Fri, Sep 30, 2005 - Page 15 News List

Restaurant: Yunyuan 雲源

Address: 8, Ln 265, Dunhua S Rd, Sec. 2, Taipei (台北市敦化南路二段265巷8號)
Telephone: (02) 8733 3477
Open: Lunch 11:30am to 2:30pm , dinner 5:30pm to 9pm
Average meal: NT$650 for two
Details: no English menu

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

Great Yunnan fare at good prices, at Yunyuan.

PHOTO: GAVIN PHIPPS, TAIPEI TIMES

Three years ago the Yunyuan (雲源) was a pokey little joint tucked away in a back alley close to the junction of Nanjing and Jianguo roads that served great Yunnan fare but didn't look that inviting. All that changed two years ago, however, when its owners decided to shut up shop and move to a more up-market locale.

Now located on Anhe Road, behind the Far Eastern Hotel, the joint's proprietors couldn't have chosen a more illustrious neighborhood in which to move. In keeping with its new surroundings the Yunyuan's once drab interior has been transformed into something resembling a high-end eatery rather than a spit-and-sawdust dive.

Large glass facades allow for plenty of natural light and the interior design itself is simple yet stylish and comfortable. The only problem is the amount of space available for diners. Be it lunch or dinner the joint is hugely popular and as such the restaurant's dozen tables mean that the number of patrons who can frequent the Yunyuan at any given time is limited.

For those clever enough to either book ahead of time or beat the rush, then they are in for a real treat, as the fare served by the cooks is certainly some of, if not the best Yunnan food to be found anywhere in Taipei. A visit to Yunyuan won't break the bank either. With the exception of the seasonally priced fish dishes, which cost roughly NT$400, individual dishes cost no more than NT$200 and an average meal for four or five people will set you back a mere NT$1,300.

Although there is no English-language menu and the staff speak no English the Yunyuan's owners have been kind enough to affix photographs of all the dishes so non-Mandarin speaking patrons can still enjoy a sumptuous meal.

The menu is packed with everything from sinus-clearing spicy vegetables to winter-warming steaming soups. Some of the joint's most popular dishes include the spicy Yunnan beef, which is deceptively fiery and not for the fainthearted, plus the fantastic and addictive Yunnan chicken with bamboo, pork and tomatoes. If you are in a quandary in regard what to order then the staff will be more than happy to point you in the right direction or, as is the case with this reviewer, simply surprise you with an array of dishes of their own choosing.

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