Slightly spicy, extremely fresh, and absolutely delicious. Yun Nan style cooking is one of China’s most famous and best tasting. Made with rich flavors and lots of unique combinations, Yun Nan cuisine is special in its own right and considerably different from other Chinese food. Yun Dian is a restaurant dedicated to bringing the best of Yun Nan cuisine to Taiwan. It is certainly unique, but how does this restaurant fare in terms of food? Read past the break to find out.
Yun Dian gets its name from and area in the Yun Nan province in China (雲南), along with the nickname for Yun Nan cuisine: “Dian Cai” (滇菜). The restaurant has tried to include some aspects of Yun Nan culture into the shop with bamboo decor, pictures, and handmade dolls. Furthermore, the staff scurry about in Yun Nan style dress. Although the design efforts do create a different kind of environment, they all seem rather unnecessary as most patrons just show up for the awesome food.
Although it wouldn’t be fair to call Yun Dian a fast-food restaurant, it is definitely a casual dining spot. The space only consists of one medium sized room, so people are constantly rushed in and out. However, it is still a great place to go with a group of friends, coworkers, and family. Just make sure you reserve a spot ahead of time because it gets extremely popular, extremely quickly during meal times.
Being in the heart of Taipei and sort of an “exotic” restaurant, we expected Yun Dian to be another overpriced, mediocre restaurant. However, what we found was the opposite. The prices at Yun Dian are extremely affordable and more than reasonable. A typical dish only costs anywhere from NT$100 to $200. Furthermore, the food was some of the best we have tried in Taipei.
Yun Dian’s main courses are a number of unique stone pot or noodle dishes that are rich in flavor and toppings. Some of the most popular orders are the Mala and Kimchi pots, or the BaiRou noodles topped with peanut shavings and a spicy tomato meat sauce (a sort of Chinese spaghetti?).
We loved all of the main dishes we tried, but the real winners at Yun Dian are the side orders. Yun Dian offers some really special dishes like “spicy papaya slivers” , a range of soups (Pumpkin soup is a big favorite), as well as red bean and mushroom buns. Everyone of these side orders taste amazing and come at a low price.
In addition to everything else, Yun Dian also offers some wonderful beverages such as fresh mango juice, lemonade, and a whole range of PuEr Teas (famous in both Yun Nan and Taiwan).
We have no idea whether the food at Yun Dian is authentic Yun Nan cuisine or not, but it’s also hard to say we mind. That is because the food is unique, inexpensive, and most importantly, tastes great. There are a lot of choices, and from what we could tell, everything was fresh and made with high quality ingredients. In the end, Yun Dian is a great place to eat everyday if you are in the area, or a suitable destination to meet with friends on the weekends. It is one of the most different and best tasting restaurants in Taipei, and a must-try.
Flip through the tabs up top for more pics and location. You can also head over to the official Yun Dian website.