Last week H and I ventured north of Millennium Park and had a unique dim sum date on Yum Cha’s newly opened patio. This was our first time trying Yum Cha and I have to admit, the location did not disappoint:Inside the atmosphere seamlessly blends traditional Chinese decor with modern minimalism. The effect is visually appetizing, much like Chef Rodelio Aglibot’s deliciously colorful approach to dim sum.We started with the specialty house cocktails “Blossom”, a floral tea cocktail blended with vodka, lychee puree, and homemade Mandarin rose tea syrup, and “Spiked Bubble Tea” which was the first alcoholic drink with boba pearls I’ve ever tried.
Then the dim sum cart was rolled out and our feast really began.We sampled Har Gow (Shrimp Dumplings), Chicken Bao Buns, Xia Long Bao (Pork Soup Dumplings), and a unique house specialty of kale and butternut squash crystal dumplings. The Kale and Butternut Squash Dumplings were a huge surprise for both of us – neither of us expected such a sweet well-balanced filling or for the spicy sauces to compliment these so well. The unique flavor combination shouldn’t be missed, even by the most skeptical eaters.
Chef Aglibot, often nicknamed the “Food Buddha”, takes pride in creating the perfect meat-to-bun ratio for his bao and the correct ‘spring-y’ texture to his bao dough. Clearly his attention to detail has paid off — H enjoyed these more than any he’s had before!
Other favorites were the Crispy Cauliflower with Chili Pods and “Buddha” Chicken Wings with Shrimp Dust. Since the only meat I eat is seafood, I depend on H’s hilariously picky palette to review meat dishes. I’ve never seen him scarf down chicken wings so quickly!
H and I thoroughly enjoyed our meal and loved the unique menu at Yum Cha so much that we’ve fallen prey to “dream ordering” – an affliction which causes excruciatingly detailed dreams about your next order at a particular restaurant. I think I’ll try Seasame Balls with Red Bean Paste, Crispy Salt and Pepper Tofu, and Black Tea Smoked Sea Bass as well as the Honey Walnut Prawns…
Want to learn more about Yum Cha and cook Chef Aglibot’s recipe for E. Foo Yum? Check out his spot on WCIU here.