Yum Cha Cafe – Dim sum express heaven!
Yum Cha Cafe
6933 Linda Vista Rd
San Diego, CA 92111
A few weeks ago, I learned about the opening of Yum Cha Cafe from my favorite San Diego foodblog, mmm-yoso. I love dim sum. I am from the Bay Area where there are tons of chinese restaurants, plenty of them which serve dim sum on weekends. Since moving to San Diego, I have sorely missed dim sum. There are a few places in San Diego that serve dim sum in San Diego that are pretty good. The ones I usually go to the big three on Convoy: Jasmine, Emerald or China Max. However, they are definitely on the pricey side and don’t have as much variety as other ones I have been to in Northern California. So when I heard about this fast food dim sum cafe that apparently is supposed to be good and cheap, I was ecstatic. Yum Cha Cafe is a vietnamese version of fast food dim sum. I have tried such places in the Bay Area, but they have not been very good. So I was a little cautious, but the good reviews from mmm-yoso made me hopeful.
The very next weekend, I went to check out the place with my family and friends. While the place was very chaotic, the food was cheap and pretty good. Definitely worth the chaos. Dim sum dishes at the big three dim sum places on Convoy average $3-4 a plate. I love so many dishes, that it ends up being pretty pricey for me. There are two categories of dishes at Yum Cha Cafe: A and B. “A” dishes cost $1.39, “B” dishes cost $1.79. These include shrimp dishes, which are usually the priciest dishes at dim sum places! The prices are simply amazing. And they serve most of the common favorite dim sum items, along with a lot of dessert items which I have not tasted before, which I believe are Vietnamese dim sum items. This place also serves some noodle soups and has a roasted duck section. I have not tried these out.
The cafe is pretty spacious. When you get in, you pull a ticket. When your number is called, you can go up and order. When this place first opened, they didn’t really stick with the number system. But now they enforce it. They have two sections, and unfortunately, you have to order from each section separately. The right section is the steamed items. The left section is desserts and fried items. They have several tables, so you don’t have to take the food to go. You can grab a table and eat your food there. They are pretty quick at cleaning the tables when someone leaves.
I have been to Yum Cha twice now. I have tried almost everything on their dim sum menu. There are a few I don’t like, but most are pretty good, some are even better than items served at the big 3. Of course, you don’t have the service or luxury of having women pushing around carts to you. But for the prices and quality, this is definitely my new favorite spot for dim sum cravings.
We have especially enjoyed the following:
Fried shrimp balls. So big and full of shrimp!
Egg tarts. They don’t look that great , but they taste yummy. Sweet and not too oily.
Shrimp Sui Mai. Pretty tasty. Usually these can go horribly wrong at fast food dim sum places.
Beef Honeycomb tripe. Tasty. A little on the small side quantity-wise because the bottom is actually lined with daikon.
The cookies and mochi, while they looked pretty, we found to be too sweet. Too much filling.
Also, not really a fan of the chive dumplings.
This one was soggy and it shouldn’t be. Not sure of the English name.
Here are some more photos: