If you've been in Hangzhou long enough, you know in this beautiful spring, nothing beats heading to the wild west to sip some new Longjing tea and some down home country cooking. Yema Tea House, despite what its name directly implies, is not just a tea house. It's also a restaurant famed for its home style cooking. Yema's location on Santaishan Road, close to Hupao Road, where you'll find a big parking. Homestead Cafe is right round the corner. Through the trees, you find four big black Chinese characters - 叶马茶楼 - written on a white wall. The family-owned teahouse derives its name from the family's surnames, with the Ye coming from the maternal side, and the Ma from the paternal. Put them together and you get it; You figured it out already? OK, let's keep moving. The teahouse is very simply decorated. When we were there we opted for a private baoxiang on the 2nd floor. Our server was very knowledgeable and helped guide us through all Yema has to offer and made some very strong recommendations such as the Five Spiced Tofu 五香素鸡 (15RMB), a classic Zhejiang/Shanghai dish, followed by some quite large Fried Prawns in Soy Sauce 油爆大虾 (58RMB). Coming up next was arguably the fattest Deep Fried Ribbon Fish 酒香干炸带鱼 (68RMB), we&rsquo;ve ever eaten. We went to town on this one, and it was so good we ordered another. The Braised Pork with Quail Eggs 卤蛋烧肉 (48RMB), came in a sauce so good we all took down multiple bowls of rice soaking it all up. Eggplant with Black Bean Sauce 酱爆茄子 (18RMB) and Mapo Tofu 麻婆豆腐 (12RMB) are both delicious classics. All in all, our bill for four people came to 334RMB. Not too shabby. The menu, simply printed on a piece of white paper, is only in Chinese, but if you have a whole afternoon to kill, we suggest you get a table outside, order some tea, and enjoy some of the best food during the best season in Hangzhou. There's no Wi-Fi (Relax, you'll live.) and parking is available in the aforementioned parking lot at the rate 10RMB for one hour. It's a little known fact the famed director, Feng Xiaogang, loves the Yema Tea House and visits frequently when he is in town for work. Who knows? The next time you stop in for a drink you could be rubbing elbows with one of China's most prolific film directors. Maybe Ge You will be there too. He's always hanging out with him. How do you think he gets in all his movies?
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