Yum Char literally means "drink tea", and tea you must have because it goes very well with this Chinese style of restaurant dining. Simply put, Yum Cha (also an accepted form of spelling as the letter r is silent) involves choosing from a wide variety of dimsum, dumplings, sweets, and other tasty morsels in steam baskets carried around by the waiters.
Although I haven't had the chance to try it yet, I do believe we also have this in Binondo (the Philippines' Chinatown). But instead of waiters carrying the steam baskets, they use food trolleys instead. Hmmm... if I know this fact then I just might have tried this before already, and I'm having a senior moment right now. Yeah, that must be it.
This striking green delight is a spinach dumpling. Yum.
We had our Yum Char lunch at the Regal located at Courtenay Place here in Wellington. Good thing we had reservations (thanks Glen and Cory!) or else we'd have kept the waitlisted some company! The place is quite popular and it was jampacked on that Saturday lunchtime.
We were promptly given a pot of tea and the waiters started including our table in their rounds. The variety was just amazing! Most notably, we had chicken feet which I haven't had for two years now.
I think I was stuffing myself silly because the food just kept coming and coming and coming. But I learned to just sit and enjoy the food after four dishes. The good thing is, the waiters would tell you what the dish is and then you can ask them for a basket or two, or none at all which is also fine. We learned a bit late though that if a desert basket passes your table just take one. Or two. Even if it's not yet desert time. Because deserts disappear as fast as you say "no, thank you."
And the tea was just the right thing to have in between dishes. It's refreshing and cleanses your palate for the next chomp.
With all that food and happiness (I love food!) I'd have thought that it will cost us. But no. It was only about $16 a head. Amazing. I hope we can do it again some time. And if you're in the area, try having Yum Char at the Regal. Friendly waiters, great family atmosphere, excellent variety of food.
That tea experience actually had a profound effect on me. I'm now on the lookout for a good teapot and nice tea to brew at home.
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