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Taste-bud nostalgia

By Fan Zhen  (China Daily)

10:12, September 07, 2012

Wild dabbling duck and matsutake soup (chinadaily.com.cn/Fan Zhen)

There are some dishes that capture the heart with a first taste, when titillated taste buds trigger off a sentimentality for that instantly warm fuzzy feeling. That's what happened with a very special dish at the Yu restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton Beijing. With one taste, I felt at home.

It was not the décor that won our hearts, although the restaurant is set in an airy, bright space filled with the warmth of wood. It is calming and refreshing, but when you start eating, it all fades into the wallpaper.

In the presence of a surprisingly well-made duck and Matsutake soup, tunnel vision sets in.

Everything else in the room might as well be invisible as the world narrows down to a gleam of clear duck broth topped with thinly sliced Matsutake. It may look rustic, but the sophistication is all in the details.

Even before the first sip, the sweet and woody fragrance of Matsutake tantalizes, signaling comfort and indulgence. The first spoonful confirms the glorious interplay of the fresh mushrooms, wolfberries and duck — all expertly seasoned and with their original flavors intact.

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