Here in Melbourne, chances are, you've devoured Shandong-style seafood, sweated it out over spicy Sichuan eats and tucked into Cantonese classics. But perhaps you're not quite so well versed in the melting pot of flavours synonymous with another, oft-underrated Chinese region, Yunnan.
Well, that's all about to change, now that newcomer Naxi Folk has opened its doors on Glenferrie Road. Named after one of Yunnan's centuries-old ethnic groups, the warm, bamboo-filled eatery is flying the flag for this lesser-known culinary region, which pulls its flavour inspiration from across Myanmar, Sichuan, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos. Naxi Folk is also embracing Yunann's traditional banquet-style dining experience, so expect long tables, a group-friendly vibe and a menu that begs to be shared.
The all-day food offering is big on flavours you won't forget in a hurry. Breakfast features sweet and savoury Asian-inspired creations, and standout coffees, while a lunch and dinner go-to, the Hand Grab Plate, features a big sharing basket filled with various barbecued meats, house-made pickles, vegetables and fruit.
Other highlights include Da Su beef noodles loaded with brisket and roast mushrooms, crisp chicken spare ribs in a Szechuan-style pepper caramel sauce, and a Chinese burger featuring shredded pork belly inside a Yunnan bread pocket.
Diners keen to soak up yet more of that Yunnan culture can enjoy traditional tea cupping ceremonies on Friday and Saturdays, led by staff in authentic, bold-coloured Yunnan dress.
Naxi Folk is now open at 723 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn, from 7am–10pm daily.