Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Hidden Culinary Gem
Near my office tucked away in an alley is a wonderful Yunnan restaurant.
I would have never known about it had my colleague taken me there for dinner tonight.
And unlike most of the eateries in the area that have greasy floors, kitsch Chinese decor and staff garbed in peasant-like outfits, this one is ultra modern. You have to press a button before a sliding glass door lets you in and when you step in, another one slides open to reveal the dining area. The floors are concrete, with minimalist decor that's more Asian-looking than Chinese.
The wait staff all wear stylish black shirts and pants with a long sash around their waists.
My friend recommended we get the eggs cooked on hot stones. And this very hot platter arrived with hot rocks on it and the waitress poured the scrambled egg with chives onto the platter and mixed the rocks around until it was cooked. Delicious and fresh.
Another successful discovery was mixed vegetables stir-fried with barley. Finely diced mustard seed vegetables with tomatoes were mixed with barley which was refreshing and not too bland either.
The highlight was steamed crab, two small crustaceans that were cooked with lemongrass leaves and a hint of chilli so it wasn't too spicy. Thankfully most of the chopped pieces were cracked for us, but we asked for a cracker that was needed at times. What was also wonderful was that the staff constantly changed our small plates as we ate more crab.
It was the perfect meal to a long day at work, and with good conversation, a dinner to remember.
Southwest Minority Dishes
No. 21 Bei Shi Cheng Dong Lu