[China: Guangzhou] 1* Yong 蘭亭永

Rating: 4.5/5

First time visiting mainland China in 4 years to eat at 1* Yong 蘭亭永 - a sophisticated Sichuan restaurant by Chef Lan Guijun of 2* Yu Zhi Lan 玉芝蘭 in Chengdu! Just an hour away from Hong Kong by high speed rail, Yong is located in a beautifully restored 3-story historic garden villa. Immediately my eyes were drawn to the impressive stone archway in the entrance - sourced from a Shangxi village whose origin can be traced back to the Ming-Qing dynasty. The ground floor serves as a gallery showcasing China’s artifacts and tea culture along with a wine room; the first floor is the main dining area with 4 private rooms; and lastly the top floor of the building offers a spacious terrace for guests to relax. See a video tour of the restaurant here.

The Executive Chef Lan Guijun 蘭桂均 is not only a master of Sichuan cuisine but has also served as the head chef of a Cantonese restaurant for years, so the cuisine at Yong is Sichuan at its core and fused with local Cantonese ingredients. Refined and elegant, Yong showcases the rich variety of flavors that Sichuan cuisine has to offer while using top quality seasonal ingredients - an exquisite experience well worth trekking for!

We started our meal with a series of cold Sichuan appetizers served in a pure silver case to enhance the taste. The signature chicken feet with pickled pepper was easily a favorite with its multi-layers of flavors.

Seasonal Tea (季節拼配茶)
• 無量山野放炭焙烏龍&雲南墨香玫瑰

Cold Dish (小菜)
• Chestnut Soup (栗湯)
• Rose Infused Lily Bulbs (玫瑰浸百合)
• Spring Bamboo Shoot in Morel Oil (菌香茭白筍)
• Deep Fried Prawns (酥炸椒鹽蝦)
• Chicken Feet with Pickled Pepper (鮮泡椒鳳爪)
• Razor Clam with Green Pepper (燒椒竹蟶皇)
• Geoduck in Chili Oil (糊辣象拔蚌)
• Spiny Lobster with Five Color Noodles (刺龍蝦五彩怪味面)

Another highlight was the spiny lobster with five-color noodles where the lobster was served two-ways with the tail deep-fried and the meat simmered in a lobster broth. The noodles were colored with fruits and vegetables, and paired with a delicious “strange flavor” sauce!

Transition (過中)
• Golden Thread Noodles (坐杠大刀金絲面)

For the transition from cold to hot dishes, we were served golden thread noodles with a supreme broth that had been simmered for 10 hours and noodles as thin as threads - easily the finest noodles I’ve ever had!

Main Course (熟菜)
• Prawn Paste Jelly with Caviar (魚子醬蝦凍齊)

• Fish Maw Stew (清燉花膠)

• Sautéed Morel Mushroom Stuffed with Wagyu Beef (香煎羊肚菌)

The mushroom was deliciously crunchy on the outside and the buttery aroma of the dish was just mouthwatering.

• Braised 18-Head Abalone (吊曬本色吉品十八頭鮑)

The braised abalone - an iconic Cantonese dish - was fantastic as well. The sauce had been prepared by using only local chicken, dried scallops and Jinhua ham until it’s been reduced into a thick velvety sauce - resulting in flavors that are much richer and deeper.

• Crispy Sea Cucumber with Hot & Sour Noodles (脆炸青參-酸辣粉)

The crispy sea cucumber with hot & sour noodles was another favorite. The crispness of the sea cucumber was just right - just light enough so it was still very tender on the inside. I absolutely love hot & sour noodles, and this is probably the most refined version you can get!

• Chargrilled Wild Caught Spanish Mackerel (泡椒碳烤藍點馬鮫魚)

• Aged Squab in Black Bean Sauce (豉香熟成乳鴿)

Finale (終章)
• Superior Bird’s Nest with Loquat (賓川枇杷官燕)
• Braised Pumpkin (白水菜)

For drinks, we were served a refreshing floral tea to start and a white tea to accompany the meal. We also opted for the wine pairing which was impressive as it can be hard to pair for spicy flavors and ranged from European wines to Chinese wine and rice wine.

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