A friend whose husband travels frequently to China tipped me off to Yummy Yummy Asian Cuisine, saying it comes pretty close to the real deal. Maybe not exactly, of course, because almost every ethnic restaurant must strike a comfortable balance between authenticity and accommodation to local taste.
Naturally, my interest was piqued, so I went to investigate.
The verdict: After sampling a broad spectrum of its dishes, authentic or not, Yummy Yummy does indeed have some of the better Chinese fare in town.
Yummy Yummy occupies the Meadow thorpe storefront formerly home to Jimmy D's East Coast Café, next door to the former Brown's Bakery space. The small interior is tidy and clean but spare; its emptiness doesn't conjure images of "dining out."
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One afternoon, while digging into my noodles, I noticed that a driver kept coming in and out.
Then a light bulb went on. Why not experiment with their delivery service? If it's prompt, which it is (delivery usually takes less than 30 minutes), and the order arrives still hot, which it does, and the portions are generous, an understatement, why not pull out plates and some beers, pay the small delivery fee and enjoy the meal at home?
Except for the tough teriyaki chicken sticks and the boring sameness of fried foods in the pu pu platter, every experience has been delicious, fresh and easy.
Hot and sour soup is a must: The texture is almost creamy but not too thick, and it hits that sweet spot of peppery and vinegary, yet it's rich and almost light.
The Singapore mein fun also is wonderful. Vermicelli-thin rice noodles are stir-fried with a good dose of spicy curry powder — a tip of the wok to the Indian influence there — and loaded with shrimp, egg, chicken, julienne of carrot, scallions and smoked pork.
Bright yellow stir-fried rice studded with carrots, peas, onions and smoked pork is simpler but flavorful, in spite of the absence of sliced fresh scallions, a bright high flavor that would make this dish pop. (You can garnish accordingly if you order in.) It comes as a side dish and is included in combination plates such as the pork egg foo young, a great golden brown omelet with aromatic vegetables and smoked pork.
But honestly, the fluffy white rice is so outstanding that I prefer it to the fried. It comes with every entree.
Have it with Szechuan chicken in a slightly sweet sauce of oddly timid spiciness abounding with tender "scallops" of white chicken meat, broccoli, bell pepper, carrots, baby corn, water chestnuts, lotus root and mushrooms.
Or get the spicier triple delight, which includes three meats — chicken, beef, shrimp — and baby corn, carrots, green peppers, broccoli, onion, mushrooms, and water chestnuts.
As at all Chinese restaurants, vegetarians have choices, among them sesame tofu — plump pillows of fried tofu skins and broccoli florets, tossed in a sweet and sour sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds — and broccoli with garlic sauce that is earthy, salty and savory.
Yummy Yummy throws in fortune cookies for free, but there are doughnuts on the menu — look under appetizers — which, to my surprise, were pretty good, piping hot, virtually greaseless and dusted with granulated sugar.
This is not, of course, intended to deter you from having a quiet meal in a simple atmosphere away from home. But in our car-centered town, Yummy Yummy has figured out how to cater to convenience at a reasonable cost with almost sinfully generous portions of good Chinese food.