Lao Yunnan | Chinatown | Chinese, Asian | Restaurant
Completist Tony Hu's Yunnanese spot, in the former Spring World.

Our Review

The Lao empire of Tony Hu continues to expand with this rapid takeover of the great Yunnanese restaurant Spring World. The southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan is home to more ethnic minorities than anywhere else in the country, and as a result of this diversity, the food of the region—which borders Sichuan province and Tibet as well as Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar—can be frustratingly difficult for outsiders to get grip on. Lao Yunnan helps in some ways but in others it doesn't. Many if not most old favorites from Spring World have been given new names on Hu's menu, which has been jumbled and rearranged, and though there's still a dedicated Yunnanese section, the whole damn thing is dauntingly long, with well over 800 items, from Sichuan-style green bean jelly to bear hand bean curd to Chengdu sticky rice balls in wine sauce. For all that you won't find some of the foods Yunnan is most renowned for—no yak broth hot pots, no pu-erh tea, and none of the storied Xuanwei ham. What you will find are plenty of mushrooms, and fish dishes such as the alluring Lao Special Whole Fish, served bathing in red-hot chile, floating among soft garlic cloves and bright green onions and cilantro. As at Spring World, you can still eat such dishes as nuggets of boneless fried chicken tossed with chiles and nubbins of chewy rice cake, smoky lamb riblets fuming with cuminy vapors, fatty fists of pig feet dubbed "Lao Yunnan special pork hand," or cold dishes of soft, spicy eggplant and chewy slices of nearly beefy pig tongue. And of course the most iconic Yunnanese dish remains: Cross-Bridge rice noodles, a pork-and-chicken-broth soup customizable with beef or pork tripe and blood cakes. Read the full review >>

Mike Sula

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