three alone (again, partly ashamed, partly excited). They were just like the pretzel hotdogs you can get at Pretzel World which was another bonus for me. Semi-sweet dough wrapped firmly around a cocktail frankfurt. Hey, I’m a simple girl with simple tastes.
Dessert time! A little shriek of delight came from my left as I realised one of the girls had found the trolley with the mango pancakes and before I had even finished my hotdogs, two plates had been put on the table, split evenly between us and devoured my a very excited friend. Oh well, at least it was ready for me when I finished my dogs. The pancakes are a very yellow colour which makes you think it’s the food colouring, not the mango giving it the hue. I pick mine up and take my first bite. Cream out of a can is my first assumption and the mango is brutally cold. The pancakes are fluffy but almost too much so which makes them feel like you are biting in to a sponge. The flavour as a whole, is not unpleasant, I could have had more however would probably have chosen the sago instead. Next time…