Sunday, 19 October 2008

Yum Cha at Me Wah


Yum Cha desserts (Custard tarts and a Mango yummy) pictured above at Me Wah

Bad, bad Hobart. You are letting me down big time. Five tables were all that were eating Yum Cha today at Me Wah – and we need way more takers than that to allow this wonderful Chinese tradition to continue in Hobart.

The food was fabulous, and the cost, in comparison, minimal. It cost us $138 for four (2 normal Aussie blokes, and 2 good female eaters) of us to eat as much as we could physically handle. That’s great value I reckon, especially if you look at the amount of prep that has to go into those tapas-style portions of Chinese food.

For those not familiar with the Yum Cha concept, Yum Cha is a popular and acknowledged form of eating Chinese-style, whereby trayfuls of freshly prepared and steamed food contained in small bamboo steamers are bought out continuously from the kitchen by the waitstaff, and offered to each table, along with a verbal description of what’s contained in each steamer. You point out which you want; the waitperson marks the priced docket that remains on your table (so when you go to pay, all the menu items you selected over the course of your meal have been ticked, thus you can just take your docket to the counter and pay for what you’ve eaten) then you select from the next tray of goodies to arrive at your table.

It’s a form of eating out which our family have loved (whenever we have been on the mainland) for at least 20 years. We religiously have Yum Cha at least once every time we dine out when visiting relatives on the mainland. The beauties of Yum Cha for me not only incorporate the food itself, but also the fact that it makes for an easy way of dining out in a group, and allows the easiest way for public mealtime conversations to take place.

My favourite Yum Cha city is Sydney, which wins hands down for me. Countless times have I left our favourite restaurant in Chinatown, or Manly, clutching my engorged stomach and praying for Hobart to get Yum Cha so I wouldn’t have to capitalize on it quite so fervently whilst in Sydney! In Chinatown, every restaurant does a Yum Cha, and people queue up outside their preferred restaurant waiting for a table to leave so they too can have their Yum Cha. So now we’ve got it here in Hobart, and the novelty has obviously already worn off for the general dining-out populace, and really, for the amount of people there today, were it my decision to make I’d have to think twice about continuing it.

But please, Me Wah owner/s – for Rita’s sake, don’t stop. The food there today was typical Yum Cha with all the usual plates coming out at regular intervals. It was gorgeous, and I want to return now. They have two sittings on Saturdays and Sundays – 11.00 am and 1.00 pm, and naturally you MUST book. For something a bit different; to eat in a top notch restaurant; for excellent value for money – my highest recommendation is Yum Cha at Me Wah.
Posted on by Rita
50 comments

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

$138? Not reasonable for Yum Cha I'm sorry! You can eat til you feel like you're about to explode, ordering the most expensive dishes (seafood etc) in Sydney and it'll only cost 20 bucks a head max (and I go with some pretty big eaters!!). True, these places tend to have more customers, however they also spend less money on the decor...

Anonymous said...

Good on you anon, we all know we're WAY behind the mainland, eff off back to Sydney then will you?!

Anonymous said...

$34.50 a head. I actually think thats very reasonable. When you consider the labour costs, the quality of the produce etc, I think thats pretty good. I mean if you converted that to any other European country (labour costs are about the same), you would be lucky if you got a pizza. Speaking of which one of them here would be twenty odd bucks. A steak dinner, 28+. An hours time of a plumber $100+ appointment at the Dentist $350. I think we under value our food professionals, on the whole I would say dining in Australia is cheap. But I would also say I think people dine out here more than average.

Cartouche

Rita said...

I think you answered your own query, Anon 5.53 - in Sydney, yes it's only $20 per head max but you have squillions of patrons (and population) there, plus as you said, they don't spend as much on the decor as Me Wah. In our tiny island, which admittedly is light years behind the mainland, we have only just managed to get Yum Cha, and the main thrust of my post was pleading with people to go along to Me Wah so we ensure the continuation of this great meal.
Cartouche - I agree wholeheartedly. Anyone who has costed and prepared this type of food will appreciate the true cost for Me Wah of putting Yum Cha on the table. I haven't eaten in Europe so can't compare, but I do think generally dining in Australia is cheap.

Anonymous said...

Bloody oath its cheap, sorry I mean My word, good gracious, see I'm becoming antipodean-atised (don't google it).

Cartouche

gl said...

Great post. We have been 4 or 5 times for Yum Cha and enojyed each visit as much as the last. The fantastic service, the chicken feet, the pork buns, the cuttlefish - it's 10.10pm and my mouth is watering. We pay about $60/70 for two and think that's great value for Hobart. It's such a lovely way to talk, relax and eat great food.

Anonymous said...

would love some recommendations for favourite Sydney yum cha places - will be there for a couple of days soon.

Anonymous said...

me too! sydney yum cha places would be great thanks Rita!

LT

Rita said...

Hi Anon 11.21 and LT - The Marigold for Yum Cha in the city (Chinatown), Sussex St, is THE place to go, as far as our family is concerned, but I reckon any Chinese restaurant offering Yum Cha in Chinatown in Sydney is fine.

Marigold have a website:
http://www.marigold.com.au/html/citymark/index.htm

I'm just researching the name of our favoured Manly venue, and if I find it, I'll report back here.

Rita said...

Manly Yum Cha preferred venue is Manly Phoenix, on the Manly Wharf - website address, with facility to book online:

http://www.phoenixrestaurants.com.au/#

hrv said...

Me wah Yum Cha - dirt cheap. And Steven Tso is beyond doubt one of the best hosts in Tasmania.

sir grumpy said...

I can get 3 dim sims (Same thing, surely) for about $4 at Kingston Beach. Say $3 for chips and bottled water from home.... $7 is not bad.

sir grumpy said...

PS What do hosts really do?
I don't want somebody hovering all over me while I eat my Chiko rolls.

sir grumpy said...

PPS. Why must you book, Rita. It's that theme from an earlier blog.
You said it was mainly empty, so why not walk in?
11am is far too early for me anyway, crikey that's bloody cornflakes time.

Anonymous said...

I know this is probably what you are seeking Sir G, a baited response & I am annoyed that I am responding, however you seem to be the most miserly, the most belligerently hostile twat that has ever commented on this blog.
If its not cheap you aren't interested.
If a place wins an award either from peers or customers, you aren't interested.
If it has a solid reputation, again you aren't interested?
It is SO boring having to wade through your conceited, self centred & indulgent yawns before I get to a rellevent comment.
Land on another blog please?!

sir grumpy said...

Jeez mate,you sound kind of serious in a pompous way.
I was supposed to be having some of them yum chas a few weeks ago but that flu decimated our numbers and we couldn't go.
If it is okay with you,can I still not like awards and can I still decide whether a place is good or bad by going myself, rather than just accepting it is from other people?
Thanks.

Rita said...

Sir G - moving right along there, the main reason you must book for Yum Cha is that, as mentioned in the post, the prep for the food is extremely time consuming and meticulous. If I prepped for 30 booked people, and 60 walked in (totalling 30 un-prepped for) I'd be in a slight panic, to put it mildly.
I spoke to someone today about the numbers of people who book, as opposed to the numbers who don't book, and she said it is roughly half and half on any given night for them. So they had about 40 who booked for last Sat night, and approx another 40 who arrived for a meal unbooked. I think that's pretty pathetic of people actually.

sir grumpy said...

Oh, I see, Rita.Right you are then.
Yes, I can see places need some certainty of numbers.
I missed out but might get along soon to make up for that flu dampener a few weeks ago.
I might even open me wallet and shut me gob! And I believe when food is great it's worth paying handsomely for, despite what my detractors might think.

Anonymous said...

Yes you can of course but be accepting if other peaple like a place that has won an award & not exclude it just to be a a contrary knob.
Yes you are right, I am serious, serious about giving people like you who monopolize this comment section with their particularly narrow viewpoint. People like yourself who ridicule & belittle the ones who disagree with the way you see & enjoy food.
I have noticed over time that you are quick to point out the weak points of others yet you seem to be quite touchy when the attention is drawn to your responses.

Like dish it out but cannot take it, it seems Sir G?

sir grumpy said...

My goodness, such bile. I (once again) stand by my record of praising many places.
Some people,above, seem to notice only my criticism, never my praise.
I hate pretentiousness but if awards ring your bell, go for it.
I am a happy spender,too. I like to point out cost contrasts, that's all.
But, hey, it's just my opinion, don't go changing for my sake, old bean. I don't avoid places because they've won awards, either, Such tosh.
And feel free to post more often, anon, I sometimes post cos I feel Rita ain't getting the response she deserves and I don't want her quitting.
I'd miss her site terribly.

ahkl77 said...

Rita, I reckon before Me Wah stole the yum cha prestige, it was Sen's in North Hobart that was dishing up dim sums (the proper way we call the food in yum cha) for as long as any Hobartian remembered.

Sen's is replaced with Nandos, and the chef has moved on to operate Castle Zayee in Lenah Valley. It still does yum cha, with or without bookings.

CZ offers value too for its pricing, which is very popular with students and the Asians in Hobart.

Ask some of the Chinese students, they reckon Me Wah is quite out of reach for those on tight budgets and they would scoff at Me Wah's price for food they are all too familiar with and be willing to pay for.

Just an honest perspective.

Anonymous said...

Am I one of the happy few, yes we happy few who do not hold our manhood cheap, who gets the whole Sir Grumpy satire and comment. Maybe its a Brit thing, maybe its not, I mean lets not get all xenophobic. Sir Grumpy, keep the humour going even if the locals can't hack it, Annon's keep taking the bate, either way I just laughed my silly pommie dick off. Godd on ya SGBF.

Ps Three dim sims are still a dollar in Kingston, not 4 bucks.

Cartouche

Rita said...

Hi ahk177 - thanks for your comments. I was aware of Sen's Yum Cha but when I went along, found it actually wasn't Yum Cha as I had previously known it, with the trolleys of food coming round to your table etc, but merely the dim sum food sitting in the bain from which you selected ehatever you wanted. I had been anticipating the full experience as I had previously known it, so was let down on that front, and didn't bother going again. Food Kitty alerted us last year, or maybe the year before to the Castle Zayee link but I'm afraid I haven't been and had assumed they'd stopped doing it. I'm glad that they are still operating, and that it is way more affordable for students, as I felt the other day that the upmarket-ness of Me Wah would be a huge contributing factor towards the lack of patronage of Yum Cha here in Hobart.
Cartouche - glad to hear from you again, and let me add my voice to yours regarding SGBF. I can always tell when he's taking the piss and throwing in those "baiting" statements, and he always manages to get a response, doesn't he! I also know he does it a lot of the time to stimulate a good discussion, and am appreciative that he's such a Rita fan. So guys - chill out regarding Sir Grumpy. Yes he can come across as a right pain the arse, but basically he's just a stirrer, so maybe we could say he's assimilated well into Australian society - much as he might hate me for coming to that conclusion, being the true Pom that he is!

Anonymous said...

sir grumpy has long since become just a boring old ranting fart. Any traces of humour have long disappeared. He just keeps pushing the same old barrow until someone bites and then he becomes defensive and pathetic claiming to like lots of places and is really just a softie. Give it a rest. It's really BORING and tells us nothing about the food scene.

Christina said...

It's hard to tell when a comment is posted by anon if it's the same person every time. If it is I'd say you have a rather unhealthy preoccupation with our poor Sir G.
You are giving him a pretty hard time and I for one would miss his wicked ways if he were to stop commenting.
Most of what he's got to say is done so "tongue in cheek" and I've had many a good laugh from him over the years.
I've also learnt a little here and there.
If you just want the food scene info, just read the comments without Sir Grumpy typed at the top.
So give it a rest. It's really boring.

sir grumpy said...

Well, I have a tear in me eye (I only have one eye, that's why I'm so one-eyed) that I have defenders.
You are right Cartouche on the dim sim prices. I suppose Jeeves has to earn a cracker somewhere when I send him in the Bentley to Kingston for dim sims and chips.
He's fudged those prices.
I'd get the pantry maid to flog him but I think he'd like it.

Anonymous said...

Floggings, you back at your old boarding school SG.

Cartouche

ahkl77 said...

Rita, the dim sums are made on order by Chef Gang at Castle Zayee. How fresh can that be! Sometimes complimentary egg tarts will be offered at the end of meal if you're lucky. The place is off Creek Road.

Whitey said...

Dim sim prices have recently increased from 3 for $1.00 to 3 for $1.20 at Speed Feed in Liverpool St.

If you don't wish to go so multicultual, potato cakes are also 3 for $1.20.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record - there are about 10 of us anons commenting on sir grumpy and we all agree that he is a waste of space

Christina said...

Oh Sir G. Please remember you are loved, wanted, and needed.
For every nay sayer there is another that adores your wiley ways.
It would be a very dull world indeed if we all agreed with each other, but some times it gets a little too personal I feel.
Why can't we all be open to others and a little positive instead of trampling and negative.
I s'pose some of us learn to take the good with the bad and come up with something fair to middlin',and some of us just choose to take the bad.
Bit sad really.

Christina said...

And just a question.
If "for the record" there are about 10 anons, how do you know this?
Is it some form of syndicate?
Are you all in cahoots together in a slag off campaign?
Do you all talk behind our backs?
Just a question, not a care factor.
You express the opinion that Sir Grumpy is spoiling your Rita experience for you, where as I feel exactly the same about you. I'm just so over, on every post, him being slagged off by "anon".
So, over him, you may be, there are others out there that feel exactly the same about you!
It's starting to feel like some kind of vendetta.
If your so concerned about the foodie scene, shut the hell up about Sir grumpy and talk about bloody food! If you don't like what he's got to say, like I said before, just skip it!
I'm here for a few reasons.
I love to hear about the food, I've made some friends, some I've met, some I'm yet to, and I love a variety of opinions.
I've tried some restaurants I maybe wouldn't have, and not gone places I maybe would have.
I understand that all you 10 anons are entitled to your opinions also, but it's getting repetitive and tiresome.
Sir Grumpy. I know you don't need defending,as you are quite capable, but this is really starting to shit me!
Rita, never stop, and sorry for venting.

sir grumpy said...

How can you tally those anons, anon.
If you are the one anon, all the others you claim are different could be just one more anon....But
come on anon I know that's you anon. And you do go on an on an on an on an on anon anon.....
Gimme a break.r.

sir grumpy the stalked said...

Snap, Christina, we must have posted together. (It was good for me).
But it's a worry. Why would anyone get so worked up about us blogging away and home in so venomously?
Thanks for your support but.

ahkl77 said...

Perhaps when this blog requires a user ID to leave a comment, we would see the end of off-topic commenting...?

anonther anon(not one of the ten!) said...

Christina, I am not on of the 'ten anons' but I do feel sir g is very opinionated. That I dont mind but it seems that he is, or I think its a he, is very sensitive to any criticism of his own opinions, a foible he has historically taken others to task over as a weakness, often employing a personal barb or two to underpin his point.
On the matter of Rita's blog being a personal attack or sir G I think you are being too sensitive. Of Ritas last three posts,I think there have only been about five negative posts that specifically target sir g.
Like the blog author has learned, if you put your opinion out there, be prepared for some democracy!
Viva la blogasphere!

Anonymous said...

Wow what a lot of angst on Rita's blog these days!
I did stopped watching when we were all firmly told that we had to be more serious, but it seems to me its going from bad to worse!

One thing though Whitey, don't buy your dim sims too cheap, you really don't know who's pet is inside them!

And just for the record, in the good old days, Sens did do a great Yum Cha in the traditional manner, I think every Sunday for a long time. This was in the main restaurant area well past that horrendous bain marie thing!



P

sir grumpy said...

We are all opinionated but that's just my opinion.
If you don't have an opinion don't bother.

Christina said...

Mmmmm, to borrow a phrase, some food for thought.
Aren't opinions what it's all about?
ahkl77. I quite like off topic commenting. Who knows where it could lead? Sometimes it works out!
Honestly.
I also think we'd have less commenters if we had to leave user I.D., less for us to learn perhaps.

Anonymous said...

Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch!!!!!
The 10 anons

Anon2 said...

Oh dear! Saw 39 responses and knew something must be up. I reckon anonymous anons should 'fess up and give themselves a number or something individual like I do! Poor old sir grumpy has certainly been taking a battering, not to mention a deep frying! Mind you, the old bugger does often provoke to a point where he is bound to get such responses.

sir grumpy said...

And luvin it, Anon2...you're my favourite anon by the way (so far).
I don'tprovoke either,you provocative bastard.

anon 11 said...

Its all about sir grumpy

Anon2 said...

Now don't go getting all mushy on me, old fruit! Tell ya wot, crack a bottle of good red at 5:30pm this evening. I'll do the same and we'll toast the battles to come - on to the next round!
On the other hand, this might getting a bit too chummy considering ....... ah, what the hell! You only live once.

sir grumpy said...

By the way, disgruntled anon who is always having a go at me...what was the issue that first made you realise I wasn't on your favourites list?
I'm a bit puzzled. I'd really like to know, then we could debate it, maybe even sensibly.
Come on, show some bonhomie mate.

Anonymous said...

Bottles of Red at six paces, thats the way to Go!

P

Anonymous said...

I was a member of the party that took Yum Cha with Rita on the morning in question.

It was stunning! simple as that and worth every bit of what we paid.

For those of you who have had a good moan and gripe, lets just cu to the chase, this was a great experience and its righ in your own foodie back yard, dont knock it give it a run its brilliant, I travel five hours each way just to0 be part of this experience and loved it.

rockoyster said...

Finally made it to the Me Wah Yum Cha today and have to say I am really disappointed . . . that it took us so long. This place is great. We used to be regulars at the Pheonix on Manly Wharf in Sydney. Me Wah is every bit as good. A great experience.

Karl said...

I'm sorry Me Wah but I have been left feeling totally underwhelmed. I have to say the service was SUPERB, EXCELLENT but I don't come for the service (have to tip more lol) the food is too EXPENSIVE but I suppose you are paying for the 'ambiance'. And for any foodies that love Chinese cuisine you cannot go past Yum Cha....just not from Me wah. Firstly their Yum Cha menu is extremely limited when compared with mainland or overseas estabishments. No if you want anything that resembles Yum Cha then goto Castle Zayee in Lenah valley. Trust me looks are extremely deceiving. What's important is the food.

sir grumpy said...

Yes. Karl I was disappointed last time I went in for yum cha.
It was mainly all seafood or simple pork.
Nothing wrong with that I suppose but I wanted more variety.
I felt guilty at having the Shark's Fin one and wouldn't do it again.
It was nothing anyway.
We actually got so fed up we ordered crispy skin chicken, veggies and rice to get something with a bit of substance.
The wine markups were a bit much.
It's been Touch of Asia round the corner for us ever since.
Lovely people, great food (Duck, Vietnamese Chicken, Szechuan Beef...ooooh).