A prime Cantonese restaurant located in InterContinental Saigon, one of Ho Chi Minh City’s most well-known hotels, YuChu turns business meetings and family lunch breaks into gastronomic delights with meticulously prepared dishes from chefs who have true passions for what they serve.
YuChu’s authentic and beautiful Cantonese dishes come as a bit of a surprise the first time around. You’re not getting a local interpretation of traditional Chinese fare – instead, you’re getting a flavour that ties both the restaurant’s environment and Chinese cuisine into something utterly exciting.
It’s not hard to see you’re in for something different when you first enter YuChu’s refined space. This Cantonese restaurant’s milieu has more in common with a French fine dining environment at first glance. The white-cloth tables and clean tones do not reflect typical elements found in Saigon’s Chinese eateries. But look a little closer while you wait for your meal and you’ll notice creative touches that spell a distinctly Chinese atmosphere – and when your dish actually arrives, prepare for something unlike anything you’ve tried in Ho Chi Minh City.
“YuChu” refers to the kitchen where meals were prepared for royal families. The elegance of the restaurant doesn’t exactly spell “palatial”, but it does fit the cuisine like a glove. Like the dishes – which you can read about in detail in the Experience section below – there are subtle touches that add up to a result that pays true homage to YuChu’s imperial name.
Glance to your right as you’re walking in and you will notice a large wooden wall inset with symbols of Chinese tradition: flora and fauna such as fish and lotus flowers.
The first open kitchen you will happen upon is the dim sum station. Look closer and you’ll see the walls of the station are wooden boards bowed to the shape of a dim sum basket. The metal mesh nearby has distinctly Chinese curlicues twining about it. The cold kitchen is lined with red brick and contains oversized jars of Chinese mushrooms and traditional spices.
Expect a relatively quiet environment. Large parties often simply rent one of the two private dining rooms at the end of the restaurant, which are both lovely and adorned with bright art.
It’s the kind of place you frequent when you want an environment that serves to compliment the food; or you wish to meet friends or colleagues while intermittently getting distracted by the food in front of you.
Any way you take it, YuChu’s subtlety only serves as a strength: what you don’t expect hits you hardest.
YuChu offers a variety of mouthwatering Cantonese and Peking dishes which attract an audience ranging from couples and families to business travellers and local expats. An unbeaten classic is YuChu’s All-You-Can-Eat Dim Sum lunch and dinner. Ho Chi Minh City has its fair share of dim sum places scattered all over the city. YuChu unquestionably ranks among the best to be found in Vietnam’s southern metropolis and far beyond.
Dim sum is an art form that originated in Canton and follows the Spanish tapas principle: many small dishes make a full stomach. Different from tapas, dim sum traditionally comes with a good cup of tea – or more precisely: with copious quantities of tea. YuChu happens to boast a kung fu tea master. Did we just say kung fu? Yes, we did! That should be enough said to give you an idea of just how spectacular getting a fresh cup of tea is at YuChu.
However, we’ve come for the dim sum, and we want them stretchy and crunchy, chewy and crispy, and of course full of Far Eastern flavours. As one can tell, to get all this, you need a range of steaming bamboo baskets. We’ve tried plenty from the open kitchen where you can watch your food being freshly prepared, and each one of them holds a pleasant surprise. We’d like to specially recommend the morning-glory dumplings, that are also one of the chef’s favourites.
Other must-trys include the Roasted Peking Duck (an obvious pick), the Shredded Chicken in YuChu’s signature spicy sauce, the Dried Scallop and Mushroom Soup with Featherback Fish and the Beef Tenderloin with Black Pepper and Wine Sauce. To finish things up the sweet way, you might just want to go for the Chilled Almond Bean Curd with Longan Syrup.
What People Say
Many reviews particularly point out the excellent service and meals at YuChu Restaurant. Some say there’s no better place for Chinese food in the city. Guests are also excited about the spectacular kung fu tea master and cooking performances. With the atmospheric decor, the premium location at the heart of the city, the service and the food quality, the only downer is the high price range which, however, you should expect at an InterContinental venue.
All in all, people agree that YuChu should be at the top of your list for high-end Cantonese and Peking cuisine that features an authentic, stomach-filling dim sum buffet.