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Chuen Hing -- another Chiu Chow option in SGV

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Seafood Village gets alot of love on these boards when the topic of Chiu Chow cuisine comes up and --generally speaking -- rightfully so. It's good Cantonese/Chui Chow grub at a very, very good price point.

But sometimes the maddening crowds at Seafood Village (esp. the Temple City locale) can be frustratingly long.

So, if you're looking for an alternative, give Chuen Hing in Rosemead a try.

Bypass the regular menu items, speak with the hostess and figure out what's on tap or what the kitchen has in store.

Here's a rundown of our damage.

1. [For those squeamish and politically correct, turn away for a moment]. Best dish of the night, shark fin's soup. If you're a fan, get it. You. Owe. It. To. Yourself.

2. Cold steamed crab. Unlike the garlic-laden version at Seafood Village, this one is steamed and served chilled, accompanied with a black vinegar/sesame oil dipping sauce. So much the better and easier to pickup and gnaw on without getting all that garlic grease on yourself. Plus, you get to savor the subtle sweetness of the crab ... and nothing is quite like cold crab roe washed down with Tsingtao beer.

3. Braised goose with bok choy, bamboo, and mushrooms. Savory and chewy (but in a good way). It's combined with the goose innards, which provides a nice contrast to the meatier portions of the goose.

4. Cuttlefish. Sort of a letdown, a bit too chewy and dense for my tastes.

5. Salted vegatables with beef stomach. This dish takes some getting used to, but it is a nice savory dish. Not a favorite of mine, but others in our group really enjoyed it.

Couple of warnings if decide to try it out: Cash only and many of specials require a 1-day advance notice (incl. the aforementioned shark fins soup).

CHUEN HING RESTAURANT
8450 Garvey Ave, Rosemead

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  1. Thanks for the report, ipsedixit. Have to go.

    Last time we visited Seafood Village (after getting used to the fish smell), we ordered three dishes, two of which were great, but the third was off-putting (perhaps because of some mushroom flavor that our palates did not harmonize with). I suspect choosing dishes at these Chiu Chow restaurants is 90% of the game!

    1. I don't know how anybody finds tht place. I never knew it was there until somebody posted on this board about it a couple of years ago.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Chandavkl

        It helps when you're involved in the industry.

      2. Cold steamed crab and braised goose...now that's what I am talking about!

        Got to try that. Thanks for the review!

        See, it's difficult to find a true Chiu Chow (or Teochew or Chao Zhou) restaurant here. Cantonese interpretation of Chiu Chow is still a bit different.

        I used to visit this restaurant called Chow Chow on Garvey but it closed down years ago. That was one of the more authentic Chiu Chow place. They actually had Chiu Chow porridge, which is vastly differently what Cantonese style.

        I have to say this about the fried crab/garlic cos of Seafood Village. That is hardly a true Chiu Chow dish. Chiu Chow dishes are supposed to be lighter in taste compared to Cantonese dishes. Deep fried dishes are usually kept to a minimal.

        The cold crab here being the example. And also when it comes to steaming fish.

        Cantonese way of preparing a steamed fish is steam as it is. When it's done, discard any excess soup/gravy gathered on the steamed plate. Use hot oil to blaze the steamed fish, green onions and cilantro, then splash a mixture of soy sauce/fish sauce/a pinch of fermented bean sauce.

        Chiu Chow way to preparing a steamed fish is to first garnish the uncooked fish with preserved prune, salted mustard, pieces of ginger and tomatoes. Steam the fish. When done, leave the soup/gravy intact. And serve.

        There is also one indication of a true Chiu Chow steamed fish: Pomfret. This fish is never used in Cantonese cooking.

        And of course having a dish like the cold crab means there is a cold fish prepared in a similar fashion.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Vince S

          Well, Seafood Village DOES do fish the Chiu Chow way, and they do have Chiu Chow "muei" (the soupy porridge that's not really at all like Cantonese jook).

          1. re: Vince S

            Chuen Hing does have cold steamed fish.

          2. here's the post from a couple of years ago: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/409570

            it's a good discussion on teochow cuisine. we love CHEUNG HING or CHEUN HING. thought the Gourmet article didn't do it any justice. needs some heavy expectation setting even for the adventurous.

            Disclaimers:
            - no sign, hard to find
            - solid B rating
            - zero ambiance
            - not the cleanest bathrooms
            - neon orange chopsticks or sometimes black
            - best dishes should be ordered in advance
            - can be expensive
            - cash only, please

            dishes we had last week for six adults and three small children:
            - jellyfish (the best we've had outside of asia
            )- giant dumplings with shrimp, chicken, water chestnuts (pronounced "gook fa sik lau", pic below)
            - shark's fin soup (the most shark's fin and best quality of most of its kind) (~$180)
            - abalone stew with chestnuts (my favorite dish) (~$145)
            - whole duck stuffed with sticky rice and sausage
            - fried lobster with noodles and chiles

            total bill was just over $500 without tip.

            lots of other good dishes too.

            oh, and ipse, thanks for the dessert reccs last week. this is where we had dinner. ended up at FOSSELMAN'S. huge line. it was great. thanks again.

             
            27 Replies
            1. re: revets2

              Hey good to hear!

              Yeah, that shark fin's soup was a-w-e-s-o-m-e. It was so gelatinous it was like drinking Elmer's glue.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                So how do you recommend finding this place, do you happen to have an address along with directions to it so that it will be easily findable?

                Also, do you guys know how many days in advance, I need to order to set up the special dishes?

                Should I get the cold crab, shark fin's soup, duck, and the fried pomfret? also, do i have to be able to speak chinese to make these requests or?

                thanks.

                1. re: kevin

                  Well as Ipse indicates, it's right on Garvey, in the building that once housed Quanjude Beijing Duck restaurant. However after that restaurant closed down there's little to indicate the presence of another restaurant in that building, due to the side entrance.

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  better get your SFS fix now

                  "Owner Henry Ng is closing his Rosemead restaurant, Chuen Hing, at the end of the year. His establishment relies on shark fin soup orders for special occasions such as weddings and Mother's Day.

                  "My business is primarily selling the soup. Everything else on the menu? Secondary," Ng said in Mandarin, looking around his empty restaurant"

                  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-...

                  1. re: ns1

                    yeah, that's exactly the article i read to even find out about this place in the first place.

                    yep.

                    1. re: ns1

                      Apparently the end of the year has come sooner than later.

                      Chuen Hing is done.

                      1. re: TonyC

                        Really? It closed up shop already?

                        Damn. Now where am I going to get my shark fin fix?

                        Oh well. Thanks for the heads up.

                        1. re: kevin

                          damn it, it closed! i was planning on trying it out when i come back home from NY for christmas

                          is there any other authentic chao zhou / teochew / chiu chow restaurants? Or is seafood village the only game in town?

                          I'm having a craving for it and its so hard to find in the US (i can usually only get it when i go to singapore or HK) and there is only one teochew restaurant in NY that is only a noodle shop

                          1. re: Lau

                            Nothing like Chuen Hing, just mostly noodle houses e.g. Kim Ky and Noodle Cafe.

                            888 maybe, but you have to order selectively, and carefully.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              ah damn it thats what i thought...i had my mind set on ordering fresh teochew style steamed pomfret, cold crab and maybe an oyster omelette...looks like it'll have to wait until i go back to asia next year

                              1. re: Lau

                                ipse,

                                whole steamed pomfret sounds awesome as well as cold crab,

                                where would be get these dishes???

                                1. re: kevin

                                  you need a true teochew restaurant and as far as i know chuen hing was the only real one although they said they were hong kong style teochew (there is a difference). seafood village might be the only game in town and they are more similar to HK style teochew food

                                  The pomfret and oyster omelette i was talking about might be difficult to get done properly although i bet you could try to reserve this type of stuff ahead of time

                                  However, I bet you can get the cold crab at any of the higher end cantonese places as most of them have it on their menu and it will usually say chiu chow (chiu chow is teochew in cantonese) style cold crab or something like that

                                  i lived in singapore for a little while, which has a huge teochew population (hokkien is biggest followed by teochew), so i got reasonably familiar with their food when i was there.

                                  this is what teochew pomfret looks like: http://ieatishootipost.sg/2010/01/xu-...

                                  here's what the oyster omelette looks like: http://ieatishootipost.sg/2009/04/sim...

                                  here's what the cold crab looks like (it's really good, you eat it with zhejiang black vinegar): http://www.openrice.com/english/resta...

                                  1. re: kevin

                                    actually i spoke too soon, i just found seafood village's menu online and it actually has quite alot of real teochew stuff on it

                                    #3 - cold crab
                                    #49 - the oyster omelette
                                    #59 - might be similar to the pomfret that i was talking about although it says lemon fish (which i dont know what that is) and i can't read all the chinese characters so im not 100% sure

                                    http://dineries.com/ca/montereypark/s...

                                    1. re: Lau

                                      Re: Seafood Village.

                                      Yes, it makes all those dishes, just as 888 will (but you have to insist on it).

                                2. re: ipsedixit

                                  I am chui chow. When my grandpa was around we use to go to 888.One of my favorite is a shrimp cake with chestnuts and wrap in beancurd. The shrimp cake is deep fried and serve with a sweet sauce.
                                  Another chui chow dish I like is from Kim kee. It is the spicy beef satay noodle. Squeeze a litle lime and delicous.Chui chow is suppose to be known for their satay. It is totally different from thai satay.

                                  1. re: yoyo

                                    oh wow ive only seen satay noodles once in the US, i used to like them alot when i lived in singapore, there are alot of teochew (chiu chow) stalls that serve them

                                    here's a video of a fairly famous satay bee hoon (satay mi fen / thin rice noodles in satay sauce) stall: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuhmo6...

                                    1. re: Lau

                                      Kim Kee's satay sauce is different. It is a lot darker. Kinda like X.o sauce and taiwanesse bbq sauce..My aunt's satay sauce is similar to Kim kee's satay sauce.It is very rich so I suggest to get it with egg noodle or you can get it half egg amd half rice noodle. I love ordering half and half. I feel so chinese.

                                      1. re: yoyo

                                        i think i know what you're talking about, there is a place in NY that serves something like that, its much thicker than the satay noodles id get at the teochew places in singapore

                        2. re: ipsedixit

                          Do you have to speak Chinese to go here?

                          I think I had trouble communicating with them for shark fins soup and other dishes in the future.

                          1. re: kevin

                            I always speak Chinese. So, no idea if they speak English.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Darn. I guess I won't be able to enjoy it any time soon. I'll have to see if I can go along with a Chinese-speaking friend.

                              I really do want to try the cold crab, fried lobster with chili, and shark fins soup, esp before it's barred from being served in restuarants.

                              1. re: kevin

                                Trust me, shark's fin soup will always be available at Chinese restaurants. You just have to know how to order it.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  You mean like ice tea after 2 am?

                                  1. re: Chandavkl

                                    what's ice tea after 2am in regards? (am i missing out on something. :)

                                    1. re: kevin

                                      It's a beverage that can't be sold in California between the hours of 2 am and 6 am.

                                      1. re: Chandavkl

                                        Or to people under the age of 21.

                                        1. re: Chandavkl

                                          As in, iced tea, please, wink wink.