A couple days ago, Sherry and I went to a stone barbeque restaurant called “Old Yard Barbeque” in Dali and enjoyed a special and fantastic meal.
Stone Barbeque, just as its name suggests, is a fun and traditional way of barbeque by placing raw food on a flat stone with a stove under it. In the “Old Yard Barbeque” restaurant we went to, marble is used as the grill platform and charcoal fire is placed under the white marble in order to warm the marble to approximately 120-220 degrees Celsius (248-428° Fahrenheit). This temperature satisfies the conditions to prepare well-cooked meat while ensuring the customers can enjoy the fun of DIY. A fun thing to mention is that marble in Chinese is actually called Dali Stone because Dali is famous for their frequent use of marbles.
The overall appearance of the “Old Yard Barbeque” restaurant can be said as a style of primitive simplicity. It is a two floor building that is based on an old Bai nationality house. Each floor can accommodate around 20 tables and nearly every table was filled up when we were there.
(Photo by “Old Yard Barbeque” webpage)
Except for the stone platform, another special feature of the “Old Yard Barbeque” is the way they prepare their raw materials for barbeque. Compared to other barbeque places we went to before, “Old Yard Barbeque” preserved their dishes ahead of time according to the natural flavors of each raw material.
The meat is usually salted with a variety of sauces like soy sauce, sesame, onion powder, allspice, chill powder, Sichuan Pepper, and so on. Together, the spices give customers novel experiences with the well-selected meat from the plateau area in Yunnan.
In regard to the dishes, I would say most of the food served is pretty satisfying. Some dishes we had included beef, shrimp, mushroom, potatoes, tofu, egg & onions, and lettuce.
One of the surprising dishes is the “Sad Little Eggs”, which is quail eggs within an onion. As shown in the image, the waiter will help to put tiny quail eggs within the sphere bounded by the onions. It’s fun to watch through the process and taste of this dish obtains the natural flavors of eggs while having a fresh smell of the onions.
Another fun dish is the “Fire Shrimps”. The waiter would put cooking alcohol on the stone plate, and adjust the charcoal fire to the highest capacity for around 3 minutes, when the shrimp become perfectly cooked for every nook and cranny of the shrimp has been taken care of. This shrimp gives this dish a natural sweet and umami taste, while the soy sauce, pepper, and onion on it add an extra satisfying thrill to the customer’s tongue.
A pro of the “Old Yard Barbeque” is its novelty on their dishes and forms of barbeque. However, it also has some cons. Firstly, the restaurant gives people a little greasy feeling as too much oil is put on the stone plate. The high temperature on the stove makes the oil splash everywhere. Sherry’s backpack is one the victims of this.
Therefore, for anyone who wants to enjoy this meal, remember to ask the waiter for a small apron or your clothes will be destroyed. Another con of this restaurant is the strong flavors of food. Like mentioned before, to get a better taste of the ingredients, lots of spices are put on the meat, and this might be a concern for people who enjoys milder tastes of food.
Overall, I would recommend the “Old Yard Barbeque” for anyone who wants to have a novel experience in barbeque. The appearance of the restaurant is not that sophisticated, but gives out a feeling of natural pleasure. The food quality is relatively good as well compared to other stone barbeque restaurants we went to before, and some of their novel dishes like the “Sad Little Eggs” and “Fire Shrimp” are worth a taste.