• One of Spring Yunnan's rice noodle soups with stir-fried tomato and pork mince. (Instagram)Source: Instagram
Rich, saucy noodles and sea snails are just two reasons to come to Spring Yunnan.
By
Jonathan Ford

14 Dec 2017 - 2:42 PM  UPDATED 14 Dec 2017 - 2:46 PM

For those who are searching, Yunnan cuisine is scarce in Sydney. This is surprising: the region’s population is double that of Australia’s and sits against several influential Chinese food cultures. And not to mention the fact that the far southern Chinese province has 26 ethnic groups (16 of them indigenous) and straddles the borders of Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.

Yunnan-born owner Bruce Yang previously operated a Sichuan restaurant in Eastwood but wanted to focus on his roots, so he opened Spring Yunnan with his wife, Cindy. "We love Yunnan and we want to share the good food of the region with our customers," he says. 

Because Yunnan is next to Sichuan, more than two-thirds of Yunnan dishes come from that region. "I'd say that the characteristics of Yunnan cuisine are a moderate balance of sour, spicy and sweet,” says Spring Yunnan’s floor manager, Alex Chong.

Braised whole fish with Mapo tofu is a Yunnan speciality.

First off, spend some time worrying about the tea. There's an emphasis on pu'er, a fermented tea made from a dried brick that is endemic to Yunnan. There are also herbaceous and fruity blends to choose from, like the floral and date tea.

Seafood is unashamedly eye-catching, like the sea snails, but much different to French escargot, Spring Yunnan's snails are tossed with leafy greens in a salad, retaining their sea-fresh taste. The braised barramundi is also a good share option: it lies on a huge plate of fermented rice and mapo (a thin, oily tofu soup).

Sea snails are tossed with leafy greens in a salad.

Spring Yunnan's show-stopper is the rice noodle soup. A Yunnan classic, the hotpot is a large bowl of steaming seasoned pork and chicken broth served with a rainbow of sides, providing the most satisfying DIY experience. Start by tipping the quail egg into the soup and swirling with your chopsticks until it hardens. The noodles, veggies and tofu go in next, before the meats: pork, chicken, prosciutto and fish. It’s called guo qiao mi xian, or 'crossing the bridge' noodles, but the name's origin isn't clear.

Hotpot arrives with DIY sides including prosciutto and quail eggs.

For something a bit more Sichuan, there's the indulgent basket of deep fried chicken with dried chilli pieces. Hint — it's a delicious partner to the lao gan ma fried rice with prawns.

For dessert, the paluda drink with coconut, ice cream and jellies calls to mind the Indian cold drink faluda. There's also the wildly complementary shallot pancakes with vanilla ice cream, which can also be ordered as a main.

The interior is an added bonus to the experience, with colourful furniture, ornate light fixtures, a beautiful mural on exposed brick and location shots decorating the walls.


 

Spring Yunnan is open daily, 11am to 2:30pm and 5pm to 9pm.

215 Thomas Street, Haymarket


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