Asian Restaurant Yelo in Katy Debuts All-New Menu from James Beard Semifinalist
James Beard Award semifinalist Alex Au-Yeung of popular Malaysian restaurant Phat Eatery has created a new menu focused on Southeast Asian comfort food for Yelo, his second restaurant next door. Both restaurants are located in Katy Asian Town at 23119 Colonial Parkway. For the new dishes, Au-Yeung is drawing upon his childhood in Hong Kong, as well as his experience in Cantonese restaurant kitchens.
That doesn’t mean there’s no longer banh mi, the restaurant’s original specialty. Au-Yeung retained five: Grilled Chicken, Grilled Pork, Crispy Tofu, a traditional version with cold cuts featuring Chinese BBQ pork belly, ham, cha lua (Vietnamese steamed pork roll) and housemade pâté, and one featuring Phat Eatery’s award-winning beef rendang. Another type of main dish joins the mix: a bread bowl that can be filled with either curried chicken or beef rendang.
Some of the new dishes are very interesting additions, such as the beef noodle soup, featuring a hand-pulled, six-foot-long noodle kept as a single strand. The soup base is a 12-hour bone broth and it also includes tomato and sliced beef shank.
Another new addition is a selection of dumplings ranging from traditional to rather wild. The former includes pork and chive with shitake mushrooms, and shrimp with leek and ginger. The more unusual ones include the veggies dumpling with spinach, green bean noodle, wood ear mushroom and shredded fried egg, Golden Patty with cheddar cheese, Angus beef, onion and yogurt, and a dessert-worthy banana and nutella version.
Also on the sweeter side is a selection of youtiao (also translated to you tiao). These strips of fried dough have been called Chinese doughnuts, but for Texans, Yelo is using a more regional term: Chinese churros. Covered in frosting, candies and even ice cream, there are five types: Dirty Rainbow with M&Ms, nutella, nonpareils, sprinkles and cinnamon, Cheese Milk Foam Ube, with Phat Eatery’s housemade ube ice cream, salted cheese milk foam, nonpareils and Nerds candy, KBP, which stands for Kaya butter (coconut jam) and pandan ice cream, Matcha Nutella Oreo, which is self-explanatory, and a savory version — TakoAioli with housemade garlic aioli, katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and seaweed.
Last but certainly not least: there are also new appetizers: Curry Fish Balls (noted as “Alex’s favorite street food”), Firecracker Shrimp in the form of crispy egg rolls, Yelo Curry Fries and a mash-up of two of the dishes: Curry Fishballs and Fries.
Just in case you are wondering: for this menu, Au-Yeung is more concerned about what’s delicious rather than staying within someone else’s culinary rulebook. “From Yelo’s inception, we wanted to offer food we enjoy eating every day and without the boundary of being authentic or not,” he said via press release. “In every country, there are big variations between north and south, east and west. Where you grew up, in a city or village, your family’s cultural background, there are many differences in food traditions. No need to worry if that’s the way you ate when you were a child in Hong Kong or Houston or how your grandmother cooked it. Just enjoy.”
With all these menu categories, the new dishes appear likely to generate fresh new interest and excitement among food lovers. Yelo is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Yelo is closed on Mondays.
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.