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Apr 19, 2010 01:53 PM

Hengyang Chilli King Is Gone; Gui Lin Cuisine Opens In Its Place

Driving along Garvey Ave., today I noticed a brand new restaurant just east of Garfield Ave., Gui Lin Cuisine. However, it was only when I parked and walked into the restaurant that I realized that this had been the location of Hengyang Chilli King. Consequently, unless they've relocated somewhere else, hounds are going to have to elevate one of the other Sichuan or Hunan places in the SGV as the top hot spot in the area. The menu at Gui Lin Cuisine features Guilin rice noodles, both and soup and dry form. Frankly, in looking at the non-noodle dishes on the menu, I couldn't tell you if these were Guilin specialities or not. I would comment, though, that the pan fried Guilin rice noodles were terrific.

As an aside, this particular location, 138 E. Garvey Ave., #C, is proving to be a very unstable location. Gui Lin is the fourth restaurant in this location since it was converted to restaurant use less than three years ago. Any feng shui experts care to comment?

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  1. The one on Garvey has been bad for a while -- we went there maybe 4 months ago thinking it was still the same owner as Hunan Chili King on Valley, and the place was desolate on a weekend evening, and it was clear that they weren't doing so well. Ingredients didn't seem fresh, which is what happens when people start deserting a place.... We went to the one on Valley the other night, and it seems to be doing a brisk business & food tasted good.

    I remember that Tony C and others had speculated that the place had the same owners, since the menu and decorations were the same. My understanding (I don't remember where I heard this) is that the owners of the one on Garvey moved to Valley, and that the ownership of the older spot (on Garvey) had changed. I could be totally wrong, though.

    We did notice another Hunan place across the street from Hunan Chili King on Valley which has the exact same style of colored banners on the wall inside. I don't remember the name off the top of my head - anyone been there?

    7 Replies
    1. re: will47

      Hunan Chilli King and Henyang Chilli King definitely had the same ownership when the latter opened up a little over a year and a half ago, as the two restaurants utilized a joint business card. Don't know what happened after that, though. On Valley Bl., are you thinking about Hunan's Restaurant, with the lineage to the Hunan's Restaurant in Alhambra that burned down a couple of years ago?

      1. re: Chandavkl

        Yeah - I had always heard the ownership was the same. Either way, it was definitely awful by the time we tried it.

        As far as the new place, I think it's 湖南饭店 (Hunan Fandian; Hunan Restaurant or something seems to be the English name, at least on the banner) at 529 E Valley, #108 on the outer corner - you can see inside the restaurant if you're standing outside Hunan Chili King. On Google street view, looks like it used to be a Korean BBQ place, but you can see the "coming soon" banner for the Hunan place.

        Anyone been here yet?

        1. re: will47

          I've been to Hunan Restaurant - which is, as Chandavkl mentioned, the re-location of the former Hunan's in Alhambra. It replaced the Korean BBQ place last Fall.

          I thought Hunan was very good, I really enjoyed it. I ate there with a large group, so I got to sample several dishes. I've only tried a few items at Hunan Chili King, with no overlap among dishes, so I can't really compare the two head to head.

          1. re: JThur01

            Make it Hunan's on Valley as well...they've finally got signage up.

            1. re: JThur01

              Are you thinking of the Hunan Seafood on Valley in Rosemead, which is where I understood Hunan in Alhambra moved to?
              If so, Hunan Seafood on Valley, between Walnut Grove & Rosemead Blvd. is excellent, very popular, and oh so good.

              Hunan Seafood Restaurant
              8772 E Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

              1. re: carter

                No, this is a different location--529 E. Valley, north side of street, just west of San Gabriel Bl. It took the same name as the original restaurant on Valley Bl. in Alhambra, as opposed to the differently named (but same lineage) Hunan Seafood in Rosemead.

                Hunan Seafood Restaurant
                8772 E Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

                1. re: Chandavkl

                  Just checked into the ABC licensing of both places, and apparently the two Huang family members split after the fire, with one going to San Gabriel and the other to Rosemead. Checking the former ABC Alhambra listing yields two different sir-names, yet the same last name, each of which is on one of the licenses at the new locations.
                  Got that!
                  Obviously both could not keep the same name of the restaurant.
                  I got my info initially from a late-2008 article in the Meekly by J. Gold.

    2. 7 Star Gui Lin Mi Fun started radio ads this week:
      T: 626-280-9818

      30 varieties of noodles, specializing in braised beef, truck load of spices in the soup base. Place has been dead, but Citi diner is getting popular. Someone explain that to me.

      5 Replies
      1. re: TonyC

        Thanks for the tip. Where is this 7 Star place?

        1. re: Chandavkl

          I believe it's the same address as in your original post (where HCK was):

          Qī​xīng​ Guì​lín​ Mífěn (七星桂林米粉)
          138 E. Garvey Ave., #C
          Monterey Park, CA 91755

          1. re: Mr. Roboto

            I see--a different Chinese name. Thanks.

        2. re: TonyC

          My wife is from Xuchang Henan, not Guilin, but when we lived together in Henan and then Shanghai, rice noodle soups were always our favorite. Every time we traveled we always looked for little shops serving rice noodles - all over Henan, the greater Shanghai area, Guangzhou, Yunnan. So while I wouldn't say either of us are experts on the subject, in her 25 years and my 3 years in China we have eaten a fair amount of rice noodle soups.

          After sitting down to a bowl of Suan Ma La Da Chang Mi Fen (Listed as the special hot soup with beef but we substituted pig intestine for beef) at this restaurant, my wife announced it was the best rice noodle soup she had ever had. And I have to agree.

          We have since been back about 6 times in three weeks and never been disappointed. We also really enjoyed the Shui Zhu Niu Rou (Can't remember what it is called in English but translates as Water Cooked Beef).

          Also the Xiao Long Bao across the street at Ma Lu's Dumplings (Yi Kou Fu) were as good as the places we frequented in Shanghai. All in all the corner of Garvey and Garfield is now our favorite spot in California.

          1. re: RedKris

            We went there today for lunch and came back a bit disappointed.
            We ordered the Special Hot Soup with Beef, and also a dryish noodle dish. The dry noodle dish came with a bowl of liquid which the waitress asked us to pour into it. After that, both dishes tasted the same - quite salty with lots of pickled vegetables, some beef, and some Sichuan peppercorns to give the "ma la" sensation. We also ordered the wontons in chili oil, and again these were nothing special.
            Having made the mistake of ordering two noodle dishes - we wanted to try something different - and looking at the picture gallery on the wall, we asked for the one dish that looked pretty dryish - a different waitress (who spoke more English than the other one) said it could be chicken or duck, but would take some time. We said OK - and she came back saying duck and 10 mins - we okayed it. This was a hotpot on a burner - lots of duck pieces with pineapples (that was not evident from the picture) and bubbling in a small amount of broth with cabbages and with a slightly muddy texture. Lots of fine bones - while not bad, it was also nothing special!

            I miss Hengyang Chili King in this location - but will now have to go to the other location to get that hot fix.

            Chili King
            10623 Hawthorne Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90304