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Oct 14, 2007 10:31 AM

Looking for "jai" in chinatown

I'm dying to find this dish I grew up eating in San Francisco and I'm hoping those familiar with Chinatown here know where to get this. We call it jai in cantonese and it's basically vegetables and tofu all cooked together, and is traditionally eaten by monks in china. One particular type I love is a combination of eight ingredients called "Lo hon jai"

Can anyone please help me get my jai fix?

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  1. Amazing 66 and Cantoon Garden both have 羅漢菜 on their menus. I've never tried it so I don't know how well they make it. Most restaurants here with menus in English call it "Buddha's delight" -- giving it a promotion, since there were hundreds of lohans (sort of Buddhist saints) but only one Buddha.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Brian S

      Thank you! I'll have to check it out at these places.

      I'd love to find a place that really specializes in this. My fear is that sometimes when I find it listed at restaurants where it is not a specialty, it tastes more like plain old stir fried vegetables. I love the vegetables to be really soft with lots of tofu skins and mushrooms and wood ear...delish.

      1. re: lchang

        Yuen Yuen at 61 Bayard is a very inexpensive place with lots of "over the rice' dishes, as well as herbal tongsui, and now with cooler weather, some Chinese tonic, and stews. A friend turned me onto their Luo Han Zhai, which actually had plenty of Fu Zhu (reconstituted tofu skin sticks), a nice brown sauce (not glop) that might even have some fermented soft tofu in it, and I'm not sure now, but I want to think that there's glass noodles in it.

        Right around there though, OK, a street down, on Pell, is the Veggie Dim Sum house (the one on Pell is better than the one on Mott) that has more specialized vegetarian dishes.

        Edit: just wanted to add, that, in some places, you increase your chance of getting a nice Lohan Zhai with the good stuff if you order a vegetarian clay pot dish.
        I know what you're talking about, though. A good Luo Han Zhai in my mind always has nice plump black forest mushroom, Fu Zhu, glass noodles, gingko nuts, and those tofu skin wheels that's been deep friedn and then tender from soaking up all the sauces in the stew. ...might have to be home made...

        1. re: HLing

          Any other recs at Yuen Yuen? I've enjoyed the rice clay pot dishes.

          There seem to be a lot of medicinal-type dishes listed in Chinese on the east wall. I've always wondered about those.

          1. re: squid kun

            I've never tried it but I think they are famous for their snake and turtle soups, which are indeed listed on the east wall.

            I didn't know they had clay pot dishes on the menu.

            1. re: squid kun

              i seem to recall that their beef chow heh fun had good "wok" flavor.

              Everytime i tried to order rattlesnake soup they are not available, or out. I haven't tried some of the other medicinal tonic, like old hen gingseng soup type of item which i often see in some Korean places as well.

            2. re: HLing

              thank you HLing! sounds like you know exactly what i'm looking for. i'll check these places out.