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SGV - Good, Inexpensive Eats

Or, for that matter, good value (such as a more expensive meal that'll yield a round of leftovers).

Interested in everything from sandwich shops to noodle places to taco trucks to diners, etc., and anything that's open late is an added bonus.

Would love restaurant names and what you'd recommend trying.

(My New Year's resolution [at least the only one that I have any hope of keeping] is to eat my way through the SGV. And the limited budget just adds to the fun and adventure, right?)

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  1. Well I just wrote/blog about J&J in San Gabriel -- good Shanghainese cuisine and decent value (I ordered about $15 worth of food for myself, and had enough leftovers for two more meals!) I got the scallion pancakes, stir fried nian gao (rice cakes) & xiaolongbao (soup dumplings).

    For places opened fairly late, there's been rave reviews about Macau Street in MPK (known for serving a lot of unusual grub such as frog, turtles, "chicken knees") My experience with them has been a hit and miss, though.

    But you're in no shortage of good valued Asian eats in the SGV. I'm curious to hear what recs the other 'hounds come up with as well.


    1. Din Tai Fung for dumplings!! The place is amazing. The crab and pork dumplings are the best. And order spinach, too! 1108 S. Baldwin Ave. in Arcadia. Be prepared to wait.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Rocket fiend

        I'm not sure if Din Tai Fung qualifies as being inexpensive. I think the poster is looking more for something like Yum Cha Cafe in the San Gabriel Superstore (1635 S. San Gabriel Bl.) that has below market price dim sum that you order at the counter. Very cheap and very good. Also, virtually every non-dim sum Cantonese style restaurant in the area has lunch specials starting at around $5 that are very good. For example, just on a three block stretch of Garvey Ave. in Monterey Park you have Lucky City, New Hope City, Seafood Village and NYC Seafood with these specials.

      2. Banh Mi Che Cali, next to 888 Seafood at Valley and Delta in Rosemead. $3 gets you 3 Vietnamese sandwiches. Faaaaaaaaaaaantastic. Another $1.25 gets you ca phe sua da (Viet iced coffee), and desserts (che) are $1.

        El Taco Nazo, which has another name now (sorry!) at 9611 E. Garvey in South El Monte, just east of Rosemead a couple of blocks, has a fantastic fish taco combo -- 2 insanely tasty fish tacos, rice, beans, hot peppers, and a drink for $5.

        In the same plaza is My Hanh restaurant, where $5 gets you the most perfect bowl of bun thit nuong (cold rice vermicelli, warm grilled meat, and vegetables both fresh and pickled) that ever was. Add chilies in oil to it to take it right over the top.

        Finally (and there's more, I'm just in a hurry) there's the Dim Sum Express stand on the east side of Garfield two blocks south of the 10. It's takeaway only but the dim sum is extremely tasty and very good... and they sell by the piece, so you can get one of each kind instead of a "dish" of three or four.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          Is Dim Sum Express open past 8pm?


          1. re: Dommy

            No. I believe they close at 6 pm.

            If you want a place to get dim sum past 6 pm, try YUM CHA CAFE, which I mentioned here previously http://www.chowhound.com/topics/354555

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Thanks!! I just might stop there tonight! :)


              1. re: ipsedixit

                Sadly I stopped by there at 8pm and they had shut down... but I ended up at a Noodle place instead! :) Thanks! :)


                1. re: Dommy

                  So sorry about that. I always thought Yum Cha Cafe closed at 8 pm.? Is that incorrect?

            2. re: Das Ubergeek

              Tried this place and agree that it is very tasty and a true steal. Just one question: is the bbq pork bahn mi supposed to have that sauce smeared on the bread (kinda like a cheesy mayo)?

              1. re: young_chower

                It has an aioli, a garlic mayo, on it -- all the sandwiches do.

            3. Check out my mini-reviews on my personal website. My goal is to eat cheaply and to eat well.


              2 Replies
              1. re: raytamsgv

                I've probably been remiss in not mentioning it before, but raytamsgv's site is superb.

                Great starting point for any eating odyssey in the SGV.

              2. for inexpensive Japanese, Hanabi in Temple City, or Hanashima in Monterey Park

                1. Moffetts in Arcadia for the best chicken pot pie ($2+ for one to go)

                  Kiyozushi on Baldwin Ave for Japanese food (lunch and dinner for pretty cheap, can easily get away for under $20 for dinner and under $10 for lunch; not the best sushi but good quality for the price)

                  Garden Cafe for lunch and dinner (under $10)

                  Korean tofu places for tofu (under $10), the one on Las Tunas Drive next to Tokyo Lobby comes to mind

                  New Capital Seafood on Garvey Ave past Del Mar Ave (dim sum for under $2 per dish on everything, and cheap seafood)

                  Full House in Arcadia for good Cantonese food (Peking duck for $10 each)

                  1. Sesame Grill on Huntington in Arcadia is known for being on the fancy side but their lunch specials are quite affordable. Oh, and Top's and Jim's Burgers are always good- quite a selection at both places

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: crystaw

                      You know, I've always really (and I mean really) wanted to like Sesame Grill, but every time they've let me down. Something about the execution just seems lacking. Fish that is overcooked and dry (and then overdressed), soups that are either too salty or too sweet. Plus, it's rather expensive for what you are getting.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        I agree with you.. nice atmosphere and the food is decent but it seems expensive for what you are getting. I wouldn't consider that place to have "inexpensive eats."

                        1. re: monkuboy

                          We'd been wondering about Sesame Grill - thanks for the head's-up on what we might expect (it's now slid down our "must try soon" list).

                          1. re: ElsieDee

                            I totally disagree! I have been going there for 10 years, the chilean sea bass is esquisite, never over cook , a special not on the standard menu. If anything is overdone you should send it back, and they would make it right in a second! I think the atmosphere is camp, not very great, but the price fixe menu is very affordable, with $2 appetizers with an entree.WIne list sucks, bring your own $5 corkage fee. We started going their beofre they had their liquor license. Try the Salmon roll, chilean sea bass, veal chop. My favs.

                    2. First, many many many thanks for all of the great ideas - y'all are marvelous! And an extra-special thanks for your website, raytamsgv - an excellent resource!

                      The other night a group of five of us ended-up at Empanada Gourmet and Pizza (Lemon Ave. in Monrovia, just off Myrtle) - delightfully enthusiastic (if a bit slip-shod) service, great prices, and tasty empanadas (baked, not fried, with a very light/thin crust, so the emphasis is on the fillings). I think we'll soon be ordering a mixed dozen for the freezer (to reside next to Moffett's pot pies - again, thanks for that rec!).

                      We've also been pleased with pizza from Petrillo's on Valley - a bit pricey, but considering that a slice of their medium is a meal for me, a $20 pie is a good value.

                      But, I think that my favorite "find" (thanks to this board) is Golden Deli/Vietnam House - those rolls are to die for! And their pho and bun are inexpensive, filling, and delicious.