Next week, Yin Yang turns 15. The traditional Thai restaurant holds fast to its antiquated décor but has withstood the vicissitudes of the Kathmandu gourmet in the last decade. Its impeccable service and dedication to quality have proven it to be a cornerstone of fine dining in Thamel.
Beneath a patchwork of painted parasols depicting herons and flora, tokens of East Asian art, the pillowed lounge sets up an excursion true to Thailand's prandial offerings:
Snacks. The sa-te chicken, a fan of skewers grilled and complimented by a definitive peanut sauce and cucumber-carrot relish, is standard. For something different, try the thod nam pla, a savoury favourite distinct from the flaky, battered cod cakes of Chesapeake Bay. The deep-fried patties are a street vendor's specialty and are meant to be on the salty side. So, be sure to order a side of steamed rice and extra chilli sauce.
Noodles. What's Thai without phad thai? Yin Yang's phad thai is a genuine mingling of stir-fried rice noodles, egg drops and tofu. Fresh bean sprouts and hints of lime balance the sweet and slightly sour play, while crushed peanuts and dried shrimps end the bite with a salted crunch.
Curries. The coconut-based pha-nang cooks tender slices of chicken, pork or beef in red curry and is ideal like most curries with a mound of steamed rice.
Desserts. Thai renditions at Yin Yang are sadly limited to bananas: fritters or poached in coconut milk. But both are equally delicious.
For sensitive buds, Yin Yang's preparations are spiced according to taste, and if that's not enough, a whole continental menu from start to finish is available. A full-course dinner at Yin Yang yields a hefty bill, but dishes are made for sharing.
Walk south from Kathmandu Guesthouse and turn right before the Third Eye