Katy’s Yelo changes menu after chef known for banh mi leaves

Yelo, an acclaimed fast food spot in Katy dedicated to Vietnamese cuisine and other Southeast Asian countries, is undergoing some changes following the departure of a key opening operator.

Chef Cuc Lam quietly left the restaurant in November 2021, according to a Yelo spokesperson, leaving Alex Au-Yeung, business partner and owner of Phat Eatery, at the helm. Lam was recognized for the excellent banh mi sandwiches she made at Yelo, one of which made the Houston Chronicle restaurant reviewer Alison Cook literally jumps out of her chair.

“It was an amicable separation,” said Lam, who currently teaches cooking classes and works as a private chef. “I wish Alex and the new team all the luck!”

A few original Yelo favorites are no longer on the menu, such as the Pho-Rench Dip banh mi, a version of the French dip with beef pho broth served on the side; and the Char Siu Xiu Mai banh mi, made with Chinese barbecue marinated pork dumplings, aioli, marinated carrots and papaya.

“It was an honor to have Cuc on board and I know great things await him in the future,” Au-Yeung said. “As for Yelo, we can’t wait to tell more of our story through the foods we love. We’ve added fun twists to new menu items beyond Vietnamese, including dumplings, handmade noodles , Chinese donuts and more, and we will continue to do so.”

Beef noodle soup is a new menu item at Yelo in Katy.

Kimberly Park

Yelo opened in March 2021 in Katy Asian Town, a partnership between Au-Yeung, who owns Malaysian restaurant Phat Eatery next door, and Lam, formerly of now-closed Singaporean joint Sing, which she also unexpectedly left in 2019.

After Lam’s departure, Yelo’s menu revamp makes way for dishes that bear more of Au-Yeung’s imprint, drawing inspiration from his childhood in Hong Kong, his training in Cantonese kitchens, and his years of work in Houston.

Highlights include a firecracker shrimp snack, which marinates Gulf shrimp in ginger and lime, then wraps them in a crispy wonton shell, served with sweet chili sauce. There are now five dumpling options on the menu, including pork and Chinese chives, and a Nutella dessert dumpling.

Hand-pulled Chinese noodles have also made an appearance at Yelo. The staff use the traditional technique of stretching the dough in a single 5-6 foot loop to create the noodles, which are served with 12-hour bone broth, braised beef shank, tomato and garlic. chilli oil.

Youtiao, Chinese fried donuts, were introduced to Yelo's menu, including a cheese milk foam ube flavor.

Youtiao, Chinese fried donuts, were introduced to Yelo’s menu, including a cheese milk foam ube flavor.

Kimberly Park

For dessert, Au-Yeung introduced Chinese deep-fried donuts called youtiao, including creations like KBP, which is topped with Malaysian coconut jam, pandan ice cream, rainbow sprinkles, toasted coconut and curry powder.

Four banh mis remain at Yelo: the charcuterie combo, the beef rendang, the crispy tofu and the grilled chicken or pork. Neither Lam nor Au-Yeung shared the reason for the split.

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