It is no secret that Yunnan Chinese cuisine has hit New York. One restaurant heralding this regional wave is Tribeca's Lotus Blue. A quick glance at their menu reveals some of Yunnan's culinary signatures: heavy doses of herbs (think dressed up chrysanthemum salads), refreshing flavors (lemongrass grilled ribs and sea bass), and sweet surprises (imported Yunnan candied plums and olives). But if you are looking for a show-stopper, look no further than their Crisp-Fried Red Snapper ($25).
At first glance, it appears that they simply deep-fried a whole red snapper and slathered it with a sweet and sour chili sauce and fresh herbs. But poke around and you'll see that this fish has already been de-boned, and the meat fried into manageable bites. Each piece is perfectly crispy—no grease here!—and the piquant chili sauce builds heat after consecutive tastes. Sure, steaming this red snapper would have been healthier, but by frying it and presenting it this way, the entree becomes as easy and tasty as fried food gets.