The San Diego Asian Film Festival, which runs Oct. 11 through 18, marks it eighth year with another great selection of films about Pan-Asian culture. I got a chance to screen a couple of shorts from the program 'Dim Sum and Then Some,' a collection of Chinese films that range from the mockumentary Pandamania-an 'E! True Zoo Story' that follows teenager Tai Shan as he navigates the dating world as a giant panda-to My Father's Chinese Wife, a semi-fictional story told through recreated Super 8 home movies. Around lunchtime one day, I sat down to watch the endearing Chinese Dumplings, a short film about two sisters who try to speed up their violin practice so that they can indulge in some homemade dumplings. When the film ended, I promptly turned off the TV and headed out to feed my sudden craving for Chinese food.Jasmine Bistro, located on the edge of the Parkway Plaza Mall in El Cajon, has been in business since 2002, but is a bit overshadowed by sister restaurant Jasmine Seafood in Kearny Mesa, which, for many years, has been my go-to spot for dim sum brunches and seafood dinners. If you think of the two restaurants as family, the Jasmine on Convoy Street is the older, more traditional sister who goes to an Ivy League school and marries a Chinese doctor while Jasmine Bistro in El Cajon is the younger, hipper sibling who gets a nose ring and backpacks around the globe. Both spots remain, at heart, Chinese restaurants, but the bistro offers an eclectic menu that features Cantonese favorites alongside dishes inspired by other Asian cuisines. In fact, Jasmine's owner said he staffs his kitchen with chefs who specialize in food from each country represented on the menu.While Jasmine's west branch serves up authentic Chinese delicacies in a somewhat cavernous space, Jasmine Bistro in East County is smaller and more stylish, with a menu that's well-executed but tailored to suit less-intrepid palates. Specialties from the original Jasmine's menu, including Two-Course Peking Duck, Salt and Pepper Pork Chops and Honey-Walnut Shrimp are all here, as well as more westernized inventions like General Tso's Chicken and Sweet and Sour Pork. Dim sum-an assortment of fried, steamed and baked dumplings-is brought over from the Kearny Mesa restaurant and cooked on the bistro's premises and is available daily. The selection isn't as varied as at the other spot, and there are only one or two dim sum carts in rotation rather than the usual winding procession, but what is offered is fresh and tasty. The bistro's sushi bar made its debut in August and was well-received by the East County crowd starved for good seafood. The sushi standards are all here, as well as signature specialty rolls like the Amazing Roll-seaweed-wrapped shrimp tempura topped with grilled eel coated in a sweet sauce. During Jasmine's indefinite grand-opening period, rotating sushi selections are half-price. On one visit, my Alaskan Roll, filled with snow crab (or Opilio crab for those who watch Deadliest Catch), salmon, avocado and cucumber was less than $5. There's room for both rice and noodles in the scope of a lunch, so if I deviate from the classic comforts of Chinese Fried Rice or Beef Chow Fun, Jasmine Bistro doesn't disappoint with their Malay Fried Rice, tossed with crunchy cashews and pieces of fresh pineapple and flavored with the warm spices of curry powder. The Spicy Thai Rice Noodles-wide noodles stir-fried with bell peppers, chilies, egg and fragrant Thai basil-are excellent as well. Tender cubes of steak, wok-seared with either Thai spices or a Chinese garlic-pepper sauce are both very nice, and other good meat, seafood and tofu dishes from all regions round out the menu. For dessert, the heart-shaped serving of warm and sweet sticky rice, Thai in origin, provides as a yummy base for cool, fresh mango and a creamy coconut sauce. The two Jasmines' owner, Allen Chan, travels between the restaurants and is often on hand at the bistro to help you navigate through the multi-cultural menus. Although a lot of different cuisines are assembled on Jasmine Bistro's menu, they all come out, for the most part, as distinct, singular dishes, unlike fusion food which can sometimes be a muddy blend of tastes. Jasmine Bistro is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information on the San Diego Asian Film Festival, visit www.sdaff.org.