Clap for Chow Mein

by | Mar 10, 2011 | Food and Drink, Johannesburg, Melville and Surrounds | 4 comments

August 2016 update: Yasuqi Cuisine is now closed.

Every now and again, dinnertime rolls around and Joe and I realize there’s nothing in the fridge except Grapetister and mouldy cheese. This discovery can mean only one thing — cheap Asian grub night.

Yasuqi Cuisine in Melville.

The food at Yasuqi Cuisine (just off 7th Street on 4th Avenue) is not the best I’ve ever tasted. But the friendly staff, low prices, and quirky atmosphere make up for the humdrum menu.

Photo courtesy of Joe.

The middle portion of the restaurant has regular tables and chairs, where you can sit and watch Chinese music videos on the TV above the door. Joe is not a fan of the videos but I find them mesmerizing. Imagine various Chinese women, singing various Celine Dion songs in Chinese, with soft lighting and handsome Chinese men in the background. Pretty much all the videos are like that.

The restaurant always looks empty because no one sits at the tables in the middle. The prime real estate is along the sides — at the sunken booths surrounded by lattice-work and plastic greenery. You climb in, slide the doors closed, and suddenly you’re in your own private funky Asian cave.

Our cave. (Photo courtesy of Joe)

The most interesting part of the Yasuqi dining experience is the method for getting the waitresses’ attention.

An artistic rendition of me shaking a Chinese clapper. When you’re ready to order, or you want another drink, or you’re ready for the bill, you shake the clapper (it makes an incredible racket) and the waitress materializes in seconds with a dazzling smile. I was embarrassed to do it at first, but then I got hungry and realized no one would come until I clapped. (Photo courtesy of Joe.)

A closeup of the clapper. Made in China, of course.

Yasuqi serves Japanese, Chinese and Thai-style dishes. The sushi is actually quite good.

Every time we eat at Yasuqi I seem to order this flaming wok of “Thai” curry as my main course. I’m not sure why, as the curry is bland and the flames are hot and kind of scary. It’s like this curry has cast a spell over me. I’m determined to stick with sushi next time.

Mediocre food aside, we always leave happy and we keep coming back. It’s a fun place to eat. I rate Yasuqi 4 claps out 5.


  1. Kathryn McCullough

    Ah, yes, I saw plenty of those music videos when we lived in Vietnam. They are kind of fun, aren’t they!

    Sounds like a great place to eat, and I love the photo of the feline high-five at the end. I’ll give this post 5 claps, Heather——–

    Hugs from Haiti,

    • 2summers

      Thanks! I tried taking a pic of the TV playing the videos but it didn’t come out. I’m sure there are Asian restaurants in the US that play those too but I had never seen them before.

  2. Rebecca

    Grapetiser, mmmm! Discovered that in SA. Love the clapper idea – although I think I would have been like you, a little reluctant to use it at first. But then hunger would have got the better of me!

    • 2summers

      Seriously, Grapetiser is the best. I’m drinking one right now.


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