I don’t know how Ben (Chowtimes) does it, but he always manages to find amazing restaurants in places most people would not think to look. YY Village is one such place; when I saw Ben’s post I knew I had to check this place out with Queenie. Chowtime’s post is here.
YY Village is not particularly difficult to find. If you head down get onto Buswell and Anderson and see the Anderson branch Dairy Queen, you’ve found it! It looks very simple on the outside, with Chinese characters written on the window that I can’t read. They also have parking spots right in front, but be sure it only says either YY Village or DQ; the ones to the left aren’t theirs.
Moving inside, I was surprised at how tiny the place is! Besides the bar by the wall, they had about 3 square tables for two and two round tables for about four. It wasn’t too busy when we came at 11:45ish, about one table of four or five and another table of one (who happened to be Mr.Crispy Lechon!). It did get a bit more busy later.
One thing that surprised me when we started ordering was the fact that our menu was totally in Chinese! The one posted by Ben on Chowtimes had both Chinese and English. This kind of left me out of the ordering as I can’t read and Chinese; thank goodness Queenie can though! (Queenie: see, there is a point in learning Chinese!!! 你不知道我在講你。 你是最好的!)
Having seen the delicious plates Ben ordered, we followed them on most of what they had. Our first order that arrived was the Pork Chop Noodle in Soup (排骨麵)[$5.85].
The porkchop was pretty good. It wasn’t as fried as I thought it was, which lacked some of that crisp I usually anticipate from having Shanghainese porkchop with noodles. However, this really let the pork flavour jump out. It was also quite tender. (Queenie: I prefer my pork chop to be on the salty side. The porkchop is tender but I prefer to have more seasoning…I am a salt junkie and a future hypertensive patient) I do wish they gave us a knife a bit sharper than a butter knife though; even though it was tender it wasn’t that easy cutting it up! (Queenie: honey, it is just your skill I will cut it up for you next time ok?)
Surprisingly, I thought the noodles were the best part of the dish. They weren’t particularly thick nor thin, just about the right width for me. They were slightly chewy and were really smooth. The broth was perfect in my opinion; very “ching” (清) yet flavourful and really complemented the porkchop. (Queenie: definitely my favourite part! The noodles were just excellent substitute of rice! It kinds of wash down the grease of the pork chop! Because the noodle was so 清 I do wish the pork chop can be more salty)
I also added their spicy pepper oil when I had the noodles. It was actually very spicy! Normally when I add some of that in other restaurants, it wouldn’t have as much of a kick as this. Apparently, YY Village makes this pepper oil themselves. (Queenie: the pepper oil is super spicy because they use the spiciest peppers of all: 指天椒! I am sorry I don’t know what it is called in English. In Chinese, they are the spiciest pepper. The owner explained that their oil is extra spicy is because they use fresh ones instead of dried ones like other stores)
Our next dish to arrive was the much awaited Slice Beef in Pancake (大餅夾牛肉)[$5.20]. This was what we came for, and we were not disappointed.
These pancakes were huge; thicker than we’re used to. The outside layer of the wrap was very crispy with the inside portion being slightly more doughy. The beef slices themselves were quite flavourful and tender. (Queenie: I DIED! I love that crispiness of the pancake! so flaky and delicious! My favourite for sure)
They had the proportion of meat-to-sauce (sweet sauce) just right too. This was the best beef pancake I’ve ever had! A definite must try. (Queenie: hey dear, what’s the difference between hosin sauce and oyster sauce again? ;p)
By this point we were thinking to ourselves we shouldn’t have ordered so much. We were already getting full. Our next dish that arrived was the Red Hot Dumpling (紅油水餃) [$4.80]. We opted for the dumpling instead of the wonton because Queenie doesn’t eat shrimp =P. (Queenie: hey i do! just when they are fresh or deep fried…)
These dumplings were pretty good! I thought the skin was a bit on the thick side, but the meat was delicious. While it was decently spicy (apparently quite spicy to Queenie), it wasn’t so spicy that you can’t actually taste the food itself. (Queenie: it is pretty spicy to me….i can feel my lips swelling…again, the pepper oil i mentioned earlier is the culprit) It was also quite juicy on the inside; one actually exploded over my hand when I bit into it LOL. (Queenie: what a failed moment….)
Our final dish was the Chinese Baked Cake (蘿蔔絲酥餅) [$2.00]. I don’t recall ever having this before, but Queenie said it’s common and is good so we got that too.
Inside this baked cake are “lo bak si”, or very thin slices of daikon. It was quite doughy, definitely like a cake. They tasted pretty good, but Queenie said this wasn’t the best she’s had. Normally, they’re supposed to be thinner on the outside and flakier. (Queenie: the outer layer should be thin and flaky while the daikon should be shredded and moist…The one in YY village is decent…I find the outer shell is too thick altogether)
Our grand total was….
The elderly gentleman that mans the store was also very nice. He came around to fill our tea cups a few times and said we shouldn’t rush and take our time. As we were leaving, he actually chatted with us for a bit. YY Village has only been open 4 months or so and their most popular dishes are the beef pancake and porkchop noodle. When we told him his beef pancake was the best we’ve ever had, he was also incredibly humble. Quite a friendly guy!
PS. Don’t spread this one around too much though, it’s Ben’s secret place ;).