No reservations: a tasty piece of Yunnan in Jing'an
Hu Ma is a modern Yunnan restaurant that is sparing with decor and color without emphasizing the ethnic flare from the province.
The first impression of this airy, open-plan space on the first level of Jing An Kerry Center Tower 1 is somewhat Nordic with a striking porcelain art piece hung in the middle of the restaurant.
The seating arrangement is unique as well. A large round table is placed in the center for communal dining and can accommodate around 20 people. There are also tables for two to four people and an open kitchen for a close-up view of the chefs.
The contemporary Yunnan cuisine concept is created by the same team behind Bloom, the fusion restaurant on Tongren Road. They don’t take reservations and most evenings are packed. It is frequented by young locals thanks to the buzz on the social media.
The dishes here are rather creative and elevated compared to the usual Yunnan dishes. Portions are smaller but presented beautifully to please your eyes.
The menu comprises of appetizers, fry plates, a barbecue section, and noodles and rice. For two, I recommend a few small plates plus two choices of delicious rice noodles for sharing.
I started with a refreshing appetizer Citrus salad. One usually doesn’t associate a citrus salad with Yunnan flavors but the charm lies in the dressing made of the chili sauce made by locals in the province combined with fresh mint and pine nuts.
Three kinds of orange are used featuring natural sweetness and acidity with different layers. The mild spicy dressing gives it a savory kick.
I chose the barbecue pork belly slices from the barbecue section. The recipe is inspired by a trip to the industrial city of Gejiu in Yunnan where an old railway station inside the city has been transformed to barbecue market. And the people there likes to dip their barbecue skewers into fine powdered sugar. If you don’t like the powdered sugar, they provide another sour, savory sauce as well.
Yunnan-style rice noodles, noodles and rice are popular among foodies. Hu Ma offers six options from beef rice noodle soup, small-pot rice noodles to beef tongue and porcini noodles and rice.
They claim the soup base are healthy without any additives.
Opening hours: 11am-2:30pm, 5pm-9pm
Address: E1-08, Tower 1, Jing An Kerry Center
Average price: 150 yuan