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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Pearl Chinese Cuisine (Wedding Banquet) - San Diego

Cousin Q's older brother got married!

And why does marriage give you 525,600 calories?

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This story started back when I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area during cousin Q's older brother's first year of college. Cousin Q's older brother's wife's sister, Salah Jonger (Ha! Did you follow all that?), during her maid-of-honor speech at the wedding reception, told the story of how they met. It was her first year of college too and in an effort to meet other people, cousin Q's older brother's wife took her around the dorm, knocking on various doors and introducing themselves. Cousin Q's older brother happened to live across the hall from Salah Jonger's high school friend.

Unbeknownst to me, sometimes when she asked my cousin to go eat, cousin Q's older brother said I had already fed him or took him grocery shopping. I met her a few years after that, when they were still just friends, during one of our family snowboarding trips. "Just friends" huh?

She eventually graduated and moved to SoCal. Remember I said I used to eat at the restaurant located in what is now Tahoe Galbi Restaurant in Koreatown? Well, that night when we drove by, the previous restaurant had closed down. We ended up at Versailles Cuban Food Restaurant in Culver City, only a few blocks away from her apartment. We asked her to come out and join us but she wasn't feeling well. So after dinner, before dropping in to visit, cousin Q's older brother ran into a convenience store to buy her some 7-Up. (My daddy's cure-all for upset stomachs.) We played with her dog, Thumper, who could roll over and play dead when we said, "Bang, bang." And we just hung out. Any girl who can hang with half a dozen of the WC clan gets a plus in my book. But a girl who seems to actually enjoy hanging with us? She's a keeper.


I asked cousin Q's older brother, are you still "just friends"? ;)

The wedding ceremony was held on a sunny, crisp December day at Torrey Pines Christian Church in La Jolla.

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Here's the middle '87 looking very pretty in her bridesmaid gown.

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Here comes the bride!

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Cousin Q was best man. The groomsmen were two of cousin Q's older brother's college friends and the bride's younger brother. The bride's sister, Salah Jonger, was maid-of-honor. Bridesmaids were cousin Q's younger sister, the middle '87, and two of the bride's college friends.

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Do you?

I do.

And do you?

I do.

You may now kiss the bride!

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Still kissing!

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Food! Food!

I know, I didn't forget.

The wedding reception was held at Pearl Chinese Cuisine in San Diego. Cousin Q's older brother's wife made all the centerpieces. Actually, she planned everything and even made the wedding invitations.

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Why are all these people crowding around?

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Chocolate! Chocolate fountains! Chocolate fountains with dark chocolate and milk chocolate!

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Chocolate fountains with dark chocolate and milk chocolate with madeleines, strawberries, bananas, and pineapples for dipping!

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The bride didn't think it was aesthetically pleasing to have bottles cluttering up the tables, so all the drinks were at the bar. That meant an equally large crowd of people, including little kids, traffic jammed at the bar to get everything from mixed drinks to soda pop. It might not look so pretty, but having ice and drinks available at each table is way more practical when you're feeding hundreds of people.

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The barbecue cold plate had roast pork, roast duck on a bed of jelly fish, roast chicken, and seaweed salad. It was good, but not remarkable. My favorite cold platter, of the three weddings I went to recently, was at Regent West Restaurant in Santa Ana because of the abundance, and the clams and squid.

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Honey walnut shrimp on the left and crystal prawns on the right. The honey walnut shrimp were light and crispy. I liked the sugar snap peas in the crystal prawns side, but didn't pay enough attention to the sauce so I don't remember what it tasted like.

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Cubed filet mignon with garlic in a bird's nest. A little heavy on the sauce and I thought the beef at Prince Seafood Restaurant in Cerritos was way more tender, but this was the best bird's nest of the three. The noodles were crunchy but not hard, and slightly chewy. How do they fry the "bird's nest" so pretty?

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Braised shark fin soup with dried seafood. Very little shark fin. The dried seafood flavor was a little too strong. I prefer shark fin and crab soup best.

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Garlic roasted chicken. The marinade was really good, although a tad too salty for me. All my cousins really liked this and no one else thought it was too salty. Must've been me. The marinade tasted familiar, yet I couldn't figure it out either.

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Steamed live fish. The fish was soooooo gooooood! Seriously! So fresh. Not fishy. Tender. Moist. Anyone know what kind of fish this was? No scales and definitely not catfish.

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Abalone mushrooms with Chinese mustard. I love abalone mushrooms. They were so good that cousin Q's older brother thought they were real abalone. :)

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Lobster with ginger and scallion sauce. This was the best lobster of the three wedding banquets. Not as much meat, but a lot more tender. Perhaps not overcooked? Dunno. Still can't go wrong with lobster no matter how it's cooked in my book.

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Seafood fried rice. The roasted garlic bits added flavor, otherwise, this fried rice had very few ingredients.

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Mango pudding. The flavor was good, but it was way too firm.

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The cake looked much prettier in person. The roses were too dark to show up nicely on my camera.

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Each layer had a different flavor and I got a chocolate piece.

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Look! People photos! Two of my favorite readers -- Salah Jonger and cousin Q's older brother's wife. (Ha! She likes being called that!) The photos don't do them justice. Aren't they beautiful?

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First dance as husband and wife.

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Dance off!

Couple #1. She kicked off her shoes. He took off his belt. He even ripped his shirt when he busted a move.

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Couple #2. Awww. Too cute!

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Couple #3 was Salah Jonger's friend who lived across the hall from cousin Q's older brother and cousin Lee. I took video, but cousin Lee won't let me post it.

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Couple #4. A little staid, but good sports since everyone had been called up without knowing why. And then it was a surprise announcement that they had to participate in a dance competition.

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Couple #5. The guy is one of my cousin's friends from high school. Getting a lot freaky on the dance floor! At one point, couple #2, the bridesmaid had to turn the little boy around so he wouldn't witness such "goings on."

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Dance off between couples #3 and #5.

The winners?

Cousin Lee and Salah Jonger's friend. I have video too. Which again, cousin Lee won't let me show you, but they both did the splits! Man! The lengths they went through to win.

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Bouquet toss. Salah Jonger caught the bouquet.

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Removing the garter. Someone shouted out, "You gotta work for it!" So he had to sweet talk her first.

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And maybe "Oh, do a little dance." Look at her laugh. You know she loved it. ;)

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"Make a little love."

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"Get down tonight, get down tonight."

Quick! Name that song!

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"Get Down Tonight" by K.C. and the Sunshine Band.

I've never seen a guy so excited to catch the garter. That was the bride's cousin.

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The girl cousins serenaded the newlyweds with "Everything I Do, I Do it for You" by Bryan Adams. They were all microphone hogs. And they sang almost as well as me, which is to say not well at all. Haha!

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Afterward, we all congregated for more drinks and wedding banquet leftovers. Cold lobster. Still good! My cousin poured a 1999 bottle of Dom Perignon that was gifted. Fancy!

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Wedding favors were picture frame coasters, which also doubled as our name cards.

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And look! My cousin and his wife even brought back a souvenir for me from their honeymoon in Tahiti. Honey from their honeymoon. Awww. Thanks!

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If the love and laughter at the wedding was any indication, starting out as "just friends" was just right. Welcome to the family cousin Q's older brother's wife. :)

Happy New Year everyone! I hope your year starts off with lots of love and laughter too!

My other wedding banquet posts:
Capital Seafood Chinese Restaurant (Wedding Banquet) - Monterey Park
Empress Harbor Seafood Restaurant (Wedding Banquet) - Monterey Park
Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood Restaurant (Wedding Banquet) - Emeryville
Prince Seafood Restaurant (Wedding Banquet) - Cerritos
Regent West Restaurant (Wedding Banquet) - Santa Ana (Little Saigon)

Pearl Chinese Cuisine
11666 Avena Pl.
San Diego, CA 92128
Monday to Friday 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday 9 .m. to 10:30 p.m.

1 year ago today, frog fallopian tubes, tortoise shell jelly, and knife-cut noodles at Tasty - San Gabriel.
2 years ago today, for those of you with New Year's resolutions to "exercise more," photos of people exercising around Ho Hoan Kiem (Returned Sword Lake) in Hanoi, Vietnam.


  1. awwww! A wedding post! This is the season of weddings!! hehee. Congratulations to the newly weds! And what great fun u must have had- I bet the camera was shaking because u were laughing hard. =)

  2. How many weddings are you attending these past months? It's like you are attending every month and the spring/summer season will be very busy for you then. Hehehe

    That chocolate fountain fondue looks like it is part of every wedding. I got sick two years ago from one of those. *ackk* Now I'm staying away from them.

    The garlic roasted chicken looked good!! doesn't look too salty to me. LOL

  3. Ahh! What a beautiful love story.

    All we need is an update on the "bang bang" dog. :)

  4. They really kissed all the way! Haha!
    And Wandering Chopsticks, you know me so well! How did you ever read my mind and know what my ultimate dream is? :O

  5. That is a cute story. Congrats to them! :)

    525600 is from rent! Now I have the song stuck in my head: "five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minuteeeees..."

    Those picture frame coasters/name cards are a great idea...I might steal it!

  6. I wish I had a busy social life like yours...I love weddings, the photos are so much fun, I loved the dance ones...

  7. Hi WC - First off Happy New Year! Boy are Vietnamese Weddings fun!

  8. This is what I like from Asian style wedding party. The food! :)

  9. hi WC!
    Happy New Year to you!!!!

    I love reading your wedding posts! And cool! You were down in San Diego too! I've never been to Pearl but have heard it's pretty good. That reception looked like a lot of fun.

    One q - I notice in past posts you've referred to your cousins at the older, middle or youngest '87. Are you referring to when you graduated high school? the reason I ask is because I'm also class of '87. sometimes when i'm with my bro/sis and their friends, we refer to each other as, '88,'89,'90. yeah, so personal.

  10. First time here... but these are lovely... I wouldn't know such an authentic Chinese 8 course wedding dinner oversea until I saw these... and the couple is lovely so do the food!

  11. Ha! We had almost the identical menu at our friend's wedding reception at the same restaurant three and a half years ago.

    How do I remember so well? That evening, my wife went into labor with our son, so I guess it was their last shared meal...not to mention that I was so overcome with emotion when he was delivered that I almost "lost" that meal in the delivery room (which would have been quite inauspicious). I particularly enjoyed the abalone.

  12. that's a cute party favor. And the food is making me hungry right now. Monday blues~~

  13. hahaha... yea, were you class of '87? ;)) I also need an explanation of it as well. oh, and dumplings too.

    I miss asian banquet weddings... i don't know many people who do them anymore. :(

  14. The wedding looks like so much fun, everybody seems enjoying so much. I love the customized bottle label, how cute!

  15. what a lovely way to start a year... happy new year!!! :)

  16. Daphne,
    Thankfully, the last wedding post for a while. It was a very fun wedding, but the camera was shaking b/c I suck at taking photos.

    Pepsi Monster,
    Third and last one. For some reason, my cousins all decided to get married within a few weeks of each other. Nothing this past spring and summer though!

    Actually, this was the first wedding I went to with a chocolate fountain. Punch fountain yes, but not chocolate. Sorry to hear you got sick. Thankfully that didn't happen here.

    I think Thumper went away to live with the roommate.

    I know how much you miss California. It wasn't hard to figure out your dream. ;)

    That's it! I knew it sounded familiar, but I couldn't figure out why. That's why I posted souvenir photos. Apparently, a lot of people look for ideas.

    Hahaha. I'm a hermit. I only ventured out b/c they were my cousins.

    Happy New Year to you too! I kept scanning the crowd in the off-chance that you might be there too. ;)

    Definitely the food.

    Canine Cologne,
    Happy New Year to you!

    Haha. Not graduation, I was still in middle school then. The years refer to when the girls were born. ;) I have too many cousins and referring to them by initials would get repeats. But actually, the nickname came about in my Manna post when I realized I was dining with all the girls born that year.

    Bits of Life 'n' Taste,
    There's been plenty of multi-course Chinese wedding banquets here. Even more than 20 years ago when my youngest aunt got married, they had these available.

    Jan Frederick,
    Geez, you don't seem to have much luck with weddings. Your wife's veil in tomato soup and then going into labor at another.

    Monday blues makes it hard for me to post things!

    Haha. See above for explanation. Come over. I promised you dumplings.

    My College Kitchen,
    It was great fun. The customized label was a clever idea huh?

    Happy New Year to you too!

  17. hi wc-thanks for the explanation. sorry if that was nosey. i obviously missed the "origins" (manna) post. now that i know the answer, i feel so OLD!!!! wow, born in '87 eh? as opposed to graduating h.s. in '87. i work at a high school and the freshmen were born in 1994!!!! yikes!

  18. Canine Cologne,
    Not at all. It's just been a few years so if you missed that post, you missed the explanation. I feel old too when I hang around my little cousins.


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