Is It Any Good?

What passes for a Chinese Restaurant in downtown Pasadena.

Yujean Kang's on Urbanspoon

Yujean Kang’s is one of those places that absolutely confounds me. Like Las Brisas, it is a restaurant who’s Zagat’s score does not match reality. Unlike Las Brisas, Zagat’s seems to love this place.

I don’t get the attraction.

Listen, Yujean Kang’s does not suck. It is not terrible.  You will have a decent enough time when you’re there. My only problem with Yujean Kang’s is…why would I go there, when she is so much better Chinese food available not far away in San Gabriel. This place is the very model for the Go-For-The-Original rule.

And it’s not like Yujean’s isn’t the real deal. This is not Panda Express or P.F. Chang’s. These are real Chinese chefs, cooking up real Chinese flavors. But next time you’re in there, take a look around. Pasadena is a nice, mixed community. I’m sure you’ll see some Chinese-Americans in there, but trust me when I say, it’s not exactly a destination for a majority of the community. After Church Sunday, the Chinese-American community of the San Gabriel Valley is not going  there for Dim Sum. (Hell, does Yujean Kang’s even serve Dim Sum? It doesn’t look like it from the website. Not a good sign there.)

And that may be the fault of the audience more than the presenter. Remember, this is a place primarily serving the slightly less refined tastes of a mixed community. The Chinese places I gush over, their primary target audience are the Chinese-American communities in places like San Gabriel or Monterey Park. They’re either serving Chinese Immigrants, or their kids and grandkids who grew up eating the good stuff. (Or serving the Godchildren of Chinese Immigrants, who know what the good stuff is supposed to look and taste like.)

So, go for the experience if you want to. Me? I’ll probably be over at Mission 261, gettin’ my groove on with the real thing.


WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, some of the items have changed. But the Noodles in Black Bean Sauce is always a nice choice.


IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: No offense, but Monterey Park is a 15 minute drive from here.  Just something to keep in mind.


PARKING: Consult the Pasadena Parking Guide, but I usually to go to the Schoolhouse and walk. It’s a little cheaper, and if its not a Saturday or Friday night, you should find a space.


Yujean Kang’s
67 N. Raymond Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91103

Tel: (626) 585-0855

Sunday-Thursday: 11:30 am-2:00 pm & 5:00 pm-9:00 pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:30 am-2:00 pm & 5:00 pm-10:00 pm