[San Jose] Chef Z's 海哥川菜馆, Sichuan and Yunnan Eats

Out of curiosity I looked up Li Rao to see what she’s up to now. Looks like she’s not in the food biz any more. LOL maybe you can entice her to join the meal if this meal materializes, and provide ‘color commentary’.

I would be interested if I can make the time. Would be also interested in his thoughts on the other new Yunnan 575 eatery in Saratoga.

Oh cool. When I have a bit of time, or next time I get tofu, I will ask him to see if he can craft a menu that includes grandma’s potatoes for perhaps a table, assuming there may be more interest on the Yahoo lists later.

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Hi Sampson, I’ve been socializing the Yunnan banquet you mentioned recently and I can get 6 people there, providing I can share a representative menu of this particular cuisine.

I was particularly interested in the use of mushrooms, I’m a big fan of mushrooms and would truly enjoy dishes that have been prepared by a chef knowledgeable about the variety of mushrooms currently available. (I was at the Saratoga Farmers Market again last week and am so impressed by the variety of mushrooms sold by Far West Fungi.)


Great! I was debating whether to give them a call or show up to talk to the chef about the yunnan banquet, and I was thinking that showing up in person would be better and less confusing since he’d remember that I asked about the meal.

So today I swung by 575 Yunnan for lunch, then went to Chef Z to talk to the chef afterwards. I asked him to write a Yunnan menu for a table. I didn’t specify the number of people, but I figure between here and the Yahoo list we should find enough people for a banquet table.

I didn’t specify the dishes other than @tm.tm’s potato dish. He’d said he’d make at least one mushroom dish, and said sourcing is time consuming, and suggested that if we have good sources for mushrooms we can bring the mushrooms a day ahead so he can prep the mushroom and get rid of the soil. Since I didn’t have a chance to talk with any of you there, I told him to go ahead and write the menu without mushroom constraint and we can think about how to get them later.

He suggested friday, saturday and sunday evenings are better times for such a meal. These days schools out, and it is slower for him.

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Sounds good to me. The Saratoga farmers market is every Saturday. We can get the mushrooms to him on a Saturday and have dinner Sunday. Can you share a translation of his menu? That’s a request I make without understanding the complexity of the question… Let me know what you think.

I haven’t gotten the menu from him yet. I will share when I got it.

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I can’t really imagine it’d take that long to prep the mushrooms. Unrelated but I got some morels this week, not from Far West, and its clean after a few rinses and shaking in the water. I am a little lucky this time though.

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Agreed, fresh mushrooms are typically easy to clean. Especially if they are farmed. Morels, my favorite, are a little challenging as they’re both wild and hollow. Assuming you bought yours, where did you find them? And, finally on topic, what kind of mushrooms can we bring to this chef? Can you please ask when you have the opportunity?

I bought it at the Japanese veggie stand at the Cal Ave Farmers Market in Palo Alto last week. I don’t think they forage the morels themselves, which they said its from around Yosemite, but some other mushroom farmers that partners with them.

I sent the chef the Far West Fungi link and said those are typically the kind that are available around and asked him which types are suitable for Yunnan food. Haven’t heard back yet.

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Here’s the selection today at the Japanese stand. Far West has its usuals.

A guide to Yunnan mushrooms:

I think I may have seen matsutake at FW. For the rest, only he’d know what are the good local substitutes.

I still haven’t heard from the chef.

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The Japanese stand at which market?

Palo Alto Cal Ave.

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The chef said last week that he’s in the process of writing the menu.

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I live in Redwood City & would love to join in. I’ve never tried this type of cuisine before & it sounds exciting. I also don’t mind heading to the farmers market at San Mateo College to look for good mushrooms-I just don’t know which varieties to buy. Any day of the week is fine with me.

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We don’t either, until the chef names the mushrooms. Don’t know why its taking a long time for the chef to write up the menu. I guess running an eatery is busy!

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I was told by one of us that the chef was quite immersed in watching World Cup. I talked to him on the phone Of all the obstacles between us and a banquet, I would have never thought World Cup would be it. I guess I have to show up and demand him to write me a menu on the spot.

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Here’s the menu. More info in English about the dishes here.





Please RSVP to the banquet by going here. Thanks.

After last year’s great Yunnan multicourse banquet, I finally made it back to Chef Z for a small meal this weekend.

Looks like the chef had an updated menu. I asked him what new Yunnan dish he had on the menu and he immediately pointed to the Stir Fried Shredded Pork with Pickled Cabbage,

which is exactly what I ordered after studying the menu some more. It was a good dish. Savory strips of pork intermingled with loads of tart pickled cabbage, mild chiles, red chiles, green sweet pepper, etc. The balance of flavor was just right. My wife, who was nursing a sore throat originally didn’t plan to eat anything spicy that day, couldn’t resist and approved. Previously I kept telling her the chef got skills and she was skeptical. I think this dish converted her.

I happily ate the leftover for lunch the next day.

Since the kids couldn’t eat spicy, I asked the chef what chicken dish he could whip up that’s not spicy. He said he just made a batch of ginger scallion chicken. I got half of it. Good yellow feather chicken cooked with aromatics with fragrant green onion on top. I didn’t care for the dip on the side, but happily eat the chicken on its own.

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