IN the last five years alone, the number of restaurants offering Yunnan cuisine in Shanghai has skyrocketed. And as the quantity has increased, so, thankfully, has the quality.
Increased competition means that new businesses invariably have to raise their game. No longer does enjoying a Yunnan meal involve sitting in a hole-in-the-wall café with strip lighting and a TV blaring in the corner.
And Lan Na, which has just opened above the recently renovated Cocina on Dongping Road, is no exception to this trend.
It’s pretty hard to imagine a more expat-friendly location (with a whole host of famed eateries only a stone’s throw away) and Lan Na is definitely aiming for a more upmarket clientele.
我们难以想象什么地点能够比Lan Na所处的地点更加适合外籍人士——餐馆的周围设有一系列著名餐馆，而Lan Na正是面向高档市场。
The space is light and airy with a couple of second-floor balconies, and no expense has been spared on the décor. With regards to the menu, the provenance of most of the kitchen’s dishes is the north of the province, meaning there is less of the South East Asian influences found in many Yunnan restaurants.
A typical example is the Lijiang Premium Termitomyces Salad (35RMB) which despite its insect-sounding name is based around a type of mushroom indigenous to the region (many of Lan Na’s dishes are staples from the numerous ethnic minority groups in Yunnan).
Also worth ordering is the Ha Ni Inspired Chicken (56 RMB) with its profusion of delicate spices and herbs. Pork lovers are also amply catered to with two particular standout dishes: Dali Inspired Braised Pork (88RMB) and Banna Inspired Flame-Grilled Pork Belly (65RMB).
And what Yunnan menu would be complete without its own version of mashed potato, the Lan Na variety costing only 35 RMB and containing more of a spicy kick than your average plate of mash.
On the fish/seafood front two highly recommended dishes are the Dai Inspired Char-Grilled Tilapia Fish (69RMB) and the Baked Prawn (95RMB).
And for a post-meal libation you need travel no further than the Cocina bar downstairs where Japanese-born head barman Jarvis is happy to cook up (sometimes literally) all manner of weird and wonderful cocktails.