Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Jai Yun Report, Really.

Four more days 'til my annual Japan trip! Holy moly, it's going to be busy, busy, busy for the next few days. I leave on Sunday, and guess what I have to do on Saturday? No, not shop for souvenirs. W-O-R-K. Sigh...

Anyway, on a lighter note, I'm finally getting around to writing about Jai Yun, a reservation-only, prie-fixe-only Chinese restaurant in San Francisco. I really had no idea what to expect, and since I really wanted dried abalone in my course, I asked the Papa Bear to call them and ask for the course with abalone included. I have heard so much about how absolutely delicious dried abalone is in the hands of an expert Chinese chef, so I was really hoping to see that one the menu, no matter how small the taste may be...

The meal started out with three small plates of cold dishes - appetizers, if you will. Then, it came, and came, and came, and came until our entire table was full of small bites of carefully prepared samplings - a bite of this, a bite of that. There was something crunchy, something soft, something vinegared, something salty. It was a whirlwind tour of flavors!

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The parade of cold dishes may have been the highlight of my meal, although the hot dishes certainly weren't a disappointment in any sense of the word. The extent of variety continued to amaze me, as dishes after dishes made its way from the kitchen to our table.

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I was a little bit surprised to see seaweed that was very similar to mekabu in a Chinese dish. I didn't realize that Chinese cuisine also utilized seaweeds like we do in Japan. Because I love the texture of seaweed - a firm bite without being chewy or tough, I found this dish to be very pleasurable. The radish provided a refreshing juiciness lacking in seaweed, while the meat sauce provided the punch a dish needs to satisfy.

jaiyun

What impressed me about Jai Yun's sequence of dishes was the planning itself - a light dish followed by a heavy dish, a dark sauce followed by a clear sauce, a spicy dish followed by a tame dish. Vegetables alternated with dishes heavy in meats to provide for a constantly stimulated meal. I was introduced to a variety of new Chinese vegetables, but unfortunately, none of them come to me now...

Part II of the Jai Yun meal will be posted tomorrow... I'm sleepy!

1 comment:

The Papa Bear said...

I've had limited exposure to Chinese cuisine (my maternal side is Chinese) and I know that some Chinese dishes also make use of seaweed that's similar to mekabu.

Vietnamese cuisine also makes use of various types of seaweeds, but not as extensively as Japanese cuisine does.