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Update on Szechwan Home, Union City

Melanie Wong | Dec 15, 200203:39 AM

Last week along my route to the bridge, I spotted Szechwan Home on the corner of Alvarado Niles and Decoto Rd. Already a big fan of the local chain’s two San Jose locations (formerly House of Yu Rong), I was delighted to have stumbled across the Union City site.

While I had hoped the menu of Sichuan specialties would have been translated into English as the south San Jose location had promised, not here yet. However, one of the young women was patient in figuring out what my fractured “restaurant Mandarin” and requests in English were. I ordered dan dan mian (tan tan noodles) for dining in, and a bunch of things to go.

Our signals still got a little crossed – two dishes were served to me that I’d wanted as take out. But it turned out to be for the best, as these were the most delicate and I had a chance to have a little taste of them at their peak and let them cool down before being boxed up. One was recommended by the server when I asked for a non-spicy milder dish - a yu ding type of preparation of tiny cubes of delicate white fish sauteed with a confetti of diced green and red sweet peppers and grass mushrooms in a light clear sauce, and the whole thing smothered with pine nuts. When my brother tried the leftovers later he commented that this was an entry-level fish dish, i.e., it’s boneless and no chopstick skills required. Some may find it on the bland side, but we liked the balance, textures and sweetness of the pine nuts contrasted with the fresh and clean taste of the fish. The qing jiao tu dou si, expertly toss-cooked firm threads of potato and bell pepper, was not on the Chinese menu but my server asked the kitchen if it could prepare this dish. Fortunately this was possible because the results this time were even better than either of the San Jose locations – just the right amount of salt, less oil, crisper texture. My brother agreed that this one shined when he had the rest a few hours later.

The dan dan mian had irregular width chewy noodles with plenty of heat and Sichuan peppercorns. But there was an out of place tartness. The versions tried at the two San Jose locations were superior.

The two take-out dishes were shui zhu rou pian (water cooked pork slices) and hong yu shui jiao (dumplings in hot spicy oil). This pork dish has become my favorite, many thanks to Charlie T for telling us about it. The version here was consistent with the other locations. The dumplings didn’t quite make the grade with too thick wrappers and the sauce lacked the complexity of the fine version at the Bark Lane location.

Has anyone else tried more of the menu here?


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