From the booths of Cravings, the scaffolding of the ongoing construction at their new venue in the burgeoning Longfusi complex is visible through the open door. Inside, more arrays of metal poles extend from the walls, but rather than a temporary solution, these are an aesthetic choice that also happen to support the posters that proclaim fish and meat are to be had in this quick-but-quality Yunnan joint.
Though significantly smaller than the Chaoyang Park location, this shop keeps the green alligator mascot as well as the peppy yellow theme that is sure to brighten the mood. Right around the corner from the new WeWork, it’s a great spot to grab a decent bowl of rice noodles with Yunnan grass root in a spicy chicken broth (RMB 30/38) for lunch. Those wanting extra protein can add a plate of the crispy pork belly (RMB 42), which we found to be just the right level of salty, or shoot for the Yunnan classic of beef with mint leaves (RMB 48), picked from their own potted mint plants.
The standalone vegetarian options are hardly enough to make a meal out of, but there are a few meatless sides are on the menu, like the cooked vegetable bowl (RMB 28) and the wrap-steamed needle mushrooms (RMB 32).
It’s not the fanciest Yunnan restaurant – customers order at the counter via staff are more than happy to answer questions about the menu – though neither is it a bad spot for a casual date. A bottle of white wine (RMB 235 a bottle) could pair with the spiced fried fish, for instance, should you need to heighten the ambiance.
In contrast to the original location, which is more of an experiment in Asian fusion where one can choose between stir-fry or bagel and lox, Cravings at Longfusi has leaned into the southern-style, providing a selection that is less wide-ranging but knows exactly what it is.
Daily, 11am-2pm; 5-10pm. 95 Longfusi Street, Dongcheng District (5338 3750)
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Images: Joey Knotts