Yin Yang, the Year of the Pig and Chinese New Year at Yauatcha Soho
February 4, 2019
Yin Yang. That cool symbol of balance that became a patch my childhood friends could buy to sew into their denim jeans in the hippy area of 90’s Berkeley, California. Yes, Ying Yang patches and navel piercings inspired by Alicia Silverstone’s star moment in Aerosmith’ Crazy music video were the cool trends of my childhood.
Now as a burgeoning adult (maybe), I am a sole female business owner of a lifestyle PR agency JPR Media Group where women’s issues, the fight for equality, a voice, simple human rights in many parts of the world is a high topic of conversation.
If I looked at it from what some consider a strong feminist perspective – Yin Yang is actually not cool. The deep meaning and connotations throughout many years of Chinese philosophy, whether we are deriving its definition from Taoism, Confucianism, or many other centuries of translations, Yin Yang portrays the feminine aspects (Yin), as broken, shady, cold, passive, yielding, diffusive whereas the masculine aspects (Yang) are bright, strong, active, solid, focused and warm. Well, that’s great!
Even though this Yin Yang philosophy became so cool that people started using it flippantly without knowing its meanings, its origins are rooted in sexism that makes women seem the dark cloud which these positive active strong men rule over which is why the men under Confucianism ruled as they inherently had the superior qualities of the “Yang” to do so.
Now that we cleared that up, we are entering the year of the earthly pig (Hai) which happens to be the Chinese zodiac animal I was born into (however, my birth year falls into the “water” pig). A symbol of wealth, this 12th zodiac sign is being celebrated this year. With five different elements (wood, fire, earth, gold and water) – this the year of the earth pig which is “communicative, popular among friends, with a strong sense of time keeping)” according to China High Lights
Yauatcha is celebrating the year of the pig this Chinese New Year with a delicious 11-dish menu for £60 per person for a minimum of 2 guests. If you live and work in central London, this is a steal. With high-end London Chinese restaurants offering simply 1 Peking duck with pancakes for £100 alone, this £60 menu of 11 glutenous dishes is a great offer for anyone looking for a premium feast.
What’s great about Yauatcha is that it works with your dietary and health requirements so if you have any allergies or require gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian options – please speak up and they will create a bespoke menu to fit your needs. I have no requirements albeit I prefer steamed rather than fried and I am in love with a Yauatcha dish they also serve at their sister restaurant Hakkasan which I ordered a la carte – the prawn and bean curd Cheung Fun (delicious).
I started my Chinese New Year menu with an assortment of delectable dim sum – spicy scallop dumpling, wild mushroom dumpling, prawn and chicken Shui mai and two venison puffs. A great fan of scallops and venison puffs, I would say those were my favourite dim sum pieces. The venison puff especially was sweet and flaky.
My prawn and bean curd Cheung Fun came which I adored. With a soft homemade flat noodle-like pancake wrapped around fresh prawn and bean curd soaked in a sauce, it was delicious. I have had this time and time again at Hakkasan Mayfair for its set lunch menu.
The two dishes came next were good but not to my liking as they were both fried – the Crispy monkfish cheek with enoki mushroom and salsify and the homemade prawn tofu with seaweed and water chestnut. I prefer raw seafood and am not a fan of tofu but both the tofu and monkfish were cooked well. Usually with a cooked fish dish, I prefer it as simply as possible like a fresh piece of cod or sea bream with brown butter, and butter. Otherwise, Japanese sashimi specialities like Chu-Toro, O-Toro or Uni are my favourite.
Back to my Chinese feast – for my 4th round of savoury dishes, I was served the steamed freshwater prawn with chilli, the Peking style pulled pork with golden mantou, Szechuan three style mushrooms and sticky rice with Chinese sausage were served. The prawns were seasoned well and the chilli gave it that punch. The Peking style pulled pork was not to my liking – I prefer a larger cut of pork with a crispy skin and the fat.
Yauatcha prides itself in its beautifully made desserts so a delightful visual treat was the Mandarin matcha choux, sesame, mandarin compote and orange Chantilly served at the end. Not too sweet and very light, this dessert would please many palettes.
At Yauatcha, you get premium level dim sum served at a good price. If you are looking to celebrate Chinese New Year but don’t want to splash out, go to Yauatcha for a great deal that will fill you up.
Written by Jessica Patterson for Luxuria Lifestyle International