Another new restaurant in Raffles City Changning. This time a high-end Yunnan cuisine restaurant finds its place in one of the busiest business districts in Shanghai that is famous for many good eating places around here.
The Joy For Clouds 慕云洱悦 took over the space vacated by ZhangShengJi 张生记, they did not even update the interiors of the restaurant. Went with the team for lunch, and it did not have enough big tables. I guess it’s small group dining that’s the norm for now. But we were offered a large table in the private room with a minimum spend, more about that later.
Yunnan Cuisine 滇缅菜
This is one of the least known cuisine for me. 滇缅菜 Yunnan-Burmese cuisine is an amalgamation of Yunnan 滇 and Burmese 缅. Sour and spicy are the common characteristics of the two, but there is a little more to Yunnan cuisine that involves the use of natural spices. Three of the province’s most famous products are the renowned Pu’er tea, which was traditionally grown in Ning’er; as well as Xuanwei ham, which is often used to flavour stewed and braised foods in Chinese cuisine and for making the stocks and broths of many Chinese soups, and guoqiao (crossing the bridge), a rice noodle soup with chicken, pig’s kidney and liver, fish and pickled pork.
凉拌米线 Rice noodles salad
Mention Yunnan cuisine, everyone would say 过桥米线 “Over the Bridge” Rice Noodles. But besides the soup version of the rice noodles, it is often presented as an appetiser with the 凉拌米线 cold rice noodles salad. Shredded beef, together with shredded cucumber, carrots, mustard green, radish and mixed with a sauce made with tomato, lime, fish sauce and a whole lot of spices and chilli. Finally everything is mixed with the noodles. Very appetising.
麻香脆根拌卤牛肉 Braised beef with spicy numb crispy roots
The beef brisket has been braised beforehand. The braised beef is sliced and then mixed with a spicy, numbing sauce with parsley roots and red onions. I never enjoyed a piece of beef cooked to the texture of leather.
缅甸风味凉拌青口沙拉 Burmese style mussels salad
This is similar to Thai seafood salad, except with less cabbage and vegetables.
生态竹筒牛蛙 Bull frogs in bamboo cone
The bamboo did nothing to enhance the flavours of this dish. The bullfrog was cooked separately and placed into the bamboo container.
傣族风味虾饼 Dai style prawn cake
傣族 Dai people are an indigenous tribe of Yunnan. The people of this tribe extended to Laos, Myamar, Thailand and Vietnam, forming a very unique culture and palate. Raw, fresh, sour, and spicy are the characteristics of Dai cuisine. So I have no idea how did deep fried prawn cake become a Dai style cuisine.
傣族烤罗非鱼 Dai style grilled tilapia
罗非鱼 Tilapia is a very common fish found in the waterways around the region, and it is a hardy fish therefore it can survive the harshest environment but not too delicious. They are typically marinated in an acidic sauce and eaten raw, or salted to produce a fish sauce, or in this case grilled and eaten with a special dip.
云南鸡枞菌炒牛肉 Yunnan termite mushroom fried beef
The highlight of this dish is not the beef but 鸡枞菌 termite mushroom. This species of mushrooms grow on rotten logs that have been infested by termite. The termite mushrooms have a stronger taste with higher nutrients. Used to be an expensive ingredient, but these days the Chinese have figured out how to cultivate them so the price has come down significantly.
宣威火腿炒松茸 Xuanwei ham with matsutake
宣威 Xuanwei is ranked up there with 金华 Jinhua for producing some of the best bacon and prosciutto in China. Xuanwei ham is made with local hogs that are salted and air-dried in the cold and dry mountain air around Xuanwei. But unlike the Italian and Spanish version of ham, they are seldom eaten raw. Typically the ham is sliced and sautéed with other ingredients, in this case, with in-season matsutake mushroom from Yunnan.
宣威蒸香肠 Steamed Xuanwei sausage
This sausage was used to be made from wild boars from the mountains of Yunnan. These boars have a gamey taste from their diet of forest mushrooms but their population was decimated by increased demand for their meat as the Han people gained a taste for these sausages. These days almost all Xuanwei sausages are made with farmed pigs and taste just like any other processed sausages.
竹筒饭 Bamboo rice
The best accompaniment with the sliced sausages is bamboo rice. Glutinous rice is filled in the cavities of the bamboo and boiled in water. The resulting rice is imbibed with the fragrance of the bamboo. Take a ball of rice and top a slice of sausage to made a little “sausage sushi”. Delicious.
清炒板蓝根 Sautéed radix isatidis leaves
The roots of 板蓝根 Radix Isatidis is a TCM medicine which is used for cure of flu. As the pandemic wore on, the leaves were collected and sold as a preventative ingredient against Covid. Not sure if this was true, but sautéed radix isatidis leaves tasted like sautéed choysum.
丽江风味水性杨花 Lijiang style sautéed kang kong
Lijiang is a beautiful area in Yunnan that is at the doorsteps of Shangri-La. Lijiang has its own culture, language and cuisine is very much influenced by Thai-Burmese styles. 丽江风味水性杨花 Lijiang style sautéed ottelia used prawn paste and chilli, and it tasted similar to our sambal kang kong.
I didn’t like the Chinese name 水性杨花 which stands for an unfaithful woman. But in Lijiang language, it stands for “purity” as 海菜花 ottelia acuminata can only be found in clean water.
石屏烤臭豆腐 Shiping grilled stinky tofu
石屏豆腐 Shiping tofu is so famous that it has its own website. Actually it is not like the stinky tofu from Changsha or other places. It is just a very special grilled tofu with crispy skin and a milk soft centre. Eaten with a dry rub spice dip or the local chilli sauce, it was similar to dry taugua (dry bean curd) that we are used to growing.
爆炒香脆莲藕丁 Stir-fry lotus roots
After a while, you would realise that the spices used for all the stir-fry are similar. So the flavour repeated, but the ingredients remained the same.
现烤鲜花饼 Rose petal biscuits
This is a unique eat that I have not come across before – a fresh toasted biscuit with rose petal fillings. It’s a sweet biscuit that reminded me of a rose syrupy flavour for its filling.
菠萝饭 Pineapple wild rice
Unlike the Thai pineapple fried rice where the pineapple is just the receptacle, this Yunnan pineapple rice used wild rice to be steamed with the pineapple. with the grains. Very healthy main course.
云南三七汽锅鸡汤 Yunnan steam pot chicken soup
Not a drop of water was used to produce this pot of soup. This special steam pot allows steam to enter to cook the chick. The process produces a lot of condensation that is retained in the pot. After prolong cooking, the soup extracts all the flavours from the chicken, leaving behind a really flavourful pot of chicken soup. They had not done justice to this Yunnan specialty and the result was rather watery.
普洱茶煮汤团 Glutinous rice balls in Pu’er tea
A local fermented tea leave, Yunnan Pu’er is sought after around the world for its bright colour and strong fragrance when boiled. Here glutinous rice balls with black sesame filling was cooked in the tea for a sweet ending to the meal.
It was lunchtime, and all the large tables were taken up except for the private rooms. There’s a minimum spend of ¥1,200 for the room, so I thought if we had 10 people, it would be quite easy to meet this minimum speed. Oh boy, was I wrong! 12 dishes later, we are still ¥400 short. As we were not having any alcoholic drinks for lunch, we could hardly inch towards the minimum spend.
The main reason why we were stuck was because some of the dishes we ordered were not available for lunch as it was not usual for a lunch crowd to order those. And then there were a lot of popular dishes that ran out of stock. The manager eventually gave us a mulligan as we closed the tab at ¥1,000. Not coming back anytime soon.
The Joy For Clouds 慕云洱悦
Tel : (021) 62776200
Date visited : Jan 2022