When an invite to preview Gan Shan Station’s new menu was offered to the AVLFN crew I jumped at the opportunity to eat at one of my favorite spots in town. I have been very fond of eating there for years, particularly for Thursday fish nights. Over my many visits, I’ve had some great dishes packed with flavors sometimes reminiscent of my grandma’s kitchen and is one of the reasons this East Asian mish-mash restaurant holds a special place in my heart.
While I didn’t try everything that was new to the menu, everything I did try was delicious. Gan Shan introduced some new mains and has almost doubled the small plate offerings. The best thing about the new menu is the respect and attention to detail, creating authentic flavors hailing from Japan, Thailand, China, and Vietnam (to name a few).
The dishes I loved the most were the Thai Treasure Purse, the Okonomiyaki, Som Tam, the Imperial Rolls, and (not your basic B) Pad Thai. The Thai sausage treasure purse is a savory sticky rice bundle steamed in a lotus leaf topped with a fried egg. The flavors are earthy, comforting, and you will need a spoon to dig out every bit of the sticky rice from the lotus leaf nest.
I’m not as familiar with Japanese cuisine as I am with other East Asian cuisines but I do know that it’s delicious. The Okonomiyaki was divine and might have been my favorite thing of the night. With a balance of sweet, salty, acid, and umami, (his dish also wins most tender pork belly in town. Som Tam is papaya salad and one dish that I devour on the regular. Gan Shan does its own take by mixing in black bean chicken and putting the heat on the side in the form of pickled Thai chilis. This dish is served with a side of sticky rice and if you’re going for a traditional experience, eat it with your hands and don’t touch your eyes till long after you’ve washed your hands a couple of times (don’t say I didn’t warn you).
Gan Shan has always been a great spot, but its team outdid themselves creating the new menu. The revamped menu retained the best of the previous menu while introducing new and interesting dishes not found easily in Asheville. With the addition of a dozen or so items on the menu, Gan Shan has re-invented itself from a great chill night out to an exciting must-go-to spot to satisfy your tastebud wanderlust.
Check it out and let me know what you think!