As I mentioned when I wrote about Full House Cafe, there are more opportunities to explore regional Chinese cuisines than ever before. One such opportunity is at Yunnan Kitchen on the Lower East side, where they feature the food of… yes, Yunnan province. That’s where I met up with Jess & Garrett for a recent dinner. Yunnan is one of the southernmost provinces in China, and shares a border with Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam. Some of the food at Yunnan Kitchen does indeed share some of the characteristics of Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly the dish called Charred Eggplant. Here the wedges of soft eggplant are covered in a pile of chopped peanuts and cilantro, missing only a squeeze of lime to make it something that could be mistaken for Vietnamese.
The Mushroom Rice Cakes seemed like more standard Chinese-American fare, overly sweet, but the Chrysanthemum Salad was more interesting. The chrysanthemum leaves were herbal and slightly spicy, while the dressing provided a tangy, sesame counterpoint. It also tastes wholly original, which is exactly the kind of thing I’m looking for when trying new cuisines.
Yunnan Kitchen — 79 Clinton St.