Our reporter shares how to navigate the different ways of ordering at the growing Yumcha Terrace Tohsai chain of eateries in Japan’s capital region.

Yumcha Terrace Tohsai, operated by Japanese family restaurant giant Skylark Group, is a fairly new dim sum specialty brand with Tokyo locations in Tsurukawa, Mitaka, and a third location that recently opened in the Minamisuna district on April 27. Our dim sum-loving Japanese-language reporter Yayoi Saginomiya recently went to check out the new location and report back.

To get there, Yayoi recommends taking the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line to Minamisuna Station. It’s about a 10-minute walk from there.

The exterior has a fun display of stacked bamboo steamers under the restaurant name.

Inside, Yayoi was immediately struck by the sparkling newness of everything and the gorgeous Chinese-influenced décor.

Once seated, you’ll order using the tablet at your table, which helpfully has settings in Japanese, English, and Chinese. There are three main methods for ordering, so you’ll have to decide which method is best for you.

The first method is the all-you-can-eat option, from which you can choose one of three different courses:

A course: 23 menu items to choose from / 90 minutes / 2,419 yen (US$17.25)
B course: 35 menu items to choose from / 120 minutes / 2,969 yen
C course: 47 items to choose from / 120 minutes / 3,519 yen

Note: On weekends and holidays, the prices above increase by 330 yen for adults.

The second method is the set yumcha meal option, from which you can choose from the following sizes:

● 4 menu items (1 noodle or rice dish + 3 dim sum dishes) / 1,419 yen
● 5 menu items (1 noodle or rice dish + 4 dim sum dishes) / 1,694 yen
● 6 menu items (1 noodle or rice dish + 5 dim sum dishes) / 1,969 yen

The third method is to simply purchase menu items a la carte.

Yayoi decided to go with the all-you-can-eat A course this time. She liked the fact that she could order the individual dishes at her own pace within the allowed timeframe.

▼ Left button: all-you-can-eat courses
Right button: set meals and a la carte ordering

While she was ordering, a worker also stopped by her table with some Chinese tea. Since yumcha refers to the cultural tradition of drinking tea and eating dim sum that originated in southern China, “the tea of the day” is included with any meal at Yumcha Terrace Tohsai. It just so happened to be jasmine tea on the day of Yayoi’s visit. Upon asking, she found out that the type of tea offered changes every month or so.

After a short wait, her soup dumplings, shrimp shumai, turnip cake, seasonal vegetable, and hot and sour soup selections arrived.

The soup dumplings and shumai arrived in bamboo steamers, which for some reason made her think that they would be 100 times more delicious than if they weren’t. Yayoi had a moment of delight when she lifted the lids and was engulfed in a small wave of steam. She dug in while they were hot and was not disappointed one bit.

She also took particular delight in the displayed instructions for the best way to eat soup dumplings (with a dumpling nestled in your soup spoon, tear a small opening in the side, then add a little ginger and black vinegar).

She wanted to try following those instructions precisely for herself. Thankfully, a classic brand of Chinese black vinegar was waiting for her on the table, and the combination did not disappoint.

Not that it’s a surprise, but every single one of the dim sum that she ordered was also delicious.

No matter how much she ate, she felt like there was still room for a little bit more. Her subsequent orders included Taiwanese-style boiled dumplings, a vegetable meat bun, and a rice cake wrapped in bamboo leaves.

There are two choices of dessert available for the A course–aiyu jelly or sweet sesame dumplings–and she chose the jelly. It was cool, lemony, and completely refreshed her palate at the end of the meal.

All in all, Yayoi tried nine different dishes. That was definitely less expensive than going to a regular Chinese restaurant and ordering nine separate dishes that she’d never be able to finish on her own. This way she could also enjoy sampling many different kinds of small bites. The soup dumplings and Taiwanese water dumplings were the only things that came three to a dish and were a little more filling.

▼ Soup dumplings, steamed dishes, fried things, noodles, rice dishes, and desserts galore!

In another sense, she appreciated the fact that she could do this all on her own. Yumcha is usually enjoyed in a large family gathering or a big group of people, but there are times when she just really wants the dim sum minus the people–and Yumcha Terrace Tohsai offers a great solution in the form of these three different methods for ordering.

▼ Another unique sight–a cat robot cleans the way!

▼ If you like what you drank, there’s a selection of Chinese teas and Taiwanese sweets for purchase, too.

Yumcha Terrace Tohsai will open more locations in Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture by the end of June, so there will be even more options for getting your dim sum fix in Japan before long. For those who’d prefer an all-you-can-eat menu of something other than dim sum, perhaps you’d enjoy one of these conveyor belt all-you-can-eat yakiniku restaurants instead.

Restaurant information
Yumcha Terrace Minamisuna branch / 飲茶 Terrace 桃菜 南砂店
Address: Tokyo-to, Koto-ku, Minamisuna 4-4-21
Open 10 a.m.-11 p.m.

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