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Heading out to San Gab Valley for Chinese...Clueless

designjb Sep 18, 2008 03:19 PM

Please help. Husband and I would love to go out to San Gabriel Valley for some Chinese dinner. There are so many choices, I don't know where to begin.

We are open to all types of food. I think we would prefer not to go to a noodle house and not something too spicy. I've been to a few places in Chinatown (Sam Woo-Yum!, Yang Chow-OK, Ocean Seafood-OK, Golden Dragon-our usual). But I would love to try something out in SGV. I love Yang Chow-style fried rice. We usually older things like chicken in spicy salt, Mongolian beef, Shrimp with Lobster sauce. Boy, if anyone served Crispy aromatic duck (London-style) we would be in heaven!! I don't know if I am providing you with any helpful information.

Anyways, we will be heading over there on a Friday or Saturday night from Pasadena. Any suggestions (especially with web sites so we can view the menu) would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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  1. b
    bulavinaka RE: designjb Sep 18, 2008 04:37 PM

    The first respondent, Ipsedixit, is a walking bible of culinary info and knows word for word the chapters on local Chinese cuisines. I think he's right if you can offer some more direction, but seeing that you mentioned duck (forgive me for not knowing what London-style is), you might try searching "Triumphal Palace" on this sight and maybe even "Beijing-" or "Peking-style duck" as well for starters. Triumphal Palace is well known for dim sum, but they do dinner as well.

    A couple of other more-or-less Cantonese-style places that are held in high esteem for their skills at dim sum as well as dinner are Sea Harbour and Elite. These two are at the top of most's lists for the best dim sum but excel for more formal dinner meals as well.

    Elite Restaurant
    700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

    Triumphal Palace
    500 W Main St, Alhambra, CA 91801

    Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
    3939 N. Rosemead Blvd., Rosemead, CA 91770, USA

    1. a
      aventinus RE: designjb Sep 18, 2008 06:01 PM

      I like Seafood Village on Garvey. It's Chiu Chow food--generally fresh ingredients, light preparations, not spicy. Similar to Cantonese.

      1 Reply
      1. re: aventinus
        Das Ubergeek RE: aventinus Sep 19, 2008 09:40 PM

        I agree with aventinus -- Chiu Chow (Teochew, Chaozhou, it goes by a lot of names) is sort of a sub-set of Cantonese cuisine. The house crab (usually under $10 a lb.) is well worth the price, and get Chiuchow jook (rice porridge with seafood) instead of rice. Also, don't be shocked to receive sweet porridge at the end of your meal -- this is very common in Chiu Chow cuisine.

      2. e
        exilekiss RE: designjb Sep 18, 2008 09:29 PM

        Hi designjb,

        I'd second bulavinaka's choices: For a nice dinner in the SGV, something not spicy and not noodle-based, Elite or Sea Harbour are Cantonese / Hong Kong-cuisine restaurants, with a nice selection of traditional authentic classics and progressive cuisine as well.

        They will usually carry a good selection of Live Seafood if you want to splurge on items like Fresh Steamed (Live) Fish, or Fresh Steamed (Live) Prawns (so good!), Lobsters, Crabs and more. Besides that, they have plenty of nice HK Chicken, Pork, Beef, Vegetable dishes, etc.

        I'm not sure what "London-style Duck" is like, but if you're really in the mood for a crispy skin Peking Duck, you should try Lu Ding Gee (it's not as great as the Quan Ju Deh, but QJD is sadly long gone). Still this place specializes in Peking Duck (You have to call 1 hour ahead to reserve the duck).

        If you want Shanghai cuisine (majority of dishes are not spicy), you can try Mei Long Village and order their Pork Pump, Xiao Long Bao (Great Soup Dumplings) amongst other items. Enjoy! :)

        Mei Long Village
        301 W Valley Blvd Ste 112, San Gabriel, CA 91776

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

        2 Replies
        1. re: exilekiss
          fdb RE: exilekiss Sep 20, 2008 09:30 AM

          Lu Din Gee is a great suggestion.


          1. re: exilekiss
            Peripatetic RE: exilekiss Sep 22, 2008 01:48 PM

            "I'm not sure what 'London-style Duck' is like"

            It may be "Crispy Aromatic Duck", a simplified version of Peking duck that is ubiquitous in Chinese restaurants in England:


          2. raytamsgv RE: designjb Sep 19, 2008 12:02 PM

            I'd recommend Elite for dinner. It serves Cantonese-style seafood and is easily one of the best restaurants in the SGV for both dim sum and dinner. You might have to call in advance about the duck, though.

            Although you like the older American-Cantonese cooking, you might want to check out Seafood Village. They serve Chiu-chow style food, which is a subset of general Cantonese cooking. Chiu-chow cooking emphasizes braises and sauces instead of traditional Cantonese stir-fry, so it's lighter. Unlike Cantonese cooking, the spices they use tend to have more of a kick. I think the one in Temple City is better than the one in Monterey Park.

            Shanghai food is also very good. They have lots of great dumplings. This style tends to use more sugar in their sauces than Cantonese cooking. The SGV has a number of good Shanghai restaurants.

            If you want more information, please check out my collection of restaurant reviews: http://www.geocities.com/raytamsgv/ch...

            5 Replies
            1. re: raytamsgv
              AGENT FOODIE RE: raytamsgv Sep 20, 2008 04:31 AM

              you should try one of the islamic chinese restaurants...though not sure which ones are good its been a long time since ive been over there.

              1. re: raytamsgv
                Bert RE: raytamsgv Sep 22, 2008 12:43 PM

                I'd also recommend Elite. And if you're looking for duck, they also do a fantastic Peking duck for $20 (really crispy, light skin). add $8, and you can have the rest of the duck served to you as a second dish (choice of a soup or my preference, which is chopped up and served in lettuce cups). duck 2 ways for $28 is a steal.

                you're not going to find much mongolian beef or shrimp with lobster sauce in the SGV, though the one westernized dish that's everywhere (and is very good at elite) is the honey-walnut shrimp (deep fried shrimp with a honey-mayo sauce and served with glazed walnuts). that may be to your liking as well.

                1. re: Bert
                  bulavinaka RE: Bert Sep 22, 2008 12:55 PM

                  First paragraph - drool... drool...

                  Second paragraph - more drool... drool... getting a towel...

                  1. re: Bert
                    chowmominLA RE: Bert Sep 22, 2008 03:00 PM

                    My vote is for Elite. As mentioned the Peking duck "two ways" is exceptional. You need not order the Peking Duck in advance at Elite. The dry scallop/egg white fried rice is also wonderful. I don't know if they have it for dinner but the egg custard tarts and the noodles in XO sauce are also my favorites.

                    The Peking duck at Lu Din Gee is also divine but their other dishes are good but not so traditional (e.g. spinach pasta and clams in a tomato sauce!!!); I'd suspect the OPs would like something more traditional like Elite.

                    1. re: chowmominLA
                      chowmominLA RE: chowmominLA Sep 22, 2008 11:47 PM

                      I'm being a food geek and looking at Elite's menu :0)

                      I'd recommend the Peking duck two ways (although it's $32, not $28), the honey walnut shrimp, the sauteed beef with garlic and black pepper (never had that but I'd guess it's the closest thing they have to Mongolian beef) and the scallop/egg white fried rice.

                      Oh and please try the "Fish Rad with Bamboo Fungers". Dying to know what that's all about.

                      Gah... I'm so hungry now!

                2. j
                  jaymor RE: designjb Sep 22, 2008 03:41 PM

                  if you liked the sam woo in downtown la chinatown, there are several sam woo's in the sgv area.....if you like roast duck try the one on valley blvd and del mar ave in the mall where the ranch 99 market is.....always crowded though so allocate time for a wait from 5 to 30 minutes depending on when you get there and what day of the week.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jaymor
                    raytamsgv RE: jaymor Sep 22, 2008 04:34 PM

                    Most of the Sam Woos are not related to each other except by name. Avoid the one on Las Tunas (in San Gabriel). It is located in the Albertson's mall.

                    1. re: raytamsgv
                      luikwong RE: raytamsgv Dec 21, 2009 11:29 AM

                      Agree with raytamsgv that the Sam Woo on Las Tunas is terrible. Have some of the worst experience ever!!!

                  2. j
                    jonjax71 RE: designjb Sep 22, 2008 04:18 PM

                    I have always liked the Panda Inn on east Foothill Bl, just west of Rosemead. it's the parent company of the Panda Express fast food chain however this is a fine restaurant for Mandarin and Szechwan style. It has been there for about 30 years now and it never fails, no not upper echelon cuisine but way above average. I love the steamed whole snapper Why leave the HQ city of the San Gabriel Valley?, after all Pasadena is the "Crown of the Valley"

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jonjax71
                      raytamsgv RE: jonjax71 Sep 22, 2008 04:37 PM

                      Pasadena may be the "Crown of the Valley" but when it comes to good Chinese food, it's a pretender to the throne. I'm sure some folks will love the Chinese restaurants there, but I'd highly recommend other restaurants in Monterey Park, San Gabriel, Alhambra, and Rosemead. There's just a much larger variety. I personally think the food tastes better, and you get more for your money. Just my $.02.

                      1. re: raytamsgv
                        ipsedixit RE: raytamsgv Sep 22, 2008 09:59 PM

                        Couldn't agree more re: Pasadena.

                        Best bet in Pasadena (and I use "best" liberally) is probably Fu-Shing.

                    2. d
                      designjb RE: designjb Dec 21, 2009 10:58 AM

                      I am revisiting this topic. I am just wondering if there's something new since the last posts. Or if these are still the classics/standards and the best options to choose from. Thanks for your help.

                      PS. We're not concerned with Crispy Aromatic Duck. We've searched high and low and found we need to go to London to get this. Thanks though.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: designjb
                        luckattack RE: designjb Dec 22, 2009 07:15 AM

                        You should stay away from Seafood Village on Garvey. They sell you live seafood but do a bait and switch and give you some dead seafood instead. Rip off.

                        1. re: designjb
                          cant talk...eating RE: designjb Dec 22, 2009 10:07 AM

                          Hi - I recently went back to MPV Seafood rest. on Valley and New Ave. Here's an older thread on it: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/351555

                          I think it's a really good bet as far as a good, comfortable intro to a "classic" SGV Chinese restaurant. Giant seafood tanks, fresh ingredients, photos of lots of dishes on the walls (confusing/misleading names of dishes is sort of a given) good service (incl. at least one English-speaking waiter).

                          My first choice would probably still be Newport Seafood in San Gabriel - they moved fairly recently into a much bigger/nicer space, on the south side of Las Tunas.

                          Both are good bets for non-spicy but authentic Chinese with a readable menu in a comfortable setting.

                          MPV BBQ Seafood Restaurant
                          545 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                          Newport Tan Cang
                          518 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                          1. re: cant talk...eating
                            ipsedixit RE: cant talk...eating Dec 22, 2009 01:08 PM

                            I like Newport Seafood quite a bit, but technically it's a Vietnamese-Cantonese restaurant, with an emphasis on the Vietnamese.

                            Still, good, but if one is looking for traditional Chinese then Newport might be a bit of an awkward fit.

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