So, what was I to make of JTYH in Rosemead? Sure, there's a subtitle on the sign facing the street that read Heavy Noodle II, but even that didn't prepare me for the FPIMM (that's an acronym for 'Fun Party in My Mouth ;)
Perhaps you remember the flying noodle at Hai Di Lao. Those are hand pulled noodles, done with flair. JTYH offers up knife shaved noodles. The chef takes his hand made dough and kneads and forms it into a thick log. He then takes a knife to shave slices into boiling water. Picture a card dealer flicking cards in the air. The noodles fly through the air in an arc, then splash into the water. Once fished out, the noodles can be served cold, fried or dry braised. I had them in the popular Stewed Beef Soup. The large bowl was crowded with those toothsome noodles, tender beef, fresh spinach with a little garnish of pickles. The broth has a satisfyingly strong beef flavor. Umai!
Another satisfying dish was what's called on the menu, House Combination of Vegetables & Chicken. This cold dish reminded me of the Japanese hiyashi chuka. There's house made glass noodles, graced by shredded chicken, matchstick cucumbers, scallions, egg and cloud ear fungus, a sort of gelatinous There's sesame and mustard sauces on top. Toss together for a delightful mix of flavors, fresh texture and crunch.
Some Yelpers complain that the JTYH Beef Roll doesn't come with enough meat. But I thought the combination of the chewy, flaky pancake wrapped around a layer of sliced beef, a schmear of hoisin and lots of cucumbers was balanced, gave me the right amount of umami, crunch and freshness with a light touch of sweetness to make me very happy.
To get my spice on, I gladly grabbed a spicy lamb rib. The dish comes with the ribs practically buried in dried red chiles. The chiles are fired in the wok first, then the lamb ribs go in along with other seasonings and a finishing touch of chile oil. There's not much meat on each rib, but that's what makes the ribs so umai and so fun. Pick up a tiny rib and nibble away the meat and sinew. Give this one an ummmmmmmmmmai.
A fun dish for the kids is the Mooshu Cat ears. Don't worry, you will find Pig ear with spicy oil on the menu. But these cat ears are ear shaped noodles, kind of like an orecchiette, but thicker and chewier. They're seasoned and wok fired and then topped with an eggy pancake with meat and strands of black cloud ear fungus. Even if you're little one doesn't want the egg topping, the little pastas are yummy and chewy and easy to stab with a fork or one chopstick, if they prefer.
Another housemade specialty is the fried and steamed buns. We watched as the chef kneads the dough, pulls off a small wad, to flatten and roll into circles. He then adds the pork/scallion filling and turns the blob into a white orb with a pretty folded top. Its been barely more than a minute and he's made ten apple sized pork buns. They're fitted into a skillet with water and a little oil. As the water cooks away, the top of the buns steam and the bottom develops a golden, crisp lattice.
Go ahead, pick up the bun with your hands. Dimi Lu who is a former employee at JTYH told me to take a bite like it's a hamburger. The bottom gives a satisfying crunch, while the top is soft and spongy. The filling in contrast is hot, juicy and yes, umai with a sigh.
Bring a big crowd with you to dine at JTYH. The servings are good sized, but the prices are modest.
Oh and about the restaurant's name? I asked, but no one could quite explain the four letters. Is JTYH an acronym, I asked. Maybe, I'm told. Oh, wait, Stephanie from the restaurant exclaimed. "I think the Feng Shui master chose the name."
So, what the heck. Here's my own explanation of the acronym. Joy Tummy Yummy Happy!
9425 Valley Blvd.
Rosemead, CA 91770
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