Yuet Ben Liverpool
Translating as “welcome honoured guest”, the Yuet Ben is the oldest Chinese restaurant in Liverpool, setting up shop in 1968 at Chinatown’s 29 Great George Street, a stone’s throw from its present premises and in view of the famous Chinese Arch, the biggest outside China.
Behind the establishment is Yuh Ho Yau, who was born in Yantai in eastern China’s Shandong province and crossed the Bohai Sea to Dalian aged just 16 to learn his culinary skills. Before settling in Liverpool, Yuh Ho worked in restaurants in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York, and now the Yuet Ben is run by his daughter Theresa and her husband Terry Lim. Specialising in Northern Chinese cuisine, they keep the menu at Yuet Ben scaled down to ensure super-fresh dishes – from the sweetcorn (crab or chicken) soup and appetisers such as spicy Sichuan cucumber and crispy quarter duck with pancakes to the lamb and leeks or king prawns, spring onions and ginger. There’s a choice of accompanying rice, including the Yuet Ben special fried, as well as Singapore vermicelli and chow mein noodles. A popular option at Yuet Ben since the get-go has always been the banquet or sharing menu, with variations on dry barbecued spare ribs, beef in blackbean sauce and chicken with cashew nuts. There’s a separate vegetarian menu, which shares the likes of pickled rainbow vegetables, spring rolls and savoury triangles, but also offers deep-fried aubergine along with shredded tofu and pancakes as starters; with mains including “Three delicacies” – braised tofu, bamboo shoots and Chinese mushrooms – and “Three precious jewels” – braised tofu, broccoli and carrots.
The desserts have caught our eye with banana or pineapple fritters, ice cream and golden syrup and glazed toffee fruits (a choice of apple, banana or pineapple), but maybe we’ll have the crepes with mandarins and Cointreau.
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