The dark brick arches of 191 Barkly Street conceal a tasty history. According to Reg Temple of Barkly Smokehouse (maker of Polish smallgoods, sold across Melbourne), the business began at 191 Barkly Street, where its original Polish proprietor would smoke hams out the back. Now, the building is home to another family business that’s quite different but no less authentic – Yummie Yum Cha.
John and Annie Tran started Yummie in a small shop on Leeds Street, which still sells take-home bags of handmade dumplings, plus cheeky custard tarts to snaffle on the way home. The need for more space led them to 191 Barkly Street, which has just undergone a smart new renovation.
All the dim sum is made in house, overseen by son David Tran. Around four years ago he took over from their former chef, a dim sum specialist from Hong Kong, so he knows his way around a har gow now. While other yum cha restaurants rely on trolleys (and reheated dumplings, Annie warns), at Yummie, you order exactly what you’d like and it’s prepared fresh to order.
It’s lucky the dumplings are bite sized, as it’s impossible to choose just one. Don’t miss the “prawn meat dumplings”, melt-in-the-mouth morsels in light, velvety oyster sauce. David loves the scallop dumplings, filled with generous chunks of prawn and with a tender slice of scallop coasting on top. But the very best might be the custard buns – fluffy little orbs filled with warm, fondant-like custard.
This lucky writer took the leftovers home to her kids. “Do you mind if we don’t heat them up?” I asked them. “I don’t care if they’re cold,” replied the eldest. Then (no word of a lie) she continued, “I just care that they’ve got love in them.” And Yummie’s dim sum truly does.
Yummie Yum Cha | UrbanSpoon
189-193 Barkly Street, Footscray
Sun-Thurs 10am-9pm, Fri-Sat 10am-10pm
Read more Signature Dishes of Footscray
Lauren is a food writer and you can read more of her work at her blog.