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Garlic Shoots at Kuishimbo and one good thing at Tengu

Jerome | Apr 28, 2004 05:35 PM

First, went the other day for lunch at the valley Kuishimbo (the other is on Wilshire near Wilton). On the wall they had a sign, stir-fried Garlic buds. These are more properly garlic shoots. I first had them years ago in the PRC on a train. I thought they were the best asparagus I'd ever had (stir fried with some places of meat) and asked what the dish was called. The operative term was "suan miao" garlic shoots.
Little bit of natural history. When you plant a clove of garlic, the plant sends up green shoots and as they dry out the bulb develops underground. When the shoots are still young, they have the texture of very young asparagus with a pronounced but subtle garlic flavor. They stir-fry up great.

I've seen suan miao as such on chinese menus around town, but they just use western leeks which aren't the same AT ALL and say oh that's the western suan miao you can't get the Chinese ones here. Well, of course you can. We grow garlic and these are the shoots (I'm sure there's a difference with varieties but c'mon). Anyway, there were only a few Chinese restaurants that had the real stuff (one was on Fairfax across from Canters and the owner grew his own) but in season Kuishimbo has them. They're lightly stirfried and served with a soy-based sauce from the wok. Very tasty.

Second, went to Tengu. Not a huge fan, wasn't very hungry (obv. not alone) and the kitchen is very fusion oriented. The sushi bar allows you to order food off the menu as well, which seemed like the better stuff. The crazy rolls didn't interest me (tried a bit of one and was proved correct) and some sushi I ordered was sub-par, the spanish mackerel was eaten as an act of mercy since the poor creature had given up its life. The flounder from Japan (sole?) was decent as far as texture went. The maguro was tasteless. HOWEVER, the uni hand roll was fantastic. If I went again, I would certainly get the uni hand roll one more time (or as many times as it took me to fill up as I didn't really like the other stuff all that much).

14622 VENTURA BLVD #207


LOS ANGELES (don't know if they have the garlic "buds" yet, I ate at the Valley one)


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