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San Gabriel Valley Chinese

I've only recently become acquainted with real Chinese food, but the San Gabriel Valley has opened my eyes and set my sights high. I'm looking to find restaurants serving regional cuisines other than the ones I've tried. For instance, I am not familiar with Shandong or Taiwanese.

Here are the restaurants I've been to so far in SGV, mostly Chowhound or Jonathan Gold picks. (I've also eaten a lot of Cantonese previously.) What SGV restaurants should I try next?

Green Village. Shanghainese (or so I have read). Absolutely great.
Chung King and Yunnan Garden. Szechuan. Both very good.
Dong Ting Chun. Hunan (or so I have read). Good.
Dumpling Master. North Chinese? OK.
China Islamic. Uighur??? Blah, not my thing.

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  1. Some regional joints that may tickle your fancy (off the top of my head):

    NRN Noodle

    Yungui Garden


    Macau Street

    Fantasy Eatery

    Seafood Village

    Class 302

    3 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      These all look interesting (though I think Yungui Garden and Yunnan Garden are one and the same). Thanks, I will check them out!

      1. re: aventinus

        Yungui Garden (now known as Yunchuan Garden) is in Monterey Park and Yunnan Garden is in Hacienda Heights, though commonly owned. You might want to try Shen Yang, 137 S. San Gabriel Bl. and Northern Chinese Restaurant, 8450 E. Valley Bl. And don't forget 101 Noodle Express!

      2. re: ipsedixit

        Seafood Village: very solid. It would be hard to complain about a very large number of big, fresh scallops cooked expertly in a light, refined sauce for $14, along with good quality complementary oolong. SGV food is so far superior to LA food.

      3. Monterey Palace on Garvey just west of New Ave is my fave--if you like such delicacies as live seafood (esp big live prawns), Peking Duck and Suckling Pig. it's a favorite of locals too...well worth a try.

        1. I'd suggest Embassy on San Gabriel Blvd for homestyle Cantonese food. It's clientele is 95% HongKong Chinese which should tell you something about its culinary standard. I'd also try Tasty Garden on Valley for "small eats." Check out their frog rice pot. Little Lamb on Atlantic can be one of your stops for fun Mongolian firepot. Seafood Village on Garvey is a fine choice for Chiu Chow cuisine. Lee Kum Kee on Valley near where 710 ends serves good Chinese Vietnamese food. J and J imho has the best dumplings and Shanghainese. Mei Long Village is right up there too for Shanghainese. Bon appetit.

          5 Replies
          1. re: poggibonzzi

            Embassy is utterly terrible. The one time I was there I felt like I needed sandpaper afterwards as a "dessert" to scrub my mouth.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              :::Chuckling::: Instead of sandpaper you might consider rinsing with their taro, tapioca in a fresh coconut shell dessert. More seriously, I haven't ever had a bad meal there and I'd figure that's close to 30 meals in the last three years. What did you order? I love their Sea bass fillet drizzled with light soysauce and sauteed garlic, their lotus leaf wrapped baked crab rice, their seven treasure braised duck (special order), their vegetarian shark fin dish, their duck web with green papaya appetizer, their crispy stuffed chicken (special order,) their mochi with sesame filling... Their run of the mill Chinese dishes-- crispy skin chicken, soy sauce chicken, veggies galore are no better or worse than nearby joints, but the dishes they do with a special touch are good indeed. Damn, this is making me hungry... But de gustibus and all that :-)

              1. re: ipsedixit

                What did you have there? I went there a few times, and the food was pretty good.

                1. re: raytamsgv

                  Well, lets see. The duck came out dry as jerky, and the skin was rendered of all its fat and juices -- to say it was crispy would be an understatement.

                  Our mushroom and tofu dish was so bland we could still taste clumps of cornstarch in the sauce. Not a good thing.

                  Another problem was that our shrimp dish came out tasting like ... beef!

                  One of my less courageous dining companions chalked it up the red "C" that seems to adorn that place like it's part of the decor. I could care less about what the health dept. thinks of the place, I just know that I could better food at about 100 other places within a 5 mile radius of Embassy.

            2. Hey aventinus,

              You can also try:

              * Lu Ding Gee for Peking Duck and Beijing-style dishes.
              * Sea Harbour for, IMHO, the best Hong Kong Dim Sum around.
              * 101 Noodle Express for the best handmade Dumplings and great Shan Dohng Chicken (De Zhou Pah Ji).

              101 Noodle Express
              1408 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801

              Lu-Din Gee Cafe
              1039 E Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

              Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
              3939 Rosemead Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

              1. We ate at Giang Nan, in Monterey Park, over the weekend on Chowhounder Jerome's recommendation. It's a Northern Chinese restaurant and it helped opened my eyes to Chinese food outside of traditional Cantonese food. The fish with tofu, Pig's knuckle(a terrible translation- really a pork shank nicely presented), and the chicken w/chestnut claypot were really wonderful.

                1. Check out Kam Hong Garden for Northern Chinese food with hand cut and hand pulled noodles (see discussion @ http://www.chowhound.com/topics/469880).

                  Seconding Mei Long Zhen.

                  Also, I like Yi Mei, especially for Northern Chinese / Taiwanese style breakfast. And they now even have an English menu.

                  1. You might want to pick up Chinese Foo finder Los Angeles & the San Gabriel Valley by Carl Chu

                    It breaks Chincese found down by regions, then style of cusines in those regions then specific dishes then restaurants that serve them. It has some of my fovrite restaurants in it. :-)

                    1 Reply
                    1. Your welcome! I admit a guilty pleasure is the food court in Arcadia in a shopping center at Durate & Golden Weest. Not fancy but good inexpensive Chinese food from different regions. Just brwose and see what looks tempting Also you can get dim sum and BBQ to go at the Full House Seafood Restaurant stall. Also some of the best Chinese-French fusion pastries at RJ Pasterie neat the entrance of the food court.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: SeaCook

                        Full House has excellent dim sum - Mrs. O and I, who NEVER go out alone for dim sum, dropped in one day and utterly stuffed ourselves for $15. That food court next door has improved a lot since the recent remodel. Also, the anchor tenant is a 99 Ranch supermarket, with a hot-foods setup and a good bakery in the big entrance hall.

                        1. re: SeaCook

                          I love the food court, even though the food isn't that great, the price makes up for it. It's like $3.10 for 2 items with rice and soup. The restaurants next to the Full House outlet all suck, like the Curry house thing. But the one on the far right corner right next to the curry place is the best choice.

                        2. hmmm, Mei Long Village is popular in our family. We like Dong Ting Spring a lot and plan to hit it when we are in town this summer. We also like Hong Yei which is perhaps further out the 10. I believe I did a lengthy review of them last fall.

                          I have to say, I'm curious as to why you say bleh to Uighur? For one thing, China Islamic is NOT Uighur---muslimish maybe but not uighur. And for another, how can anyone say no to shaved noodles and cumin lamb?

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: jenn

                            Bleh to China Islamic, not Uighur. I hate the thick scallion bread at China Islamic and don't understand why people like it. It's just a thick blob of bitter dough with scallions. I found the dishes simplistic, oily, and unrefined. Shaved noodles I have yet to try, unfortunately, and I don't eat lamb. People look for different things in a restaurant; big meat and bread eaters may love the place.

                            1. re: aventinus

                              I don't like the big chewy bread either. Get the thin bread and it's much better.

                            2. re: jenn

                              I'm curious. Chowhounders prefer Mei Long Village to Green Village? To me this was no contest. Though Mei Long Village was good, Green Village was in another league--like, one of my favorite restaurants in LA.

                              1. re: aventinus

                                hmmm, to me they are completely different restaurants and I have favorites at each place. But when we go out to dinner with our picky Chinese friends, they pick Mei Long Village.

                                1. re: jenn

                                  Huh, that's interesting. When we go with our picky chinese shanghai friends, they put Mei Long Village down at the lower end of shanghai style places. They wonder why there seems to be a lot of "foreigners", (white people) at MLV -- my guess is J Gold and chowhound. I think they are not a fan of their XLB is the main reason, skins too thick, etc. We used to pick Green Village over MLV, but last time we were sorely dissapointed. They tried to pass a XLB fried upside down as a Sheng Jian Bao and another dish was undercooked, as in the pork was still cold in the middle. I wrote this off to a one time occurance, but my wife is a one-strike and you're out since there is so much competition out here. We currently are eating a shanghai place on the second floor of the 99 ranch center.

                                  I would like to get your friends who are high on MLV and my friends that are not so hot on it and have them duke it out! Nah, it would be interesting as to why there's the difference there.

                                  1. re: zruilong

                                    Seems to me like nobody can agree on SGV restaurants. It may be that we all are interested in different foods, and the restaurants excel in different areas. I don't eat pork so the oft-discussed XLB are irrelevant to me.

                                    1. re: zruilong

                                      but more importantly, what shanghai place on the 2d floor of 99 ranch? We used to go to the one that seemed to spontaneously convert to a hunan restaurant. We were sad about the transition for about 5 minutes [during which time we mourned the loss of ningbo fish] which was how long it took us to peruse the Hunan place menu and find the twice cooked pork. yum.

                                      1. re: jenn

                                        I think the Hunan place you refer to is Dong Ting Chun. It has some fascinating flavors and incredibly spicy foods, spicier than Yunchuan Garden and Chung King. I want to go back but there are so many more places to try.

                              2. This one is a pub-like restaurant that has good Taiwanese snack type food and brewed beers.

                                633 S San Gabriel Blvd
                                Ste 105
                                San Gabriel, CA 91776
                                (626) 287-0688

                                1. I recently discovered the Mandarin Noodle deli in Temple City. Check out their green onion pancakes and their spicy wontons - they are worth the drive alone!