It’s your girl, Olivia, back with my main squeeze, Shagun, for yet another food rendezvous. That’s right, folks. The highly-anticipated sequel. Yummy Garden: A Saga for the Ages, Part II.

After months of sorrowful separation, Shagun and I ventured back to Yummy Garden for another taste of glory. This time, to attempt the hot pot, as promised. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept like I was, the hot pot experience is essentially cooking your own food in boiling broth at your table.

You get to select your own broth and soup accessories. Shagun and I decided to go with the chicken broth pot. The pots all come with a plate of vegetables to cook, so we kept the rest fairly simple with two orders of dumplings: one of vegetable and pork wontons and one chicken shumai.

The chicken broth was modest in chicken flavor so, as a big Guy Fieri Flavortown girl, I could have done with a bit more of a punch, but I appreciated its delicacy. The light flavoring supported a ton of fillings because it wasn’t pronounced enough to clash with any add-ins.

We were definitely satisfied with the complementary plate of veggies. Highlights included the super crunchy sprouts and the fried tofu, which had a wonderful sweet flavor. I’ll also note that, while one broth pot is totally enough to share between two people, there’s only one plate of vegetables, so not everyone can quite “taste the rainbow.”

I personally enjoyed the vegetable and pork wontons. The filling was tender, and the soft, chewy wontons paired well with the crunchy vegetables. While I loved the thick wrapper, Shagun wished they would have been more delicate. To be fair, Shagun spent the entire trip raving about another type of dumplings called momos — she’s a self-proclaimed expert — so there may have been some bias at play.

Even though the wontons didn’t live up to Shagun’s momo fantasies, she still wanted an additional order once we’d finished them. Thus we added the chicken shumai.

While the fun of hot pot is cooking your own food, I was shocked when the waitress brought out shumai filled with raw chicken for us to cook. Not only did they hand us raw chicken without any utensils to transport it into the broth, they didn’t give clear instructions on how to cook it properly. They supplied a vague guide, which detailed that meat should cook for 10–20 seconds. Then, we checked out the dumpling instructions, which detailed 2–3 minutes.

Neither seemed like enough time to safely cook raw chicken, so we just dumped those bad boys in, left them for 10 minutes, and proceeded with caution. Even after all this drama, the shumai turned out wonderfully. They had a deep salty, meaty flavor.

The pricing was superb as well. Shagun and I got the huge broth pot with the vegetables and two dumplings for only $16, split between the both of us. Also, surprise: the Yummy Garden saga is actually a secret trilogy. Ryan and I went back to Yummy Garden a week later for make-your-own bento boxes. For only $8.95, you get a large box with your choice of rice, entrée, a cold side, an egg roll, dim sum, and soup.

Yummy Garden? More like Yummy Bargain —  am I right?

Tagged: dumplings hot pot


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