- The pineapple and coconut flavours on the blue-hued drink gave a tropical vibe that helped tone down the spice on the palate.
- Next, we had classic Chinese dishes including vegetable noodles, vegetable rice, kung pao chicken, black fungus, and pok choi, served with the juniper berry blast iced tea.
It is my first dining out experience since Covid-19 struck. Well, eight months of eating at home, and I am craving a professionally whipped up meal.
I walk into Mr Yao Chinese restaurant in Nairobi’s Westlands. Soft Chinese music bellows from the speakers. I don’t understand the music, but I’m here for Chinese food anyway.
It is Saturday afternoon, and usually, the restaurant would be full, but now only a few tables are occupied.
I am shown to the tea room, a section of the restaurant peppered with potted plants. There are tens of teas to choose from. There is the popular green tea to more signature teas such as oolong, jasmine, moringa mangoliscious, yunnan ginger, turmeric cleanse special purple tea, and lots more.
I order a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, each meal was accompanied by a glass of iced tea. With my partner, we started with chilli beef wonton, cucumber salad, and chicken char siu bao dim sum, served with blue pinacolada iced tea. The chilli beef wonton is a delightful snack served on a bed of arugula and chicken char siu sauce.
A bite into the crunchy wrapper revealed a delicious beef filling, a dip of the slightly sweet sauce made these starters a favourite.
While I found the chicken char siu bao dim sums delicious, I wished the wrapping was thin. Stuffed with chicken, they were so perfect with the coriander and black pepper sauce. I wanted more. The pineapple and coconut flavours on the blue-hued drink gave a tropical vibe that helped tone down the spice on the palate.
Next, we had classic Chinese dishes including vegetable noodles, vegetable rice, kung pao chicken, black fungus, and pok choi, served with the juniper berry blast iced tea.
Our favourite? The kung pao chicken laced with red chilli and cashew nuts. It is highly addictive, it is crisp-tender, with the mouthwatering chicken pieces swimming in the most delicious silky sauce exploding with flavour. The noodles were thick and had a perfect balance with the crunchy vegetables. I found myself adding red chilli sauce to give it a bolder flavour. The vegetable rice, a very satisfying meal, accompanied the kung pao chicken perfectly. For the black fungus and pok choi, the palate detected flavours of toasted garlic.
The Chinese black mushrooms were crunchy. I added a dash of vinegar, and the vegetable dish came alive. The iced tea featured a blend of purple tea with juniper berries and strawberries. It was an indulgently sweet drink.
The dessert entailed melted marshmallows and hot brownies on a sizzling plate served with hot tulsi peach tea and oolong jasmine tea.
The tulsi peach tea consists green tea and tulsi leaves (holy basil) while the oolong jasmine was a balance between black and green tea with a fragrance of sweet jasmine.
The hot teas help to ease digestion.