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Jan 11, 2014 10:51 PM

Sichuan/Yunnan Cold Table Items

A few questions:

- Is it OK in these restaurants to only get cold items? Some friends want to do a crawl of various places, mainly focusing on the cold table offerings, but I was unsure if that would be allowed.

- Which places are generally regarded to have the best quality and/or largest selection of cold items?

- Chengdu Taste appears to have the most buzz lately, but since I see no apparent mention of the usual cold appetizers, does it even have a cold table?

Thanks very much.

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  1. Get whatever you want to eat. The restaurant staff may look at you funny, but they ultimately won't care if you want only cold table items.

    1. They might wonder why you're only ordering appetizers, but otherwise no problem. I've seen a couple get two plates of cold table items and split them, with tripe being the only duplicate.

      Yunnan Garden on Las Tunas and Yunnan Restaurant on Garfield (formerly Yunkun, Yunchuan, etc.) have the widest array of cold table items. Most items, most variety, etc.

      No cold table at Chengdu Taste.

      7 Replies
      1. re: JThur01

        Yeah, Yunnan Garden is probably the best bet.

        I've actually done what the OP is asking before, but I've also asked for some rice.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          I've done so too. I just tell them I only want(ed) a snack and that I'll order an entree next time and follow up that way. Easier to get away with when dining solo :-)

          If you're eating with a group, particularly if there are white folk, they'll probably realize you simply want to sample the different cold table items.

          1. re: JThur01

            I just ask for rice and leave it at that.

            Then if I get any business from the server, I just give the "what the fuck you looking at ... another word out of you and I'm calling ICE" look.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              >> and I'm calling ICE <<

              If verbalized, the likely response will just be, "If you want ice, you must order a soda first."

        2. re: JThur01

          +! on the yunnan's.

          also, at CT, all the cold items are entree-priced, and, more annoyingly, as in the case of the rabbit in sister's secret sauce, the meat that is chopped into small cubes has not been deboned. this is not limited to the cold dishes BTW. last friday at lunch, a party of 8 fairly ravenous eaters including 3 CHers left about 1/2 of the kung pao chicken after picking out the pieces that were more meat than bone.

          1. re: JThur01

            As a huge fan of cold tables, I recently went to the Yunnan Restaurant on Garfield, and was blown away by the quality and selection. I was also impressed with the way the dishes were frequently refreshed, so as to be moist and plentiful. The husband and wife beef, chopped pickled green beans, gizzards with cilantro, cucumbers, shredded potatoes, and sliced bitter melon were all top-notch. Highly recommended.

            1. re: JThur01

              that smoked plum juice is all the appetizing one needs before the ongoing onslaught.

            2. Thanks everyone.
              I know there's a bit of an etiquette to certain things, but it sounds like this is more like an unusual request. And, ordering rice is a good idea anyway.
              Also, is the Yunnan Garden in Hacienda Heights similar to the one in Monterey Park as far as the cold table goes? Or, are they complete unrelated?

              4 Replies
              1. re: shab

                The rules of etiquette usually apply when you are trying to impress someone, such as a prospective in-law. The restaurants don't care that much as long as you actually order enough to make it worthwhile to them.

                1. re: shab

                  Also, is the Yunnan Garden in Hacienda Heights similar to the one in Monterey Park as far as the cold table goes? Or, are they complete unrelated?

                  I dunno know of any "Yunnan Garden" in Monterey Park. There's a Yunnan Restaurant in Monterey Park (nee Yun Chuan Garden), which has cold chafing table selections, but not as opulent as the one at Yunnan Garden.

                  Also, as an aside, there's a place inside the food court of the Ranch 99 market in Arcadia that actually has a decent selection of cold Sichuan specialties. Not large, but not piss-ass poor for a food court serving grub form styrofoam bowls either. Name, you ask? Hell if I know. It's in the food court, go find it for yourself.

                  1. re: shab

                    it's not unusual. people order cold table dishes to eat with rice all the time at any of the Yunnan(s). the busier than Yunnan (non busier than Monterey Park), the less of a fuck the hostesses will give.

                    there's no etiquette. stand in line, point-point, shout "FOR HERE", go back to table, pay for rice, tip. leave.

                    since this is cold table tour, and your group of crawlers would be sorta annoying, why not order to-go from Yunnan/Yunnan/HuoLaLa, grab an order rice, and eat it at Almansor?