John Curtas is …

Something New at YUNNAN GARDEN

When we ordered Yunnan-style dried beef at Yunnan Garden (our town’s most excellent hidden Chinese secret off Schiff Drive off Valley View behind Spring Mountain Road), we didn’t know what we were in for. A dried-fried stir-fry? Shredded beef? Stringy meat?

Instead, what showed up was a pile of reddish brown, dry-fried, non-greasy, crispy chips, coated with hot chilies — tasting of beef and heat, but shaved into small rounds of crisp protein resembling thin, flattened jerky.

As with most things we order here for the first time, our initial impressions were: “Why has it taken so long to try this?” and “Goddamn this is delicious!”

We had the same response to the Chinese celery and (raw) potato — crisp, vegetal and bracing, and a nice foil to all the heat being brought by the beef and the dumplings in chili oil.

The thick rice noodles with dried tofu were nice and funky with flavors not recognizable to the Western palate, but fermented and firm and possessed of that slow warmth that builds from the inside out, the way Southwestern Chinese dishes do so well. Our theory is that the chili oil they use (and the oil in the chilies) coats your innards and raises the temperature of your entire alimentary canal, so that you leave this place glowing from within.

As we always do.

On a cold winter’s eve, there’s nothing better.

YUNNAN GARDEN

3934 Schiff Drive

Las Vegas, NV 89103

702.869.8885

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2 Responses to Something New at YUNNAN GARDEN

  • Well, this is just delicious. I especially like the pillowy white noodles with the spicy ground pork. And my nostrils are now clear after savoring the dried-beef and chilies through your review.

    I’m hoping my short trip in February will allow for a return trip back to Yunnan Garden. Thanks for the great report.

  • Tried Yunnan after reading this review. My wife and I enjoyed the lack of cornstarch cooking and better than most seasoning, but couldn’t get over the service. We arrived for an early dinner and were the only dinners for the two servers. The food arrived promptly and we never saw a server again. Even after finishing our meal, and looking over at an owner looking woman knitting in the corner, our leftovers sat waiting for someone to clear the table. I enjoyed the spicy, pepper laden chicken dish, but without a server to refill the water, I had to postpone full consumption until I got home.

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