Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pork Pump at Yu Garden

Over the summer, I posted about the pork pump at the Shanghainese restaurant Wok and Noodle. In the comments, Tony C., the inimitable SinoSoul recommended the pork pump at Yu Garden in San Gabriel. It takes me a while to work up to a pork pump, so I took some time, but did manage to head their recently.

For those who don't read Chinese, it can be a little tricky to pick out the pork pump on a menu. At Wok and Noodle, it's "degreased and braised boneless pork leg shank." At Yu Garden, there were two potential items. One was, I think, just labeled braised pork and the other was House Special Braised Pork Shank. I went with the shank, which turned out to be the pork pump.

This was a great pork pump. Occasionally, the meat inside the pump is a bit dry, but in this one, it was moist and fully flavored by the sauce, which had really permeated the thing. The fat was rich and sticky, and after the meat was gone, it was pretty hard not to just eat the fat and skin. On the whole, I liked this pump better than the version at Wok and Noodle, as the whole thing really came together more. I'll have to try it against some of those classic pork pumps that I haven't tried for a while.

While the pork pump was great, and they did a very nice pork fried dumpling, most of the rest of the meal was lackluster. The xiao long bao were dry, with very little broth and the skins were tough. The pickled napa and pork soup was bland, and the scallion pancake was too greasy.

This is a pork pump place, and it would be wise not to wander too far off the menu.

Yu Garden
107 E. Valley Blvd. (just east of Del Mar)
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 569-0855

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