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Trendy ‘YUM CHA’ Opens in Causeway Bay with Tribute to Hong Kong’s Bygone Typhoon Shelter Food Culture

January 11, 2018 Dining No Comments Email Email

Chic and trendy dim sum dining destination YUM CHA has opened a new branch in Causeway Bay with a nostalgic tribute to Hong Kong’s bygone typhoon shelter food culture. The latest branch of the brand named after the Cantonese tradition of brunch involving Chinese tea and dim sum is at 2/F, Emperor Watch & Jewellery Centre, 8 Russell Street, Causeway Bay, joining a family of lively sister restaurants in Central, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok.

YUM CHA has proved a roaring success since launching two years ago with a thoroughly modern twist to Hong Kong’s traditional ‘yum cha’ ritual of tea and dim sum delicacies.  As a tribute to the new historic location, the latest branch extends the brand’s tradition of honouring Hong Kong’s culinary heritage with a special menu honouring Causeway Bay’s long-lost typhoon shelter cuisine.

Complementing the nostalgic theme, some of the serving staff dress in retro boat-dweller uniforms, against a dynamic mural of typhoon shelter-inspired graffiti by renowned Thai street artist Piyasak Khieosaard.

The typhoon shelter was a thriving, floating nightlife hub from the early 1960s to mid of the 1990s, renowned for succulent, spicy and affordable fresh-caught seafood aboard ramshackle sampans, and guests serenaded by fishing folk songs. But only fond memories remain of the thriving culinary sub-culture that wafted of garlic, black beans and chilli until now.

In celebration of the new opening, Deputy Executive Chef KC Mak has revived the tradition with a nostalgic side-menu of 20 iconic typhoon shelter and fisherman’s favourites exclusive to the new restaurant, highlighting tangy Typhoon-shelter Style Fried Whole Crab with Dried Chilli Garlic Flakes (Market Price), Fried Noodle with Crab Oil (HK$119), Fried Mantis Shrimp (Market Price), Fan Scallops in Typhoon Shelter Style (Market Price), Typhoon-Shelter Abalones (Market Price), Razor Clams (Market Price), Steamed Eggs with Clams (HK$129), Sautéed Turnip Cakes(HK$69), Rice Rolls (HK$79) and String Beans (HK$99), and a signature YUM CHA CWB Seafood Platter (Market Price) featuring a selection of ‘catch of the day’ fresh seafood caught daily.

Complimenting the old-time favourites is a ‘Fisherman Selection’ of dishes popular in the floating community including Fisherman 4 Treasures (HK$159) with squid, pig intestine and pig stomach, topped with Chinese chives.  Fisherman’s Crab Congee (Market Price) is served in traditional style with ‘youtiao’ fried dough sticks, topped with chopped green onions, rutabaga and deep-fried peanuts.  Deep-fried Duck Blood Curd (HK$99), Sea Whelks in Spicy Wine Sauce (HK$89), and chicken poached in fish broth (HK$149 for half; HK$269 for whole).

Deputy Executive Chef KC Mak

YUM CHA is renowned for playful, eye-catching and ‘instaworthy’ dim sum that are widely admired on social media – while maintaining authentic flavours using fresh and quality ingredients – and Executive Chef Winson Yip continues the imaginative tradition with new dim sum specialties including the amusingly moustached Peanut Papa Bun (HK$49 – 3 pcs)filled with peanut sauce and white sesame, Cantonese Sponge Cake with Preserved Bean curd (HK$49), Shrimp & Squid Dumplings with water chestnut and carrot (HK$59 – 3 pcs)and Mentaiko Rice Rolls (HK$69 – 3 pcs)inspired by Japanese ‘mentaiko tamagoyaki’ rolled omelette.

Among new cold dishes on the Causeway Bay menu are Mixed Veggie Jelly (3 pcs) (HK$59), Assorted Mushrooms (HK$49) and Egg Tofu with Crab Roe (HK$49), and a new selection of wok-fried specialties features Deep-fried Baby Pigeon (HK$59), Braised Eggplant with Minced Pork & Salty Fish (HK$109), Iberico Pork Chop with Preserved Plum (HK$149). Deep-fried Pork Knuckle (HK$169), Angus Beef Cubes & Yellow Ginger Fried Rice (HK$99), Pan-fried Oyster Cake with Dried Bonito Black Pepper (HK$89), Pork Jowl in Lettuce Wrap (HK$129), Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Shrimp & Egg (HK$99) and Braised E-fu Noodles with Porcini (HK$119).

New desserts include Hawthorn Pudding Cup with Cotton Cloud (HK$49) and Pumpkin with Osmanthus Honey (HK$69). With tea central to the dim sum culture, YUM CHA has also sourced a wide range of premium brews to complement the dining experience, highlighted by an exclusive new iced tea collection including Iced Jasmine Tea (HK$39) and Iced White Peony Tea (HK$39).

Executive Chef Winson Yip

YUM CHA is also launching eye-catching ‘instaworthy’ dim sum especially for Chinese New Year. Created by Executive Chef Winson Yip, red bean paste buns are designed to resemble the‘God of Wealth’, bringing good fortune and prosperity; ‘Fried Dumplings with Pork Filling’ are styled after a traditional Chinese gold ingot; ‘Mandarin Buns’ are bite-sized lookalikes of a prosperous mandarin; and ‘Lo Hei’, a mini-version of the colourful, fun and tasty Prosperous Toss salad, traditionally shared to symbolise abundance and prosperity.

“Our mission at YUM CHA is to promote Hong Kong’s food culture, with expert dim sum and wok chefs bringing a modern twist to traditional culinary skills. The new location is an exciting opportunity to reach out to a different crowd, and the nostalgic tribute to typhoon shelter food culture should rekindle fond memories of a bygone age, bringing locals and tourists a memorable dining experience,” said Director of Operations Kenneth Ng.

“At the same time YUM CHA has built a strong following for our ‘instaworthy’ culinary creations enlivening the dining experience, generating amused interaction between diners and their friends through cyberspace.”

In the heart of Causeway Bay overlooking Times Square, the new location is transparent through a giant 27-metre glass façade. On the doorstep, guests are welcomed by three giant molten buns – a signature dim sum specialty of YUM CHA.

Interior design is styled after an elegant New York loft, with rustic touches referencing traditional Chinese tea houses – including grey terrazzo floor tiles with rosewood red and ivory accents, brass detailing, red brick finishes and spiral ceiling ducts.

Located at 2/F, Emperor Watch & Jewellery Centre, 8 Russell Street, Causeway Bay, YUM CHA (Causeway Bay) seats 168 guests with four private rooms for 8 to 10 people.

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