Are You a Mountain Yam Lover?

Tasting mountain medicine at Monterey Park’s Duck House.

I’m a lover—not a fighter. And whenever I get a chance to fall in love with a new dish, I will put my taste buds on the line and take the leap. The selection on the menu read “Mountain Yam Lover.” How could I possibly pass on that?

Mountain yam is a tuber used extensively in Asian cuisine. The Japanese use it as a condiment in tororo soba or udon. The yam is grated, ground, turned into slime, and dolloped into a bowl of noodle soup. It’s also used as a binder for okonomiyaki.

The Chinese consider mountain yam medicine, thought to be healing for the kidney, and, in fact, refer to the vegetable as “mountain medicine.”

Monterey Park’s Duck House, famous for their authentic Peking duck, presents an elegantly simple dish that highlights the healthful mountain yam along with other restorative goodies like wood ear fungus, goji berries, and konnyaku. Celery and carrots are also scattered in for diversified textures and tastes.

The first impression you’ll get from mountain yam is the slick, near-slimy film coating surrounding its crisp jicama-like texture. The white mountain yam slices consist of mainly water and feel refreshing in the mouth.

Adding to this interesting mouthfeel is the konnyaku. This starchy plant is fashioned into a noodle and comes off crunchy, soaking up all the sauce like any good pasta would. It’s a dish that healthful and filling. So put on your favorite slow jam and put some moves on a mountain yam. Duck House, 501 S. Atlantic Blvd., Monterey Park, 626-284-3227