Yunnan Chinese cooking with modern sensibilities. Mostly shareable small plates with light, bright flavors.
When the strips of fried pork belly first arrive at your table, the draw is immediate, animal. You dip a blistered corner into a little pile of ground spices, then pop them into your mouth in a steady stream, the fiery heat of red chilies slowly building up with each crisp, fatty bite. Fried mint leaves, translucent green and aromatic serve as a pause, freeing you to consider whether that's star anise, fennel, or perhaps a bit of both you taste in there with the cumin and Sichuan peppercorn.
Perhaps you might also stop and think to yourself, I'm eating a $10 Chinese appetizer from a region of China heretofore unknown in the airport food court, served on a clean white plate by a server (also white) who speaks polite English with a good barrel-drawn rosé on the side. What the heck's happened to Chinese food in New York?
The arrival of Yunnan Kitchen on the Lower East Side is a sign of the changing regional Chinese culinary scene in New York.
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