Sunday, October 3, 2010

yun nan 168 makes my tongue sweat

sometimes i like walking around with a sign hung around my neck announcing that i'm "the roaming belly, a glutton for punishment." i mean really, who freakin' suffers 113 degree freaky l.a. heat during the second to last week of september and then turns around to eat a spicy, sweat induced meal at night? me, that's who. me. hi, my name is the roaming belly and i am a glutton for punishment.

not wanting to be a debbie downer when my second family suggested yunnan cuisine for dinner, but after hearing how spicy it can get, i must admit, i got a little nervous. in fact, as we pulled into yun nan 168's parking lot, i got a whole lotta nervous because i was worried i'd be dead by the end of the meal.

but the gustatory sight that awaited me placated my fears. even if i couldn't eat anything on the menu, i can at least sample all of these chili oil lacquered cold dishes. man i love this stuff!

we first started off with a cold plate combo (three items for $4.20) of pig's ear, beef tendon, and blanched potato sticks.

the cold plates were so good that we went back and got another plate, this time with tofu strings, sliced chicken livers, and marinated cucumbers. I LOVE THIS STUFF! i loved the subtle heat from the chili oil and all these components were straight up prepared dang well here...the best prepared cold dishes i've tasted by far.

then the parade of spicy food came to town. first up was their stir fried lamb ($9.95) which was supple and silky, an after effect of bathing in cornstarch first which is a trick used often in a chinese kitchen. the flavors were spicy as expected but definitely delicious. as i ate, i carefully collected all the ginger, garlic, and peppers on my plate to avoid a spicy death.

the noodles in chicken broth ($5.25) offered a nice reprieve from the heat. cool and soothing to the tongue, this broth became the safe cellar that i ran back to after the unrelentless tornado of of spices on my tongue.

the twice cooked cured pork in brown sauce ($9.95) was another hit at my table. though not as spicy, the heat was still present...fear not.

the bamboo fungus chicken hot pot soup ($16.95) reminded me of my childhood when i was forced to drink medicinal soups to correct my "inner heat." if not for these traumatic experiences, i would have appreciated the floral notes that infused this soup.

and finally, the graveyard of spices. do take particular note of the black peppercorn looking thing on the right. actually, it is the prickly ash pepper and if you bite into one, you will immediately feel a numbing effect on your tongue. it also releases licorice notes as it numbs your tongue. strangely addicting i must say.

so overall, i am happy to report that yunnan cuisine did not kill me. in fact, the barrage of spiciness that i expected was actually more like numbing heart burn on my tongue. although i had to get use to the oiliness of the dishes due to their generous use of chili oil, i was 100% happy with my meal. in fact, i'll be coming back real soon, yah hear?

Yun Nan 168
1530 S. San Gabriel Blvd.
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 280-7688

price: $$
verdict: omg, i love it!


  1. As I get older, my intestines get weaker. :(

  2. Dude! This place looks awesome. Can we lunch here sometime? Preferably when it's over 100 degrees.

  3. sharon- it is soooooooo good though!

    cathy- let's go! 100+ degree weather or not, i'm totally craving those cold plates and some of that prickly ash. yum......

  4. wow.. you are a brave soul... LOL 100+ AND spicy? shit, i woulda fainted!!!

  5. helen! you're can eat fire. come on now....

  6. I think the only thing this weak sauce stomach could handle are those chicken noodles! You are a much stronger woman than I, Ms. Roaming Belly.

  7. diana- i am weak sauce too! the heat wasn't too bad!

  8. Revelation: I have never had cold salads at Chinese places. But, I will! Really. I must.

  9. marie, you would love the heat from the cold plates, yes you will.


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