when i think of pasadena, i don't think of eats. i think of robin's egg blue boxes, apples, and old ladies thinking they will be forever 21. but an invitation from diana brought danny and my belly out to pasadena for a media tasting at yujean kang's gourmet chinese cuisine which promptly changed my mind about what i can eat in pasadena...and how much food my belly can actually hold...oh dear!
first off, i can eat yujean kang's crispy tofu rolls with chicken and mustard greens. the tofu skins had a slight chew to them when fried and are not similar in texture to fried egg rolls. in my heart of hearts, i wanted to believe they were healthier because of the tofu skin. yes?
the shrimp and garlic chives dumplings wrapped in traditional wheat starch skin. the dumplings looked like little doves nestled in their bamboo nest and will perch nicely on your pair of chopsticks before taking flight into your mouth.
the four season dumplings was another yummy appetizer. each pocket was filled with a different ingredient; chopped celery, tomato, wood ear mushrooms, and egg which offered a distinctly different taste based on the orientation of your bite. fun.
yujean kang's hot and sour fish chowder was absolutely AMAZING. this version was tangy, tart, and chunkalicious with fish sans the neon brown look that most hot and sour soups are known for. THIS is the perfect soup to nurse a cold or to accompany any meal. i want to go back for more!
and chomped on their sauteed jumbo prawns with smoked diced black cod. this dish was well seasoned and the smoked diced black cod was an addictive addition. i used my expert chopstick skills to pluck each and every piece of diced cod before inhaling my prawns.
another stellar dish was their slow cooked pork belly with tofu knots and dark mustard greens. the unctuous nature of the belly and the sweet notes from its caramelization brought just enough savory/sweet decadence to my scoop of fluffy jasmine rice. delicious and a must order!
their spicy scallops with glazed walnuts (normally prepared with prawns), was delightful to eat. each piece of glazed walnut from this dish was like the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae because of the delightful burst of sweetness.
mei gan which is a dried, spongy veggie. an interesting texture for the mouth and a definite first for me.
then we partook in a hot cup of tea, asian style with the cup cap and all to keep the contents hot. the best thing about eating at chinese restaurants is the soothing cup of tea to wash all the food down.
and before i knew it, i indulged in their delicious dessert plate; mandarin orange cheesecake with passion fruit sauce and red bean pancake with coconut sauce. each bite had the perfect balance of sweetness and was a wonderful way to end our meal.
yujean kang's chef/owner kept true to traditional chinese flavors but was thoughtful in tweaking certain aspects of his dishes to make even someone like me who grew up on home cooked chinese meals rather interested in coming back. and with a huge wine list, i'm DEFINITELY coming back.
Yujean Kang's Gourmet Chinese Cuisine
67 N. Raymond Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91103
verdict: tasty, try it!