Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Oct 25th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Spring Flower

Dining_YanFlowerYan Flower dishes up a fresh assortment of unique Chinese delicacies at the southern end of Pacific Avenue

I don't often find myself in the South of Laurel section of Pacific Avenue, but when a friend described Hong Kong Noodles at Yan Flower I just had to try them. After all, the man is of Korean and Chinese heritage, and speaks with a New York accent.

In the back of the restaurant the owners converse in Cantonese. Yan Flower's well-kept yellow and green tiled building is roomy, clean, and simply decorated. Comfortable orange booths surround glass-topped tables, the windows are treated with pretty flowered valances, and the walls are papered with tasteful, contemporary swooshes in soft earth tones.

Nicely priced lunch specials ($3.95 to $5.95) include soup, a spring roll and steamed rice, but the full and lengthy MSG-free menu is always available. Specialties include a Half Roast Duck, Beef with Black Pepper Pots and Egg Foo Young. Daily specials might include Mongolian Lamb, and there is a large selection of tofu and vegetable entrées.

Twelve soups are served including Yanflower Spicy Won Ton, Egg Flower, and sizzling rice. I started with a cup of Hot and Sour ($1.50) soup. Served in a rather large clear glass bowl, the thickened chili-flecked broth contained slivers of bamboo shoots, threads of seaweed, and tofu.

The mix of appetizers includes Crab Cream Won Tons, Chinese Chicken Salad, Sliced BBQ pork, and Dumplings. The Sesame Balls ($2.95) are beautiful. Six perfect spheres the size of ping pong balls were deep fried until the neat coating of sesame seeds just began to tan and emit a nutty aroma. Biting into the thin, chewy dough revealed a center of sweet and savory Chinese red bean paste.

Hong Kong Noodles ($7.50) arrived on two plates; one holding thin, crisply fried noodles, and the other, stir-fried chicken with broccoli, bok choy, miniature corn cobs, crunchy water chestnuts, halved cloves of garlic and carrots in a rich, brown sauce that was not overly salty with soy sauce. When the stir-fry was poured over the noodles, some became chewy, and others remained crisp, offering a satisfying mix of textures.

Spicy dishes are highlighted on the menu in red ink, and the kitchen will adjust the heat to your specifications. One of these is Garlic Chicken ($6.95). Like the noodles, it was loaded with tender strips of white chicken breast. The spicy sauce had a unique sweet and sour flavor, and also included bamboo shoots, shredded carrot, green bell peppers and chili flakes.

I requested the extra-spicy treatment for Hunan Beef ($6.95). A halo of al dente broccoli surrounded a layer of bright white rice sticks; fried until airy and curly, and topped with pinkie-sized strips of deep-fried beef which was sprinkled with additional dried red chili. Although I had feared that I was full after soup, I couldn't stop savoring these chewy morsels coated in syrupy, sweet, and sour sauce.


Yan Flower, 617 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-2574. Beer and wine. Open daily 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Takeout available.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Santa Cruz Restaurant Week

A huge part of Santa Cruz Restaurant Week has always been about offering a great dining experience for an affordable price. For some locals, the $25 flat-rate cost has provided the opportunity (or the excuse!) to try new spots, and indulge in Santa Cruz fine dining in a way they might have thought too pricey before.

 

Scorpio Sun, New Moon Eclipse, Mercury Direct

The Sun enters Scorpio’s mysteries Thursday under a new moon and partial solar eclipse (something essential has come to an end, its purpose completed). In Scorpio we harbor secrets, are devoted to something deep, dark and hidden. Sometimes it’s ourselves. We can bring great suspect to our assessment of others. Scorpio is the scorpion, the serpent and the eagle—three levels of development. As the serpent we take shelter in our beliefs. Sometimes we bite (or sting). The eagle vanquishes old beliefs through its sharp intellect, soaring high in the air, seeking to understand through perspective. Understanding releases us from the bondage of fear. The eagle is like the mother soothing feelings of mistrust, offering protection. Knowledge does this, too.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Light Humor

College comedy questions a post-racial America in ‘Dear White People’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Back Porch

Austin Kaye on backyard dinners and why it’s his favorite time of year to be a chef

 

What’s the most outrageous situation you ever saw at a restaurant?

Damani Thomas, Santa Cruz, Chef/Owner

 

Wine Lust

The Spanish Godello grape, plus arancinis, tender butter lettuce and pork schnitzel at Soif

 

What artist or artists participating in the encore weekend of Open Studios should not be missed?

Santa Cruz | Teacher