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breather, chow down, and recharge.
Fu-Shing Szechwan Cuisine is another restaurant in East Pasadena that has been around for a long, long time. It has been in the same place for as long as I can remember.
Entering Fu-Shing Szechwan Cuisine, I found that the interior was actually quite becoming. Past the front door and the tiny bar, the floorplan opened up to a cozy dining room with a fireplace in one corner. "P" and I were led to a booth in an alcove that branched off the dining room. The noise level pleasantly befitted the tasteful setting.
What I ate:
1. "Amuse": Sliced Broccoli Stems. These were slightly spicy and slightly sweet with a salty, umami-rich taste. From a business perspective, it's a smart way to use a part of the broccoli that's usually discarded, however, I could not help but feel insulted as a customer. Why not give me the broccoli heads instead? It is just an "amuse", after all. We used to save broccoli stems for employee meals at one hotel I worked at (read: Not for the paying public).
2. South China Sea Seafood Soup (for two, 7.5 USD): "Mussel, shrimp, fish, cuttlefish & scallop all boiled in a clear broth seasoned with pepper" (from the menu). This soup was moreish and hot - a much needed restorative. The broth had depth of flavor and the seafood and vegetables were not overcooked, which was crucial! A chopped red chile - unknown variety - was a nice Szechwan touch to the soup, bringing some heat and bite. This was "P"s fav course of the meal. (Can you pick out the canned mushroom in the photo? I hate canned mushrooms!)
<INSERT PHOTO HERE>
Okay, so epic fail. "P" and I were so busy attacking the next two dishes, I totally forgot to take pictures! Believe me, I feel worse about it than you might. Sorry!
3. Baby Bok Choy with Chinese Mushroom (8.75 USD): Baby bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms, and sliced bamboo shoots in a garlic and oyster sauce amalgam. This dish, like its predecessor, was piping hot - very welcome. The shiitakes had an intense, heady flavor and the bok choy were cooked to perfection. My only complaint regarding this dish was the size of the bok choy: I wish the cook had cut them down or fabricated them to be more manageable.
4. Sliced Chicken in Black Bean Sauce (9.95 USD): Thin slices of chicken breast sautéed with diced red and green bell pepper and onions in black bean sauce. "P" and I ran into a little trouble with this order, servicewise. Our waiter thought I asked for the Sliced Chicken in Hot Garlic Sauce in addition to the Sliced Chix in Black Bean Sauce: he misunderstood me when I was placing the order. So the waiter added the Sliced Chix in Hot Garlic Sauce to our ticket. When I discovered the error, I walked over to the kitchen to stop the order from going through, but it was too late. The waiter was cool about the situation: he took away the Sliced Chix in Hot Garlic Sauce and didn't charge us for it. To continue, the Sliced Chicken in Black Bean Sauce was faultless. One highlight of the dish was the slight fermented punch from the black beans.
I wished the Baby Bok Choy and Sliced Chicken arrived at the table simultaneously. "P" and I were sitting around waiting for our Sliced Chicken for some time after wolfing down the bok choy.
Two aspects of the food that I especially appreciated? The food wasn't greasy and it wasn't too heavy in the stomach.
I'm not sure if Fu-Shing can really claim Szechwan cred for its food. The dishes "P" and I had were not strictly Szechwan. I also got the impression that the cuisine at Fu-Shing is somewhat tailored to gweilo.
In general, dishes at Fu-Shing are around two or three dollars more than what you might pay for a similar dish at a Chinese restaurant in Arcadia and elsewhere.
Parking: Fu-Shing shares a parking lot with a strip mall. It seems the restaurant has the whole lot to itself at night.
The Bill: 30.67 USD.
My Rating: out of four stars (satisfactory to good) instead of because of the less than impeccable welcome and table service (impressive runners and bussers, though). Open everyday, 11:30 AM to 10 PM. Credit cards accepted. www.fu-shing.com
Last Word: Next time, I'll push my dining companion(s) to make an effort and drive to Arcadia for Chinese food or points south of Pasadena for genuine Sichuan fàn.
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