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Nov 9, 2008 06:37 PM

Don't worry, I like being lost in the Wonton Forest.

I first heard of this restaurant after an old friend from college mentioned how another classmate had opened a noodle shop near Rowland Heights. Then, during the first week of my Foo-Foo Challenge, Murakami-san mentioned that he finally found a restaurant which serves an excellent top-notch Chinese noodle soup. So for the next month, while I was religiously driving back and forth from Foo-Foo Tei, a huge sign near the 60 freeway kept flashing "WONTON FOREST", calling me in to give them a try. And as soon as the challenge ended, Murakami-san took me there for a post-celebration on him (ありがとう).

Although Wonton Forest doesn't exactly serve a noodle in the same category as Japanese ramen, there definitely is tons of Japanese influence involved. From the J-Pop playing in the background to the chef's studies and time spent in Japan, Wonton Forest is more than worthy to be featured here on Go Ramen! (Btw, before I even mention how the food was, if the owner of Foo-Foo Tei thinks Wonton Forest is "top-notch", enough said.)

Wonton Forest Noodle Soup: This signature noodle soup, a great change of pace than what I'm normally used to, was remarkably refreshing. The lightness combined with near perfect flavor, really portrayed a classic wonton soup. I was impressed!

The fresh homemade wontons were also amazing. Half pork, half shrimp, and 100% bliss. Absolutely delicious! The other toppings include choy sum, sliced pork, flavored egg, roasted garlic, and green onions. The sliced pork was a little dry and average, but the flavored egg was unexpectedly substantial.

There are two types of egg noodles that you can choose from; thin egg noodles or thick egg noodles. It is a matter of preference, but I usually tend to prefer thick. Try them both and decide which one you prefer.

Chiu Chow Noodle Soup: I used to date a Chiu Chow girl...okay, let's not even go there. Chef Paul's Chiu Chow soup was surprisingly more refreshing than the last. It's the second most popular soup, but I'd have to declare it my first. With minced pork, shredded chicken, fresh shrimp, and little round fishballs (circular kamaboko) topped with roasted garlic, cilantro, and green onions, this soup is far more eccentric than that girl I dated. could you even resist the ingredients pictured. Add a couple wontons and you'll be that much closer to heaven...guaranteed! And yes, every soup is modifiable. This Chiu Chow soup comes with the flat chow-fun-like rice noodle but it can be easily switched out with your favorite. Flexibility is another great quality of Wonton Forest. And if you don't even feel like soup, order your favorite noodle "dry style"--a soupless mixture of oyster sesame sauce that looks and smells downright delicious. You can bet I'll be trying that next!

Homemade Chili Sauce: An intricate 3-day process that would probably make my head spin, Chef Paul swears by his homemade chili sauce and I absolutely have to agree. A simple dab into any soup can transform mediocre to magnificent. And the best part about it, you can take a jar home for only $3/bottle and create some magic of your own.

Salmon Nori Cut Roll: "Poached salmon, nori, rice noodle, cucumber, and lettuce wrapped in nori and rice paper topped with a creamy miso sauce." Need I say more. No!

Choy Sum: Chosen by Chef Paul for its sweeter taste than the usually bitter Chinese Broccoli, this Choy Sum served with a side of oyster sauce is a must order if you like an extra vegetable. I could eat this everyday...and then some.

Green Onion Pancake: Aaahh, a prototype from the "secret menu." Described as a Japanese pancake (okonomiyaki) covered in Hoisin sauce, this thinly cooked negi pancake is just waiting anxiously to get on the menu. Hopefully, YOU won't have to wait much longer.

Wonton Forest is definitely on its way to becoming great. After chatting with Chef Paul, I could honestly say he has the right mentality to run a quality restaurant. There's nothing more encouraging than a chef who works for the people and not for the money. Admirable indeed! Service is outstanding, food quality is exceptional, and overall it's extremely worth stopping by. And remember, if it's busy then it helps to be patient. Chef Paul likes to reflect his talent on every dish himself. Trust me, it'll be worth the wait!

Lunch - 11am~3pm
Dinner - 5pm~9pm
Closed on Sundays for Dinner only.

Wonton Forest
18230 Gale Ave, City of Industry, CA 91748

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  1. YUM! I totally agree. The wonton noodle soup at Wonton Forest has great flavor and balance. Most places serve wontons with ONLY shrimp. I love the fact that this place makes their wontons with a mixture of pork and shrimp. Reminds me of the wontons my grandma used to make when I was younger. Their spring rolls are also really refreshing too, the sauce its served with is addicting. Great food, reasonable prices, friendly staff, what could be better?

    3 Replies
    1. re: ra33it821

      I saw some guy, presumably a friend of the chef, order a foot-long spring roll. It was insane, but looked delicious! I hear their shrimp wontons are really good too. I can't wait to go back.

      1. re: Keizo

        looks delicious!!! Nice pictures and great write up.

        1. re: JEN10

          Thanks JEN10! I hope you get a chance to try them too.

    2. Wow, those noodle soups look very much like those at TK Noodle (the Bay Area chain that I so sorely miss). Maybe Chef Paul is also a fan :)

      Anyone know what I'm talking about, and anyone made a comparison?

      8 Replies
      1. re: ristretto

        Hi ristretto. I've never been to TK Noodle but I'll be sure to look them up the next time I visit the bay.

        1. re: ristretto

          Well, visually there's no comparison. Wonton Forest is a small restaurant with a limited menu and a little more upscale. Tung Kee, on the other hand, is a large restaurant with a larger all noodle menu, and an assembly line approach to food preparation.

          1. re: ristretto

            I was just at TK 2 weeks ago. Now I gotta try wonton forest and see how it compares. At Tk i get the combo it comes with thin egg noodles, wonton, beef balls, shrimp, chicken, cilantro. Don't forget to ask for a side bowl of pork crackilns.

            1. re: Skunk2Racer

              Yeah, the #9 and #1 at TK look like the ones in Keizo's pics. Looking forward to your comparison.

              1. re: ristretto

                Ok I Finally went to Wonton Forest today. TK Does Not Even Compare! The Wonton, Broth & Fresh Chili Sauce Run circles around TK. Wonton forest is worth the Drive from LA!

                1. re: Skunk2Racer

                  Thanks for the comparison! I guess I can skip TK the next time I'm up in the Bay area and leave room for more ramen...haha.

                  1. re: Keizo

                    Actually Keizo TK is Ok for what it is. As for the wonton & Broth compared to Wonton forest it dosen't compare. But add all the other stuff chicken, beef balls, shrimp & You Gotta ask for more cracklins on the side It's Not bad. it's funny because i tried taking mom to Foo Foo Tei But at 1:10 Pm the wait was around an hour. So I decided to try Wonton Forest instead. Thanks for Your Rec!

                    1. re: Skunk2Racer

                      Thanks for the comparison - good to know, and I'll be sure to try.
                      TK is still worth checking out, though. Nothing like a bowl of hot noodle soup after a long day's drive up the 5 from L.A.

          2. what a wonderful post. between you, streetgourmetla and exilekiss, i will be busy until well into next year with weekend trips! thanks!

            1 Reply
            1. re: alkylyou

              Thanks alkylyou! I had to go back tonight to try the shrimp wonton noodle "dry style" with the thick egg noodles. It's perfect if you're not in the mood for soup. I've attached some more pics.

            2. I completely agree, the food is uniquely refreshing. Wonton Forest provides a different taste for wontons. I love having it for lunch or dinner because the portions are good and reasonably priced. A friend of mine introduced me Wonton Forest when she became a waitress there and suggested I try it. After I tried it...I was hooked and I've been back many times since.

              The flexibility of being able to customize the soup or no soup definitely a plus; my favorite is the Wonton Forest Noodle Soup, which has the pork and shrimp wontons, choy sum, flavored egg with flat rice noodle.

              1. Keizo, my friend, you've hit a home run here. I was sitting next to you when you came in with the owner of Foo-Foo-Tei and took the original pics posted here. I think that you've presented the food and the restaurant well here, and I would have to wholeheartedly agree with your entire post.
                The Wonton Forest Noodle soup is by far my favorite, but the Chiu-Chow runs a very tight second. What I would add to your descriptions, however, is the fact that every bit of food that comes out of Chef Paul's kitchen tastes very clean. What I mean by that is that the flavors are all distinct and crisp. This is contrary to some Noodle houses where the broth is oily and the ingredients second-rate. Chef Paul actually cares that his customers taste each individual flavor, and to someone like myself, who enjoys his food, I have to say that that quality is the most important for this newly established restaurant.
                On that pancake, I tried that for the first time tonight, as Chef Paul allowed me and my girlfriend a "sneak peak" at a new menu item. I enjoyed it, but thought that it could do with a little less of the sweet Hoisin sauce. Do you agree with that? I only say this because of the flavor of the pancake itself. I found myself wanting more of that taste in my mouth and less of the sweet sauce.
                All in all, however. This restaurant is HIGHLY recommended.

                4 Replies
                1. re: DaBigBuddha

                  Hi DaBigBuddha! Were you sitting on my right? I apologize for not introducing myself, but I'm sure we'll be meeting at WF again!

                  Thanks for sharing your take. I totally agree that Chef Paul's food is "very clean." It's NOT boringly bland and it's NOT over-the-top. It's just right!

                  Well I'm a sucker for sauce so I didn't really notice that it was too much. But the best part about it is that Chef Paul is open to special accommodations cuz he cares about his customers and cuz food is so subjective to begin with. And yes, the flavor of the pancake was very good. I also found myself wanting more but the size is perfect as an appetizer to the soup.

                  1. re: Keizo

                    Yes, Keizo! That was me, and don't worry about not introducing yourself. I saw that you were on a mission! I didn't want to disturb you. That was a good add, about Chef Paul being open to accommodating his customers. It is so very true. Well, I am sure that we will see you at WF very soon. I am there at least once a week. We have to patronize those establishments we wish to keep in business, do we not? See you around.

                    1. re: DaBigBuddha

                      Went back today so I could get away from all the smoke and fires in the area. I sought comfort in the Chiu Chow w/ added wontons and of course the homemade chili sauce. Sure enough, I left pleasantly satisfied!

                      1. re: Keizo

                        Oh, I can understand that, Keizo! Chef Paul told me that you were just in there as I enjoyed a fresh batch of choy sum (oh so heavenly) and another wonton forest noodle soup. I've been feeling a bit run-down lately (heard something's going around) and a nice warm spicy soup always makes me feel better. I love adding the hoisin sauce, home-made chile-garlic sauce and some hot sauce to the broth. Oh....that makes me want to go back again right now....but it's closed. So sad!