"China's rich and diverse cuisine has been celebrated with devotion at You Yi since 1991 by Shanghai-native chef Zhou's skillful hands."
"Li Mei Yun entertains the guest with candor,exchanging stories from back home with regular customers"
"The house also serves as a meeting point dfor the local Chinese community, as they enjoy some of the best dishes from Yangzhou, Guangzhou, Sichuan and Shandong."
A journey that began over 30 years ago
The immigration wave sparked by the great Chinese diaspora of the 19th century carried out for quite some time over the following years. That's how in 1987 young chef Rong Zhou and his wife Li Mei Yun - influenced by a few friends who had already left - decided to embark on an adventure that would forever change their lives.
They arrived in Brazil without speaking a word of Portuguese and established themselves in Porto Alegre, RS. The beginnings were extremely difficult. There was no Internet, mobile phones, and neither most of the tools that ease the way to making newcomers' lives more adjustable. Especially for such different cultures. They relied only on the help of a couple of new friends who had paved the same journey a little while before them.
Zhou - now with the adopted western name Claudio - started working in a local Chinese restaurant while his wife, now Lígia, worked selling Chinese pastries. They worked as hard as they could for 3 years to acquit their travel debts and still managed to save some money to open their own restaurant. That was how You Yi (meaning friendship in Mandarin) was born.
The first 10 years were hard work. There were quite a few Chinese restaurants in town, but all served some kind of adaptation or buffet style system. You Yi's differentiated itself by being as true as possible to the Chinese tradition of cooking and serving: a la carte system with top quality ingredients and prepared the way dishes were idealized back in China.
It didn't take too long for the local Chinese community to find out about this new link to their beloved cuisine. News started to spread about the place and by the end of the 1990's the restaurant was already a meeting point comprised of a lot of regular Asian immigrants as well as Brazillians.
The recognition came in the 2000's with the celebration of several prizes, including Best Chinese Restaurant by Veja magazine in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008. And also nomination for Best Chef by the same magazine in 2008.
A story still under construction
Zhou participating in a culinary challenge in his native Shanghai
First appearance in Zero Hora newspaper
As the restaurant gain maturity, locals came to love You Yi's cuisine
The recognition: winner of Veja magazine's award for best Chinese Restaurant.
Second recognition from Veja magazine
Mais uma conquista: terceiro ano eleito Melhor Restaurante Chinês pela revista Veja
Honored to be runner up for best Chef category
Claudio Zhou and his famous specialties, the pot stickers. A Shanghainese treat.
Lígia and her passion for Chinese teas