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Real Yunnan cuisine in a fresh setting

By Eileen Wen Mooney (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-02-24 10:05
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A dining experience at Yunnan restaurant The Moss might easily be remembered as more than satisfying; this place is not only serious about its mouthwatering dishes, they strive to be authentic.

An excellent example of this twin passion is their bean curd wrapped in banana leaves. Bland tofu, that has turned a golden brown, comes alive with flavor as a result of a delicious topping.

The flavorsome layer is powered by a blend of leek and a secret indigenous herb, giving it a distinctively exotic taste that was by all means uniquely pleasant.

In this serving, as in all others, the chef's originality and creativity shines through. The dish is served in a banana leaf basket, presenting a look that is both rustic and artistic.

A casserole pot of assorted mushrooms exudes more than just steam when the cover is removed - the strong aroma of pepper, garlic and mushroom tantalizingly fills the air.

This dish is sauteed with the right amount of oil and salt, resulting in vegetables of the right texture - thoroughly cooked while firm and retaining their natural flavor.

Pineapple salad is another winner at The Moss. This cold dish, which is refreshing, spicy and tangy with a hint of tartness, is a specialty of the ethnic Yi group, according to the menu.

There is perhaps no better potato dish than Ganpei Yangyusi. Surprisingly crispy and without a greasy residue, triangular potato pieces are stacked in such a way as to resemble a star.

The quintessential rice noodle soup comes last. As the bowl is placed on the table, a whiff of ground paprika and chili pierces the nostrils. Tiny chunks of pickled vegetables in the soup are delicious and compliment the noodles well.

The restaurant strives for authenticity by flying in fresh herbs and ingredients from Yunnan, giving the dishes their unique flavor.

The Moss also has an inviting design. Formerly a storage area for Russian buyers, it has corrugated ceilings with thick steel girders that provide an industrial look above.

Below there is a somewhat distinguished modern touch at ground level. It is furnished with dark wooden bookcases, floor-to-ceiling glass windows, leather chairs and sofas and wooden tables, all romantically accented by flickering candles on the walls.


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