Even as a newcomer I had pronounced the Tampa Chinese food scene DOA. I have many warm memories of sharing meals with my grandmother at China Wok II growing up in Atlanta. Traveling every part of Asia for the past 7 years I have developed a somewhat more complex pallet, it was difficult at times to recognize many of the dishes prepared there if you are accustomed to the American adaptations.
But after spending so much time in Asia I really try not to hold the food in the states to the same standard as the authentic cuisine and I have had great success finding a local restaurants throughout the states that are reminiscent of my experiences eating Chinese food growing up in Atlanta.
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When I got back to the states I just had to find a local Tampa Chinese food outlet that satisfied my urge for good old-fashioned Chinese food. American Chinese that is, if there is or ever was such a thing. However, a quick tour of what is available on the Tampa Chinese food scene has been below par when compared to other major US metropolises. Then I tried Yummy House.
Since arriving in Tampa a few months ago I’ve been disgruntled with the performance of 9 restaurants in this category. In fact I recused myself from writing reviews on any Tampa Chinese restaurants in fear of being censured by local food writers. However, this past weekend I decided to take another shot at finding some Tampa Chinese food worth writing about.
The fact that Yummy House, at 2202 West Waters, seems to outshine most online reviews was an indication of a good dining experience so I decided to take a small group to check out what YH had to offer. YH has been my best experience with Tampa Chinese food because it’s just plain good Chinese food. YH is the most exciting hopeful in the crowd so far to be place to satisfy my craving for some good Chinese food.
We were all pleasantly surprised with the service, food, and atmosphere of Yummy House. The menu is a bit more complete than most of the other places I’ve ventured to recently; although that didn’t stop me from sticking to some basic dishes. The pot stickers were hot and extra crispy, like I ordered them; even if they did come out after Seafood Chow Fun. The XO sauce was much better than my earlier experiences with Tampa Chinese food but I’m still pretty sure they were using a commercial grade manufactured for the American market rather than making their own.
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The S & P Calamari probably reflects the best calamari dish I’ve ever had in the states from a restaurant of this quality. Calamari really has become trendy in the states since it’s become more readily available by commercial food distributors. Ten years ago it was difficult to find good calamari, something I always attributed to the lack of supply.
The more refined diner might find YH a bit shallow in the ambiance department and the service was nothing to rant about but it outshines all of my other Tampa Chinese food experiences I’ve had over the past few months. Next time I might even ask them if I can go back in the kitchen and share one of the XO sauce recipes I picked up in Hong Kong.