Mark Hiew (more chengdu)|
There are a handful of Sichuanese restaurants that receive almost too much of the foreign community’s patronage, and far too many deserving alternatives that continue to go without. Tiantian is such a place, but not necessarily to their loss, though they’re certainly not suffering from a lack of patronage.
Friends invited us out to Tiantian one mundane weekday evening, but even then, despite arriving late, we knew that this was no ordinary local hole-in-the-wall. Located just off of Renmin Nan Road on a quiet road leading into Yulin, is a small, though not overly cramped space that is Tiantian. The number of round banquet tables suggested to us that they’re comfortable accommodating bigger parties. The wait staff was patient and responsive and ordering from the Chinese menu is made easier by its abundant, full-color pictures.
The food is, across the board, excellent and inexpensive, arriving speedily and with the masterful gleam of perfectly prepared, fresh ingredients. The menu carries an extensive collection of meat and seafood (around 20-40RMB each), as well as a good range of cooked and cold vegetable dishes (7-20RMB), and ranges from standard Sichuanese fare to more unique offerings. The cashew chicken combines lovingly tender chicken cubes with delightfully crisp (yāogǔo jīdīng) dark green vegetables for 25RMB. Favorite vegetable options include the crispy tofu (cùipí dòufu) swimming in a sea of tomato sauce (18RMB) and fish-fragrant stuffed eggplant. For a cool, lighter green, make sure to order the lettuce with sesame paste (májiàng féngwěi) for a scant 8RMB. So, next time you’re heading to that same old ‘local’, mix it up, and make it out to Tiantian for a delicious but not unfamiliar meal out.