Friday, August 05, 2005

yum yum house, lunch special

the other day i met up with my friend the clown for some lunchtime chow. feeling lazy and a little broke, i opted for a near-by cheapie chinese joint called YumYum House. for years i'd avoided the place like the plague for two reasons, the first of which is their name (come on, "yum yum", you gotta be kidding me!), the second of which is their neon sign out front. now don't get me wrong. i like neon. in fact, i love neon. i love las vegas, i love the 500 club's martini sign, i love christmas time just for all the strings of christmas lights and tacky flashing santa and reindeers parked on balcony's across the city. drinks, holidays, strip joints, dens of gambling, all of these go so well with eye searing flashing lights, but not food. no way. food and neon do not mix. so it took me years and more than just a little cajoling from some friends to try the place out. and y'know what, it's not too bad. unlike my friends, who rave about the place, in my humble opinion, it, to quote my moms, is "pretty good".

between 11 am and 3 pm you can score a lunch special for about five bucks. this comes with a bowl of soup (always vegetarian) and an egg roll. on the day of my visit the soup was hot and sour. it was good. not overly gelatinous and nice and spicy.

my clown-y buddy had a prawn and vegetables dish, whose name i can't recall ($4.95). lots of prawns in a flavorful but not spicy sauce, served with a plop of white rice and an indifferent eggroll bathed in a neon sticky sweet sauce. he claimed that he really liked his dish but kept repeating that he would be coming back again and getting what i ordered. i had a childhood flashback of having to bolt down my food as quickly as possible before my brother could finish his dinner and start poaching off my plate. needless to say i had indigestion for dessert.

my other, more carnivorous, dining companion selected the mandarin spicy eggplant with chicken and prawns ($4.95). i don't eat chicken or prawns so i have no idea what this tasted like, but the sauce appeared to be the same as the one on both mine and my clown-y pal's plate. good chicken and prawn to vegetables ratio, also served with an eggroll. for some reason his eggroll was kinda sogga, unlike ours which were very crispy. he also claimed to like his dish but kept stabbing his fork into mine witha distressing freddy kreuger like frequency.

what delicious morsel was on my plate, you might wonder. gold nuggets? banana cream pie? raisinettes? no, nothing more than my humble friend mr. beancurd, known to his pals as to fu. on this day he was wearing his best deepfried crispy coated suit-jacket with the peanut lapels, also known as kung pao vegetable and bean cakes (4.50). boy was this good. the tofu was nice and deepfried without being too greasy, lots of vegetables (zucchini, mushrooms, red bell peppers) cooked to al dente perfection. although the dish touted itself as spicy it wasn't, which annoyed me. all of our dishes were supposed to be spicy but none of us, with the exception of the clown, come to think of it, broke out even a tiny little bead of sweat. maybe it was the red nose, wig and white face paint (you know that stuff just does not breathe!) that got his temperature up. with a small addition of hot sauce i got my dish up to a happy level of heat.

and the verdict: for five bucks you can't go wrong. although i wouldn't come across town to eat here, i wouldn't hesitate to recommend it as a place to grab an uber-cheap and tasty and filling lunch, or for dinner or takeout if you live in the neighborhood. it doesn't commit the number one most frequently committed crime of chinese eateries, that of being too greasy. or greazzie, as they say in texas.

and for dessert, if you have a little room left in your red rubber nose, as did my pal el-clown-0, scoot on over to bombay bazaar and ice creamery for some unique flavors (rose, chai, saffron, etc.). pictured here is the mango ($2.25, single). it was very, very rich, almost buttery tasting (but then again i very rarely eat dairy), but the mango flavor was ka-pow!, or should i say "yum yum" mango-delicious-intense. they give out little tastes if you want to try first.

bombay bazaar and ice creamery
552 valencia street
san francisco
415 861 3995
for reviews, go here and here

yum yum house
581 valencia street
san francisco
415 861 8698
lunch specials from 11am to 3pm
for reviews, go here and here.


Blogger Unknown said...

the eggplant dish looks so delish!

this is really one of the simplest dishes to make anywhere in the world so long as you can get hold of eggplant and sauce package.

Here I bought a sauce pack so as to skip all the seasonings! and i will try this friday after work.

9:26 PM  

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