Thai food with an international sensibility…
Long a favourite with local Chinese and Tianjin-based expats, YY Beer House (粤园泰国餐厅) is finally receiving some much-deserved attention. In March, a journalist from the Wall Street Journal surprised everyone when he named YY Beer House one of the top dining establishments in Tianjin. Despite the notoriety, this Thai restaurant continues to do what it set out to do 11 years ago: provide quality Thai food and international liquors in a fun and quirky environment.
Thai “comfort food” in Tianjin
Thai food is standard fare throughout America and Western Europe. In the US, the local Thai restaurant has practically supplanted the Chinese diner as the preferred form of Asian comfort food for many. YY Beer House capitalises on this trend by offering authentic Thai cuisine in a cosy colonial home that brings to mind a Thai restaurant in the US more than an eatery in Bangkok. The international beer selection (47 different brands currently available) and reasonably priced wine list have made YY Beer House a smash with the expat community. By 18:00 on a Wednesday night, seats were scarce. By 19:00 not a single table was left unoccupied. Those in the know reserve a table ahead of time. The owner, Mr. Wen Zhong, collects antique radios and maps, which can be seen throughout the dining area. The quirky design aesthetic, when coupled with the low ceilings and warm lighting makes one feel as though they’ve been invited into a close friend’s home for dinner. Judging by the popularity of the restaurant and the number of returning regulars, it would appear that YY Beer House does have a fair number of faithful friends.
I began my meal with a Tall Horse South African 2009 Chardoney. The Tom Yum Goong soup (28 RMB), was well seasoned with green Thai eggplant in both the young and mature states. Tom Yum Goong is a standard litmus test for any Thai restaurant, that must master the basics of flavour and balance before it can move on to more complicated fare. The Green Curry with chicken was good, though somewhat bland compared to the more popular Yellow Curry. My favourite dish of the night was the light and refreshing Green Papaya Salad (38 RMB). The light marinade of lemon, garlic and chili was a welcome change from the vinegar often used in cold Chinese dishes. Lemon juice has a fullness of flavour that really adds another level to the cold Asian salad. Another popular dish among patrons is the Fried Rice in the Whole Pineapple (38 RMB). Though the flavour of the pineapple can be tasted through the rice, the real impact of this dish is visual. Like the restaurant itself, it’s the fun presentation that makes the meal enjoyable. We finished our night with a nice Grilled Fish in Sweet and Sour Chili Sauce, bones removed (128 RMB).
Catering to the expat community
Every third Wednesday of the month, YY Beer House offers a special wine tasting for 100 RMB per person. The event starts at 18:30 and ends with a lucky draw at 20:30. The owner and staff of YY Beer House understand the international restaurant patron in a way that most Tianjin restaurants do not. This understanding has led them to create an intimate dining experience that would be ideal for a romantic date or a gathering of close friends. Go once and you may quickly find yourself becoming an old regular.
Service quality: very good
Food quality: very good
Price per head (RMB): 100-200
Environment: very good
Feature dish or menu: Tom Yum Goong
Add: 3 Aomen Lu, behind the International Building, Heping District, Tianjin
Tel: 2339 9634
This article is brought to you by Best Food in China (www.bestfoodinchina.net). Best Food in China is the first and leading English-medium website featuring reviews on food, cuisine and restaurants in China.
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Keywords: Best restaurants in Tianjin YY Beer House Tianjin review Thai food in Tianjin best beer selection in Tianjin
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