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New to Valley Blvd. (San Gabriel): Hua Mei (sp) Szechuan Palace

In my last visits I've noticed a flurry of activity in the former Golden Cafe at 172 E. Valley in San Gabriel (a short distance past the Hawaii Supermarket). Last night I noticed it was open - Hua Mei Szechuan Palace. Don't hold me to the name, I only caught a brief glimpse passing by. Any reports will be good. I'll be open minded, but they will have to be pretty good to match the existing Szechuan/Sichuan places. Particularly to be on a pace with the two that opened last year (New Chongqing and Shu Feng Yuan).

In other news, Shu Feng Yuan in Focus Plaza now has a cold table. Albeit, only 10 items, but...still.

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  1. Thanks for the find. I'll have to check it out when I get back from Toronto. Well probably several days after since I have to recover from this trip first. Somehow I hit 6 dim sum restaurants in 6 hours today. (Don't ask--it involves lots of leftovers.)

    5 Replies
    1. re: Chandavkl

      Are you going to post it on the Ontario board? Or just tease us about it?

      1. re: ipsedixit

        No, since posting on the Ontario board would be preaching to the choir as there are a number of local Chinese food experts there. Out of habit I went to Sam Woo Seafood, as well as Fantasy Eatery for dinner. I'll eventually blog it, which as you know is not a food blog.

        -----
        Sam Woo Seafood Restaurant
        727 N Broadway Ste 215, Los Angeles, CA 90012

            1. re: kevin

              Click on 'Chandavkl' and you will find the blog link in the profile.

      2. Drove by today and it didn't appear to be in business yet. Were they actually doing business when you went by?

        4 Replies
        1. re: Chandavkl

          Couldn't tell, but lights were all on, including signage.

          1. re: JThur01

            Shades still drawn and not open for business.

            1. re: Chandavkl

              I also drove by tonight and it was dark with a sign on the door (granted it was after 9PM). I have to assume they were just working in there the night I went by and the lights were on.

              I was early to the point of premature on this one.

              1. re: JThur01

                Apologies for jumping the gun on this one. Instead of "I noticed it was open", I should have written "last night, it appeared as if it might be open". Signifigantly different and decidedly more accurate. However, I was doing the neck crane while driving down Valley and I thought it better to turn back around and focus on the road. I truly could not tell.

        2. Why would you recommend Shu Feng Yuan? Went w/ friends last week and found every single dish to be either tasteless or affirmatively awful. The scallion pancake, for example, was beyond greasy and had no taste. The so-called don-don noodles were like spaghetti w/ some kind of brown tasteless gravy. Please help me understand why anyone would go to this restaurant?

          4 Replies
          1. re: silk

            Re: Shufeng Yuan

            I'm not JThur01, but Shufeng is pretty good, although not my favorite for Sichuan.

            As to the dan dan mien you might have had, perhaps it was not Sichuan dan dan mien that you were served, but rather peanut sesame noodles, which is also on the menu but much milder than typical dan dan mien.

            And I did not even realize that Shufeng had scallion pancakes on the menu. Interesting.

            Which one did you go to? The one in San Gabriel or Rowland Heights?

            1. re: silk

              Can't imagine you're talking about Shufeng Yuan in Rowland heights. It's good eats. The spicy dishes are spicy. The cold marinated items (eg spicy beef tendons) are very flavorful and excellent. The chicken with peppers, a dish with more red chiles than chicken could not possibly be flavorless or awful.

              1. re: silk

                Szechuan tasteless? I don't see scallion pancakes on their menu. Was it on the specials board? That's an odd item for a Szechuan place. The noodles, yes, if you're expecting the regular Szechuan Cold Noodle, Shu Feng's is not that spicy and is peanut and sesame. Not bad, just different...and mild. I can't comment on the Dan Dan Mien as I haven't had it. For spicy cold noodles, go to New Chongqing or Yunchuan Garden. Shu Feng is my favorite for Szechuan because they don't tone down the heat. Something I can't say for some other restaurants.

                1. re: JThur01

                  I did find scallion pancake on Shu Feng's menu (with so many SGV restaurants having 120-150+ item menus, it is very easy to overlook a particular item ).

                  All I can say is sorry that you had such a bad experience, I've been to Shu Feng several times and never had anything there that was less than outstanding. Again, I can't comment on the dan dan mien you had, but as ipsedixit points out there is another far less spicy noodle dish on the menu. Perhaps it was down to a simple mix-up. I've had the peanut/sesame noodle and it was good, though definitely not spicy/hot.

              2. This place is open now. Had a late lunch around 2PM today with the parents. They're offering a grand opening special of 20% off. Upon asking the waiter how long they've been open, he replied three days.

                The report? Dishes were way oversalted and much too oily, even for szechuan cooking. We tried a total of four dishes: yu xiang qie zi (stir-fried eggplant), gan chao yu pian (dry stir-fried fish slices, a house special), zi ran yang rou (cumin with lamb), and a pork kidney dish whose name escapes me. I'm not sure if I can attribute the saltiness to new opening kinks to be worked out, but the dishes could've used close to half the salt level. The dining area is nice and large, but barely anyone was there which could just be attributed to the time in which we went. All in all, with the number of szechuan places to eat, I doubt Hua Mei will last all that long unless there are people out there who are used to that level of salt. Additionally, for those who have qualms over places with a low Health Dept. rating, Hua Mei displays a C. It certainly doesn't bother me, but to each their own.