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Yin Ron Image (Kunming, China)
Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Spring Volume: 2012 Issue: 19(1) page: 25-26
This Muslim restaurant in Kunming is, we are told, one of the best Halal restaurants in this city. Convenient to several universities, no more than one or two bus stops away, it is one of the cleanest restaurants we ever visited, also one of the most tech savvy. However, we were not savvy enough to get its English address and Arabic we do not read. Our order was taken and almost immediately transmitted by walkie talkie to the kitchen. Clean dishes are kept in sanitizing cabinets, service plates are changed frequently, and everyone at the table gets their napkins in boxes untouched by human hands.
For those who need to know more about Muslim food, be advised there are a plethora of restaurants in Kunming, quite a few of them are Muslim. Some are specific to one or another of the twenty-four main minorities living in the Yunnan Province including the Hui, the largest Muslim group here. The Muslims have lived in China for about fourteen hundred years, most coming from what was then caller Persia.
When in doubt, the Chinese government and the Chinese people call all Muslims Hui, but there are many other ethnic Muslim groups, most with smaller populations. Muslims in China make up some two percent or about twenty-five million people. Some ten minority populations in China practice the Islamic faith; most are Sunni Muslims, and most live in Western China; lots in Kunming and the rest of the Yunnan Province. Muslims pride themselves on eating only Halal foods and, therefore, are forbidden to eat pork. Practicing this and other Muslim beliefs in Chinese is called eating qingzhen cai.
At this Muslim restaurant, we enjoy a bean curd dish with many green vegetables. It arrives served on a metal grill plate, a cold beef dish with a sesame paste sauce, and one of their roast chickens with garlic flavor which really does tempt, arrives on plates from the sanitzing cabinet. The chickens are hanging behind glass in the kitchen area. We also have a cold mint dish with sauce, and a roasted snow pea-leaf dish tossed with pine nuts and slivers of hot peppers.
However, we return the cold mint dish as it is too salty. The waitress calls a supervisor to explain, she whisks it away, no questions asked. For the record, it never appears on our bill. Except for this returned dish, all the food is most tasty, somewhat seasoned, albeit somewhat bland. The service is crisp and most professional, and all the food arrives looking lovely and tasting likewise.