Restaurant Review: Yauatcha in Houston

Howie was at a wedding when he mentioned to another guest there that he was going to Houston. That person’s eyes lit up and he said, “You have to try Yauatcha. They have the best dim sum.”

Now we both love our dim sum – in fact we try to go every weekend and we know exactly what we like. So for someone to give such glowing praise of a dim sum place, we knew we’d have to try it even though we had imagined all we’d eat in Houston was BBQ.

We met up with my friend and decided to do happy hour, also known at Yauatcha as “Flow and Prosper”. The prices seemed higher than the places we’re used in Vancouver and it was all in $USD so we figured the best deal would be to try it during happy hour where the dim sum was a couple dollars cheaper. We got there at 6pm and were seated promptly at the bar. The restaurant was maybe a quarter full.

Shanghai siew long bun also known as xiao long bao

First up is one of our faves – xiao long bao! Our usual criteria for XLB is that the skin has to be very soft and delicate. When you pick it up, the skin can’t tear and must contain a lot of soupy goodness. This XLB’s skin didn’t tear but it was because it was fairly thick. The soup and meat inside was OK but the skin was a let down.

(L to R) XLB, Roasted duck pumpkin puff, Crispy duck roll

If you look on Instagram, it seems like everyone ordered the very photogenic roasted duck pumpkin puff. We gave it a try and while it was very cute, we didn’t get too much of a pumpkin taste and the duck wasn’t as moist as it should’ve been.

The duck roll had a spring roll outer layer which was nice and crispy. But the duck inside didn’t hold much flavor and I dunked it quite a bit in the sauce to get some flavor.

(L to R) Shrimp and Chinese chive dumpling, pork and prawn shui mai

Again the skin was the issue on the shrimp and chive dumpling. A skin that’s too thick gives you a mouthful of dough and isn’t appetizing. The shui mai (one of my dim sum faves) was better and it had a nice fatty pork inside which was nice. I think it was my favorite dish that we ordered.

The bar at Yauatcha in Houston. The restaurant right outside the Galleria Mall

In conclusion, this was not “the best dim sum” as I found a few things were lacking. I will say that the ambience was very nice – we sat by the bar which was sleek and modern. Howie ordered the Ginger Smash (Virginia Black whisky, ginger, cardamon, vanilla, lemongrass, lemon, ginger beer) to drink and I think it was the star of the show. It was crisp and refreshing and it’s something we will look forward to making at home. If you’re looking for some Instagram friendly dim sum, check out Yauatcha but if you’re looking for top quality, look elsewhere.

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