Da Jiu Jia, which means 'life saver' in Putonghua, has opened on Sai Yeung Choi Street, home to mom-and-pop pet stores and the Mong Kok wet market. Its owners spent about HK$1 million revamping the premises to 'reflect the tastes of the neighbourhood's new generation of diners', according to Fish Retail Solutions, the company responsible for the design. The main dining room, which seats 25 to 30, plays with modern-antique fusion - purple leather chairs are paired with Chinese dark wood tables with ornate brass handles. Private rooms are available on request. The eatery specialises in Yunnan cuisine. The province is the home of mai seen, a bowl of savoury rice noodles that resemble thin spaghetti. Chef-owner Huang Wei Zhi, who is from a family of chefs in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, points out the region has 25 minority tribes and as many types of regional spec-ialities. Huang imports most of his ingredients from his home province, using indigenous plants, spices and herbs that cannot be found on the east coast of China. The Dai Jiu Jia menu is divided into mai seen, small dishes and snacks, and servings are modest so diners can sample more flavours. For a cooling summer dish order the starter of three kinds of shredded root vegetables (HK$28) flavoured with star anise, Sichuan peppercorn and tsaoko fruit. The restaurant's namesake is a colourful mix of vegetables, egg, tomato and sliced rice flour cake (below; HK$30). The 'demon chicken' (HK$45) comes from the Dai tribe, which has strong ties with Thai culture; it's made with black chicken that's simmered in broth, cooled and mixed with sesame oil, fresh lime and regional herbs and spices, including wild coriander, chilli pepper and cucumber. For the summer months, the drinks menu is focused on herbal teas that have cooling properties such as cold barley green tea (hot HK$12, cold HK$15), wild honey tea (HK$12/HK$15) and a jelly drink made from the seeds of a highland plant and rose sugar (HK$15/HK$18). Da Jiu Jia is at 107 Sai Yeung Choi Street, Mong Kok, tel: 3580 5932.