Yimin Dim Sum
Address: 870 Somerset St W, Ottawa
Hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon – Fri); 10am – 10pm (Sat – Sun)
Earlier this fall, my sister and I met up for lunch at Yimin Dim Sum, a small shop near the western edge of Chinatown. It seats about 30 in a quite utilitarian atmosphere, whose décor highlights include paper decorations from the soon-to-be-over Year of the Pig.
The menu has a few sections of dim sum based on size, as well as larger plates like congee and soups, veggie dishes, and Sichuan and Cantonese cuisine. It’s not quite an overwhelming amount of choices, but there’s definitely a lot of options here.
Luckily for us, we were on a dim sum mission (Dim Sum Possible?), so this made selection a bit easier. My elder sibling is a big of a shrimp-stuffed eggplant, so that was a given, and we also got orders of dim sum standards shrimp shiu mai and BBQ pork steamed buns. To green up our lunch a little bit, we got an order of the Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce, and we went with the interestingly-named deep–fried football for something crispy out of the fryer.
First to arrive was the Chinese broccoli, and the small size we ordered was perfect for a few pieces each between the two of us. The broccoli was tender-crisp, vibrantly green, and the hint of sweetness and umami from the oyster sauce made this a simple, but quite enjoyable dish.
After this healthy start to our meal, the more carb- and meat-heavy dishes came out of the kitchen in quick succession.
The shrimp shiu mai was firm, but juicy, with a mix of finely-minced shrimp and some more substantial bits. Flavour-wise, it was somewhat two-note between the shrimp itself and some sesame oil, but that’s how this style of dumpling rolls.
I enjoyed the textural contrast of the deep-fried footballs’ lightly crispy exterior, and the inside, which seems to be made from glutinous rice flour. These hefty dumplings also had a pinch of pork filling, which while far from generous, added some richness to these carb bombs.
The BBQ pork buns were small, but were on par with their price tag, and the meat and sauce were well-proportioned so that you got a little with each bite.
If there was a winning dish, it was certainly the shrimp-stuffed eggplant. The skin of the eggplant was nice and crisp from its time in the fryer, which contrasted nicely with the soft flesh of the purple plant, and its layer of tender shrimp meat.
Tea for the table was included and came out right away, and hot water top-ups were promptly taken care of.
Sure, we weren’t blow away by Yimin Dim Sum, but it was still a very enjoyable meal, and at ~$30 for a filling lunch for two, you can’t complain!