YUM CHA takes photogenic food to a new level with ‘Instagram-worthy’ eats

Fans of Social Place’s ever-popular truffle shiitake buns will undoubtedly be pleased to hear that Chef Winson Yip has designed a new menu of incredibly cutesy dimsum for new restaurant YUM CHA.

The dimsum menu at YUM CHA basically takes the concept of photogenic, “Instagram worthy” food and runs with it at full pelt.

The aforementoned truffle shiitake buns (also available at YUM CHA)

Just to clarify, I’m not really into “cutesy” looking stuff, but there is something really quite impressive about the level of thought that went into designing the look of each individual dish on this menu.

Shrimp and veg dumplings (HKD49)

The first steamer came bearing a trio of “shrimp and veg dumplings” (so… har gow). While the wrappers were multi-coloured and brushed with tiny micro-flecks of gold dust, the dumplings themselves were pretty innocuous (it’s all relative, isn’t it?) and tasted awesome, as har gow always should.

BBQ piggy buns (HKD49)
Next came the BBQ piggy buns/char siu bao, which were also HKD49. There were a few squeals around the table about them being too cute to eat, but a lifetime of smashing Percy Pigs has basically desensitised me to pig shaped food. I rate these pretty highly since their smaller-than-normal size means you don’t fill up as much on the chewy dough. To each their own, though.

Crispy pineapple puff (HKD49)
These crispy pineapple puffs are YUM CHA’s take on Taiwanese pineapple cakes. The first character in the Chinese word for pineapple is “鳳”, which means phoenix (hence the bird shaped puffs). Out of all the creative dishes we had, I was probably most impressed by this bird concept.

Instead of the traditional crumbly casing, this pastry is hard and crusty (in a good way, if there’s such a thing) and the warm filling is pleasantly thinner and less chewy than the regular pineapple jam. Those with bird-like appetites (lol) will also be happy to know that these are significant smaller than their enormous rectangular predecessors.

Custard lava buns (HKD49)
Finally, the “custard lava buns” on the cover of YUM CHA’s menu arrived – I’m not sure what these are supposed to look like, but everybody at the table became temporarily engrossed in making their buns “puke” out their custard filling. While a custard vomcano isn’t exactly appetising, I don’t think any of us were put off after seeing the Gudetama bun that spews from both ends

Apple egg tartlets (HKD49) and Mango sago + cotton cloud (HKD39)
For dessert, we had “apple egg tartlets” and “mango sago + cotton cloud”. The tart was lovely – lightly crisped layers of apple on top, a thin layer of egg custard in the middle, and flaky pastry — but the mango sago won, hands down.

It’s supposed to be a play on the classic Cantonese dessert soup, 楊枝甘露, a cold mango and pomelo soup with sago. YUM CHA has successfully combined the texture of traditional HK-style mango pudding with a refreshing note of pomelo, and the sago adds to the contrast of textures between the cotton candy and pudding. It’s a win for those who aren’t too keen on dessert soups (which I’m still waiting for Heston Blumenthal to go crazy for) or love cotton candy (presumably everyone, because cotton candy is the best).

YUM CHA’s menu has loads of other great dishes, which you can check out once they officially open. It’s definitely a restaurant designed with Hong Kong’s devout followers of the “camera eats first” ethos, but I can assure you that the food doesn’t suffer in terms of taste. 

YUM CHA, 3/F, Attitude Hotel, 20-22 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, (+852) 2751 1666.

Photos: Annette Chan/Coconuts Media

Related articles:

Hong Kong restaurant serves up ‘Gudetama’ dim sum that pukes and poops

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