Stepping down into the familiar doorway, the soft pale red walls of the quiet room still surprise me. Booths now line either side of the room and leave a wide gap in the middle of the restaurant. A faint archery and paper scroll motif on the walls are paired with a flat screen television playing a Chinese game show quietly in the background. We’re given a smile and a gesture to take any seat we like and some tea and menus are laid out in front of us. The popularity and success of a cheap dumpling shop marked this spot a few years ago, similar operations have cycled through but none with quite the same blend of value, uniqueness and delicious food. The shine of the original operation did fade with its growth, but Yummy Yummy Dumpling returns me to the homey character that drew me in before with their Northeastern Chinese dishes.
Hot dishes and noodles fit the homey niche, but more so due to their subtlety and simplicity than nostalgia. Beef Noodles soften over time and lightly spiced cubes of braised meat sit in a basic but pleasant broth. Pork with Chili Pepper is an example of translations gone awry, an almost buttery sauced napa cabbage and wood ear mushroom stir fry arrives with a bare handful of pork slivers.
Under the well-browned doughy exterior of the Beef Pancake is the succulent gem of the restaurant. Biting into one of the rounds sends a gush of liquid out, enough to make you believe this must be the large cousin of the xiao long bao. It’s juicy, beefy and fantastic.
Yummy Yummy Dumpling
79 Huron St