Dishes you can make as good or better at home


No. I agree with folks who have made the point that there is a big difference between churning out dish after dish in a restaurant and cooking a few dishes at home. I certainly could not run a restaurant or be a head chef in a restaurant.


Trust me, that’s not the same.

Don’t even argue it.


Okay, I trust you.


Well, assuming Yun Chuan garden is the same as Yunkun Garden, if you can cook the range of dishes they make, or even a few, at the same level or better than they can you’ve missed your calling or maybe they’ve gone downhill since I last ate there. They’re not Szechuan Impression or Chengdu Taste but they’re pretty good.


Sichuan is easy. Start with this book:


Hey man, I’ve been cooking from that book for a decade, and I’m a pretty decent home cook. But, please.


What is it that you think Yun Chuan is doing differently on a fundamental level? I think it’s the same level of recipes and same required level of execution. Frankly, I find that my home-cooked dishes are better than the equivalent dishes at Yun Chuan.


Well, they are far more experienced at making Sichuan food than I am; they have a much more organic and ingrained understanding of the combinations of flavours and how to adjust things on the fly; they have better hot bean pastes and other esoteric Sichuan ingredients than I do; their kitchen burners put out much greater btu’s; they have better woks; etc. etc. etc.

Perhaps I am wronging you greatly but making creditable versions of some dishes (mostly the braised stuff) by following recipes in Land of Plenty (a book I admire and recommend) is not enough for me to pronounce my abilities as being on par with a 2nd or 3rd tier SGV restaurant. And again, I’m a pretty decent home cook.

Or maybe Yunchuan/Yunkun Garden has really gone downhill. Please tell me which of these dishes you make as well or better and then let me know when I can come over:


Chocolate chip cookies
Banana bread
Lemon bars

(Baking like your mom / grandma did is kind of my thing)


I grow peppers, tomatoes, string beans, and some other veggies. No matter how good a restaurant may be, the flavor from those home-harvested ingredients are far superior to anything I have found even in a Farmer’s market. Using those ingredients often results in tastier dishes than those found in any restaurant.


Tiramisu and crême brûlée are things I can’t eat from restaurants anymore because my renditions are better at home. Fried rice and egg rolls are off limits at restaurants, too…no one else’s version can touch Mom’s.


I’m going to buy a small wagyu from Mitsuwa. I wouldn’t think of BBQing it because I don’t have bincho. Anybody have an opinion on the best way to cook Wagyu from these options

  • cast iron grill
  • broiler
  • gas BBQ grill


I’m not sure what “cast iron grill” means. What heat source?

You just want to sear it.


A little while ago, I had one of the most memorable beef tartare at Bouli Bar (SF) made from wagyu, better than the wagyu sashimi at CUT (Beverly Hills).

I would ditch the heat all together. And go au naturel.


I meant cast iron skillet. I’m going to go quick sear on a very hot skillet. I’m too scared to make a tartare.


fyi: Jon at Japanese Knife imports sell bincho if you are interested in using it


I’m a long-time restaurant worker as well as a culinary-school grad. I am by no means a fantastic cook, but I know the basics and the techniques.

Restaurant food is FULL of salt and fat. WAY WAY more than we’d use at home. Sometimes, trying to replicate a restaurant dish can be a failure because of that one simple fact. These people are not cooking for your heart or waistline, but to make sure you come back for that addicting taste.

I can do better than many restaurants, as someone upthread mentioned, just by quality of ingredients… but often my lighter/normal/healthier touch will make for a less rich result, in taste and mouthfeel and memory.

Anyway, to answer the question, Italian is overrated and I can do it all better at home. Risotto and braises in particular are a favorite to make and always well-received.


Fat is an essential part of a healthy diet, and there’s nothing unhealthy about the amount of salt in good Italian food. It’s excessive consumption of simple carbohydrates that are the real problem with the average American diet as promoted by the food industry and USDA.

“… sodium reduction from average to very low levels appears to have negligible benefit for blood pressure and may cause metabolic problems. Potentially more effective ways to control blood pressure may be to lower intakes of added sugar and other highly processed carbohydrates, reduce stress, and increase physical activity …”—David Ludwig, “Always Hungry?”




@ipsedixit Ha! I bet you could make a better anything than Souplantation. Or Pandera.

Nice list, btw.