"Hero, please come take your seat!"
That's just the beginning at this Lujiazui sub-brand of the crazy popular Gui Man Long brand, which specializes in marinated dishes, personal hotpots and all kinds of gimmicks.
Half neon and half traditional Chinese tavern, blasting techno remixes of traditional Chinese songs, it’s just your standard issue over-the-top 21st century in urban China restaurant, loudly shouting gender-specific, old-fashioned greetings at everyone.
Cheng Yao Jin, who the restaurant is named after, was a hero. The famous historical figure was a lucky general in Tang Dynasty folk tales. He was simple-minded and reckless, and said to have lived to 100 years old. He’s everywhere in this restaurant, from animations of him having fun with sexy ladies in a hot tub or him floating in outer space in an astronaut suit. Above, a giant LED sign exhorts you to “live a self-indulgent life like you’re drunk or in a dream” (醉生梦死).
When talking about Yao Jin's gimmicks, it's hard not to get carried away. But they are trying equally, if not harder, to make the food and drinks appealing.
Despite Gui Man Long's Hangzhou roots, most of the food here is heavily influenced by Cantonese cuisine, with claypot rice, marinated dishes (lu shui) and a menu of 12 cocktails themed after different Chinese cities. At 38rmb, what they lack in execution, they make up for in savings. Is it gimmicky? Sure, no doubt. But Yao Jin is a fun attempt at being ridiculous, and makes a great place for late-night snacks, bathed in neon and history.