Friday, August 01, 2008

Taste Yunnan – Guangzhou

I don’t know how I have not blogged about Taste Yunnan till now. I sampled this restaurant my first few months in Guangzhou and since then it has been one of my favorite eateries in this city. Yunnan food is very provincial and not something I would expect most people to like so it was not till earlier this year that I took one of my friends there. Surprisingly he loved it and invited a few more of our mates to try it out. Taste Yunnan is now a regular haunt for the crew and we usually hit it up at least once a month for midweek lunch.

Yunnan is a province in Western China. It is up country farm land and the Yunnan people were mostly nomadic farmers and herders, I think. The menu at Taste Yunnan Restaurant has a lot of freaky items on it like a whole selection of worms and maggots, strange mushrooms, and fermented vegetables. But if you are not put off by this there are some other fantastic dishes available that I have not seen or tried anywhere else I have been in China. The décor of the restaurant is also extremely characteristic and the staff is friendly and pleasant. As soon we walk in the serve up a round of chilled Yunnan Beer. Its light and flavorful.

One of the more unique items on the menu is this grilled Yak. Like most of the dishes here, it is very spicy. If you do not like spicy food, this is not the place for you.

Mutton with wild mushrooms in a hotpot is one of my favorites. Equally spicy, each bite is a guaranteed fire bomb. The meat is a bit fatty at times but very render and flavorful. The mushrooms are awesome. I also enjoy food that stays how while you pick at it. The vegetables are crisp and fresh.

One of the more popular dishes amongst my friends is this spicy bonell beef. And when I say spicy, this stuff makes me reach for napkins to wipe my sweat. Those orange peppers you see are 100% lethal.

This right here is the dish that keeps me going back to Taste Yunnan again and again. There is not a single person I have taken there who did not go head over heels for the fish in spicy soup. The flesh of the fish is practically boneless, simmering is this piping hot stew with small pieces of potato and thin slices of squash.

When there is a bottom feeding vegetarian in the group we always call for the potato pizza. That is not what the dish is officially called, but that is what it resembles. Or a large hash brown. This pancake made of shredded potatoes is the perfect compliment for all the meat.

Dammit, all these dishes are my favorite. I dis not attempt the spicy boneless chicken with rice cakes until quite recently. The rice cakes are just like 'lontong' we eat in Indonesia, except these are lightly stir fried so their skin is just a little crispy. The chicken pieces are very tender with slivers of fat and skin. Not healthy, but fucking tasty!

The great part about going in a large group is that we get to sample all these dishes and we can order the Dali Chicken. It is a whole crispy grilled chicken served with a black pepper seasoning. This is one of the few dishes that is not cooked with enough chili to burn your insides to ashes. Very fresh...

With only 8 of us sitting down to this meal, we did a fair bit of damage. There are a handful of restaurants in Guangzhou that we frequent as a group. All have been tried and tested, each one with a list of items we all enjoy. I hope to review the others in due course, but i keep forgetting to bring my camera. Taste Yunnan Restaurant is located on Tien Run Lu, behind the VanGuard supermarket on Tien He Bei Lu in Guangzhou.

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