Ever since we got back from Hong Kong & Shanghai last fall, we've been lamenting the fact that in Portland it is virtually impossible to get those same satisfying flavors we experienced there. There's no shortage of Chinese restos here, and in my trips to the Asian markets seemingly no lack of authentic ingredients. So what is it? I have no idea...commitment, passion...who knows. So it was with some excitement but not much hope that I ventured into Yummy Yummy Restaurant last week for lunch. I had noticed Yummy Yummy sitting across 82nd Av. from the Fubonn Asian shopping center (2745 SE 82nd, between Division and Powell), and if nothing else I thought the name was pretty charming. Hopefully a prophecy.
They've been open for about seven months, and like most Asian restaurants it has that overlit, bright, shiny feel. Plus the obligatory flat screen running Asian/Chinese TV nonstop (which I have to say I am kind of hooked on after our trip over the holidays to Houston, where w's parents also have it running nonstop. I don't have any idea what they are saying, but in an odd way it is an addictive eye candy). Anyway, I sat down and was handed the lunch menu of specials, plus their full menu of choices, which numbers well over a hundred. I like variety but I always wonder "How can they possibly do so many things well?" I ended up ordering Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce, their crisp fried chicken wings, and shredded pork chow mein noodles. Now usually when you order at most Asian joints the food arrives seeming within seconds of the server turning in your order. What was different about YY was that my food didn't come slamming out of the kitchen. The broccoli came first about 10 minutes after my order went in, which leads me to believe they don't hold too much food on the hot line and things are made to order. From the freshness of the broccoli, which was perfectly cooked if a bit over-sauced, I'm guessing that would be the case. Same goes for the chicken wings, which were crunchy tender, served with a sprinkling of sesame seed, and I added a dab to Sriracha sauce to amp them up. The chow mein noodles were outstanding! This is what I'd been craving. They reminded me of what I'd been eating off the streets in Shanghai. Thin rice noodles freshly stir fried with veggies and pieces of tender pork. Really, really good, and of course enough for two people. Lunch was $21 with plenty of leftovers, and I couldn't wait to get home and share the news with w because this was as close to what I had been loving about the food in China as I've ever had here. Most auspicious, and it was time to make plans to get back for dinner, with more appetites along so we could take the true measure of the menu.