Friday, October 25, 2013

151. Bay Area - Yummy Yummy Vietnamese Raw Beef Salad / 火車頭牛肉粉 (SF: Inner Sunset)

Yummy Yummy in the Inner Sunset is one of those places you never forget.  Though pho is written in Vietnamese on the yellow awning over the door, this restaurant makes more than just bowls of rice noodles.  The raw beef salad is one of the most popular items, and it is what I remembered from my first visit here three years ago.  It is almost absurd as to how squeamish I was about eating raw beef just three years ago because I would easily select fresh steak tartare off any restaurant menu, particularly from Olympic Provisions in Portland.

Thin, almost translucent, sheets of rosy red beef gets showered with such a healthy dose of lemony citrus that it almost cooks the protein.  The fragrance comes from the fried shallots and chopped basil, and the toasted peanuts provide a complementary crunch to the smoothly soft beef.  I detect some quickly fried garlic in there too, and my tongue likes it.

The fish sauce fried chicken wings is a must order item just as much as the raw beef salad is.  The skin is crisp.  The glaze is spicy.  And the chicken itself is damned hot.  There is a big chance of burning your fingers, so if you can manage eating chicken wings with chopsticks, I would highly recommend it. 

The main attraction at Yummy Yummy is arguably the whole crab.  There are about half a dozen different seasonings on the menu.  We ordered cua rang moi, the house special salt and pepper and crab.  The restaurant provides each person a shell cracker, thankfully, and the three of us tore through that sucker and demolished its tender soft inner meat.  Real good stuff... this is the traditional way of eating seafood before Boiling Crab ever came along.

There is much more on the menu... from the requisite variations of pho to rice cakes and rice dishes... to grilled beef, frog, eel, and even a large vegetarian section.  I have yet to try those because I order the raw beef salad, chicken wings, and whole crab whenever I come here, but I don't doubt that I see some cooked beef and rice cakes in the future.  Until then, let's all get S.O.F.A.T.

Yummy Yummy
1015 Irving St.
Inner Sunset
San Francisco, CA 94122

ML - 20130831

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