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Chung King: changed menu? Management?

Will Owen Apr 22, 2009 12:13 PM

Went with Mrs. O and our out-of-town visitor to Chung King in San Gabriel Monday night. We were delighted to see it packed with Asian kids, out in twos and threes for the most part, having real food and enjoying it; look, guys, there's hope for the world! Delight faded somewhat, however, when we searched the menu for our old favorites and found at least two missing. Our friend's favorite dan dan noodles were gone, as were our beloved salty/prickly ash pork ribs. Unfortunately, our server was very much limited in the English department, and it was just too crowded and busy for us to want to go find a manager of some sort, so we found other things to order, plus our favorite cold appetizers (pig ear, seaweed, peanuts w/dried fish), and wound up with twice as much really good food as we could eat in one sitting: red-braised beef noodles, a stir-fried lamb dish with leeks, and a very large mess of duck chunks in a gravy with garlic shoots, bamboo shoots, and strips of the gelatinous bean substance that looks like some form of marine life. And of course lots of chopped or whole chile pods in everything.

The guest insisted on picking up the tab, so I didn't see it, but our dishes averaged around $10 apiece, and I think the appetizers are $5+ for any three, and we drank only tea. So I'm guessing $40-something with tax and tip. And there's a bunch of it in the fridge downstairs, which I am just about to have for lunch.

In the meantime, does anyone have the scoop on where our dear departed dishes went, and why?

  1. Vince S Apr 22, 2009 07:00 PM

    I can't believe I haven't checked out this place.

    I do know that the original chef left and went to SD instead. He worked with Dede's Teajuice City in Clairemont Mesa.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Vince S
      echoparkdirt Apr 23, 2009 09:56 AM

      when did the original chef leave?

      1. re: Vince S
        Will Owen Apr 23, 2009 11:23 AM

        SD? Wozzat? San Diego, San Dimas or South Dakota?

        1. re: Will Owen
          Chandavkl Apr 23, 2009 01:43 PM

          Dede's is a Sichuan restaurant in San Diego.

          1. re: Will Owen
            Vince S Apr 23, 2009 04:09 PM

            Sorry...but yes San Diego.

            (Thanks Chandavkl)

            1. re: Vince S
              k
              KirkK May 1, 2009 06:26 PM

              The original Chef at ChungKing is part owner of Ba Ren Restaurant in San Diego, and has been there for nearly six years.

        2. b
          banjoboy Apr 23, 2009 09:32 AM

          Sounds very strange, Will. Was this the location on San Gabriel Valley Boulevard? I was there a few weeks ago and the dan dan noodles were still there (in english, they are called something else on the menu...could that have been the source of the confusion?) But I can't imagine why they'd take the prickly ash ribs off the menu. They certainly use those ingredients in plenty of other dishes. Weird...

          1. k
            kevin Apr 23, 2009 04:15 PM

            You went to the original location were the chefs decamped from the first original in Monterey Park. So you were at the appropriate location, I have no clue what happened to those dishes.

            Do they still serve up the dishes with fried chicken cubs and the filet of fish in hot chile oil?

            If those have also disappeared from the menu, then we are truly in serious trouble.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kevin
              Will Owen Apr 28, 2009 10:45 AM

              To both banjoboy and kevin: yes, we went to the SG Blvd. location. I think we probably did miss the noodles because of a different name on the menu. but we searched carefully for the prickly ash ribs by ingredient description and found nothing like them. There was a pork chop dish that sounded roughly similar, but we didn't want chops.

              We weren't looking for either the fish or the chicken, so I don't know if they're on the menu or not. The chicken I have had in the past and found it very nice, but I've yet to try the fish. I'll keep it in mind and look for it next time.

            2. toitoi May 2, 2009 09:13 AM

              I have the take-out menu in front of me from about 2 or 3 months ago. It is different from the original one I had - I know, since I checked off what we ate and if we liked the dish or not. Some items had disappeared.

              The ribs are no more, but they do serve Pork Chop with Spiced Pepper Salt - never had.

              Two fish dishes I adore are Tai-An Chung King Spicy Fish Slices and Boiled Fish Slices in Hot Sauce (the better of the two).

              Bean Curd Sheet with Leek is an interesting dish. And, of course, the Spicy (Mapo) Tofu with Minced Pork. Yum!

              Szechwan Eggplant - a fine dish, as well as Fried Minced Pork W/Green & Red Pepper.

              Don't know which dish is dan-dan noodles is, but love the Szechwan Cold Noodles.

              I am soooooo hungry!!!

              7 Replies
              1. re: toitoi
                Will Owen May 2, 2009 03:19 PM

                I haven't read the article yet, but Mrs. O tells me that J. Gold reports in the latest Weekly that you can still order them - I think his phrasing is "persuade the chef to make them." Don't know if this means "Ask the waitress" or "At gunpoint"...

                1. re: Will Owen
                  c
                  condiment May 2, 2009 03:29 PM

                  I went on Friday, and the ribs were unavailable. (Although we did have the dan dan mian - I have no idea what it's called on the menu.) I asked pretty repeatedly, but settled for the pork chops in special salt, which were not even close. They do have salt and pepper ribs, but that's not quite it either. Odd and puzzling.

                  1. re: condiment
                    toitoi May 3, 2009 07:11 AM

                    Dan dan mian (noodles)

                    Looking at the menu's noodle list, there are the following, I'll list the prices too.
                    CHUNG KING FLAVORED NOODES 5.25
                    BLAND MINCED PORK NOODLES 5.25
                    RED BRAISED BEEF NOODLES 6.99
                    CHOW MEIN WITH CHICKEN (PORK, BEEF) 5.25
                    BRAISED BEEF RICE NOODLES 6.99
                    RICE NOODLES IN THREE DELICACIES SOUP 6.99
                    RICE NOODLES WITH MIXED SAUCE 5.25
                    RICE NOODLES W/PICKLED VEGETABE & PORK 5.25
                    HOT & SOUR RICE NOODLES 5.25
                    SZECHWAN COLD NOODLES 5.25

                    Perhaps, from the above you can tell us, by the ingredients, which you think is dan dan mian.

                    1. re: toitoi
                      c
                      condiment May 3, 2009 09:11 AM

                      By process of elimination, it would have to be the first of these, if it is any. But it's pretty easy just to ask for dan dan mian.

                      1. re: condiment
                        toitoi May 3, 2009 12:08 PM

                        Here's Wikipedia def.

                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_dan_noodles

                        And another, which looks totally different.

                        http://appetiteforchina.com/recipes/d...

                        There were a lot more sites when I did a search, including recipes.

                      2. re: toitoi
                        ipsedixit May 3, 2009 02:34 PM

                        SZECHWAN COLD NOODLES 5.25

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          echoparkdirt May 3, 2009 08:07 PM

                          the dan dan noodles are the first, chung king flavored noodles

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