From Portugal to China

Flowers in food? That was my reaction when the waiter placed my meal on the table.

The way the food was decorated, it looked so surreal I thought it was just a table decoration. The use of colour was out of this world; a mixture of green, orange, yellow and black.

Yang Tze Restaurant is home to mouth-watering Chinese food. The restaurant is nestled at Hidas Centre in Klein Windhoek. It is one of the only two Chinese restaurants in Windhoek but the only Chinese restaurant, which offers Shang and Yue styles of cuisine.

Shang type of cuisine is comprised of the spicy Chinese food, which is usually eaten by those from the cold parts of China while Yue style of cuisine generally focuses on the sweet and sour tastes.

They also offer seafood; something to do with them having been brought up in the coastal side of China.

One can see that tradition is very important to the Chinese people given the restaurant’s interior decoration.

On the walls hang paintings show the Chinese way of life; women and men planting and harvesting rice. Some of the paintings on the walls have orchids and Chinese scribbling on them.

The most spectacular of the decor is the ceiling, which has gold dragons with a maroon base.

Their menu comprises of food with reasonable prices ranging from N$12 to about N$100. There is provision for take-away menus too, which the owner says has given him the most business so far, selling between 250 and 300 portions of take-aways daily.

The restaurant gets most of its products from China while some products like chicken and beef are sourced from here.

It is designed in such a way that there is a 10-seater private room for those who prefer exclusivity.

We went through six sample dishes; a squirrel fish, which made my eyes pop out and my jaw drop when it was placed on the Lazy Suzy (a rotating table); garlic crispy ribs (sweet and sour pork); chicken garlic sauce; traditional eggs; fried rice and beef as well as fried noodles were also part of our experimental cuisine spree.

The way the Chinese dine is very different from the way other cultures dine. They do not use forks and knives because their food is already cut, hence the use of chopsticks. Looking at the bowls that diners use as plates, one wonders whether or not it is possible to get full.

I was given a crash course on how to use chopsticks, which is not as easy as it looks.

With so much food available, I did not know where to start because everything looked so appetising. I then decided to start off with the fish, just to really make sure it was fish, because the way it was decorated, anyone would have had doubts.

A blend of spices gushed out in my mouth, bringing out the sweet and sour sauce tastes like a bursting bubble. I was now so eager to taste the other dishes but before I did, I had to ask if everything on the plate was edible of which they were.

Turns out the flower used to decorate the food was made by one of the Chinese in-house chefs at the restaurant. He uses carrots to make the flower and from the looks of it, one would need very extensive training to come up with something like that.

The crispy garlic spare ribs, which had been dipped in a carrot paste and sprinkled with garlic, were also some of the highlights of my lunch at Yang Tze. I always thought that all noodles tasted the same but their homemade noodles taste totally different in a very good way.

After struggling with the chopsticks for a while, I then decided to go back to my roots and use a fork. I struggled to try and finish the food but I couldn’t, so I decided on a doggy-bag.

Before leaving the restaurant with my doggy-bag, I was sceptical at what I would be carrying home as I’ve heard before that the Chinese pack dog or cat meat for their diners, which was not the case. Many people have a notion that that is what Chinese food is all about but they don’t know what they are missing.

For those who appreciate art and have curious taste buds, Yang Tze is the place to be. They have even modified the menu to cater for meat lovers with a wide range of meat products. PF