The creation of Szechuan food is a well practiced art, and from the moment you cross the trademark bridge over Long Yin’s Koi-filled pond you can rest assured that your meal is in the hands of the masters.
The well-versed waiters are not just interested in what you order off the menu, but also in your tastes in general – making for bespoke off-menu ordering potential – and all dishes can be broken down and explained if you ask.
Click here to win dinner for two at Long Yin
We kicked our authentic feast off with a round of dim sum, which, priced from Dh18 to Dh52 won’t break the bank, and our flavoursome Vegetable dumplings were cooked to perfection. As per tradition, dim sum was followed by starters, and we tucked into Chicken wontons and Spicy fishcakes as recommended by our waiter. Like your starters hotter than a Dubai summer? Try the Fried prawns with wasabi cream option.
As befitting a menu that boasts 117 different dish options, when it comes to mains you’re spoilt for choice, but here the Vietnamese beef, boasting steakhouse-quality meat in a thick spicy sauce is a filling standout, with the vegetarian Szechuan staple, Ma po tofu a fantastic dish for non-meat-eaters.
We opted for Sautéed prawns with snow peas and spicy xo sauce (which should be renamed ‘Gossip Girl sauce’, no? xoxo), along with Boneless crispy duck with shredded ginger and spring onions, for a pair of flavour-filled options that weren’t too heavy on the tum. Warned that we’d chosen a spicy dish when it came to the prawns, we can attest to the fact that the kick is enough to feel the spice down to your tips and toes. And thrillingly, the duck dish maintained its descriptive promised of ‘crispy’ even while sitting in a sauce – a feat many establishments simply can’t pull off.
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If you’re watching your weight in the run up to a planned festive season food splurge, then Long Yin has an extensive ‘healthy choices’ section within the menu – something calorie-counters will appreciate – and we highly recommend the Sautéed and sliced hammour with baby asparagus, for a filling treat that won’t blow the diet.
When it came to dessert, we were starting to wonder if another course would fit under our increasingly straining belts, so the waiter recommended a smaller sweet treat – despite the Ginger creme brulee semaphoring ‘pick me!’ from the menu – suggesting the Red bean balls. And while this in-house speciality probably wouldn’t have been my first pick, the crispy-fried balls with a sesame crust that turned up at our table were brilliantly sweet without being sickly, and boasted a slightly gooey interior which worked perfectly. Definitely the best way to finish off any meal at Long Yin – take our word for it!
Need to know
Restaurant Long Yin
Location Le Méridien Dubai
Tel 04 217 0000
Tasty trio: Szechuan and Cantonese
Location Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi
Timing Daily, 6pm-2am
Tel 02 690 9000
For a lesson for your taste buds in contemporary Chinese cuisine look no further than Hakkasan. The elegant and modern Emirates Palace restaurant will dazzle you from the moment you glance at the cocktail list – don’t leave without trying the Kumquat Mojito – to the serving up of the dishes by the famously efficient staff. The menu is stuffed with classics, each with their own ‘Hakkasan spin’, and we love the Jasmine tea-smoked Wagu beef.
Location Mina A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai
Timing Daily 12pm-3.30pm, 7pm-12am
Tel 04 366 6730
As if the peaceful waterside location wasn’t enough to entice you into Zheng He’s, the menu guarantees to satisfy even the most distinguished of palates. For an authentic dose of China make sure you order their signature Jiaozi dim sum – delicious dumplings stuffed with minced pork and spring onions – with the Wasabi prawns with black pepper a standout dish on a menu celebrated for the quality of its seafood dishes.
Restaurant Szechuan Palace
Location Ramada Chelsea Hotel, Al Barsha, Dubai
Timing Daily 12:30pm-3pm, 7pm-12am
Tel 04 501 9000
This authentic Chinese restaurant is a popular choice for diners looking for delicious Szechuan cuisine. Without a doubt the dish to choose is the Steamboat, a Chinese fondue-style dish that allows diners to stew their choice of meat and veg in a stock, resulting in a flavoursome, bespoke soup. And although Sezchuan Palace boasts a traditional decor, they’ve remained on the right side of the trinkets fence.