Canton Gourmet and Bakery ... serving, of all things, Northern Chinese specialties, incl. Xian Bing (餡餅)
- ipsedixit Nov 7, 2010 10:23 AM
I searched the archives and found only veiled references to Canton Gourmet, so here goes with my prelim review of this place.
Canton Gourmet specializes in Xian Bing (餡餅), which are basically Chinese meat pies. A round empanada, if you will, or perhaps a quesadilla.
About the size of a large hamburger patty, Xian Bing is typically filled with some sort of meat, wrapped in unrisen dough. It's first pan-fried and then finished off by covering the pan and steaming it for a little bit. The optimal result should be a crunchy, yet subtly chewy skin. There should be a nice crust, but the middle of the wrapper should still be a tad white (or al dente, if you will). Oh, and for those XLB devotees, there's soup inside these things!
At Canton Gourmet they have an assortment of Xian Bing, although there other Northern dishes like noodles, incl. a rather pedestrian looking beef noodle soup and a lamb noodle dish. Also on tap are XLB and wontons of different varieties.
But the raison d'etre to come to Canton Gourmet is for the Xian Bing. There's beef, pork, lamb and 3 flavors (shrimp, pork and beef, as well as eggs), and quite a few others I'm forgetting. There's 12 total.
Overall these are very good, probably some of the better ones I've had recently. It's a very rich dough, you can taste the oil, but it isn't exactly greasy -- at least not greasy in a manner that you might find offensive in any way. The beef and lamb (the two we tried) could've used a bit more seasoning, but that's sort of nitpicking. The fillings overall were nice and juicy (I'm guessing a good bit of shank and perhaps even oxtail went into the beef filling).
Some of the cold and pickled dishes were noteworthy, incl. the seaweed as well as the duck tongue and daikon (where they get the daikon nowadays?).
(As an aside, the owner related to me a rather interesting anecdote of how he finally finagled his fortuitous phone number. For those who appreciate Chinese numerology, you'll appreciate his efforts.)
CANTON GOURMET AND BAKERY (大餡餅)
846 East Garvey Ave
Northern Chinese Restaurant
Mandarin Noodle Deli (closed)
Kang Kang Food Court.
New Mandarin Noodle Deli
9537 Las Tunas Dr, Temple City, CA 91780
Kang Kang Food Court
27 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801
Northern Chinese Restaurant
8450 Valley Blvd Ste 108, Rosemead, CA 91770
I think it's worth mentioning that I had two truly awesome bowls of beef noodle soup here.
The noodles were thick, unevenly cut, beautiful.
The chunks of beef were beautiful, soft, meaty chunks with not a hint of gristle.
The broth itself was rich and deeply flavored.
But on my third visit? The beef was a bit sinewy. Disappointing after two phenomenal experiences.
But still, go for the beef noodle soup and cross your fingers that it'll be a good bowl.
re: Mr Taster
I ordered the beef noodle soup solely based on your rec.
I found it decent but not among the best I've had in the area. The high point were the noodles but I found that if you didn't scarf it down fast enough, they became unappealingly soggy. The broth was likable but ultimately one dimensional (I thought much the same of the same dish across the plaza at Kam Hong). Good beef though; not at all hard or tough.
As for the other goods: the xian bing was great though all that oil inside was a bit off-putting (man, I've gotten overly conscious ever since I found out my cholesterol was high. Bummer). I enjoyed the homeland meat cake too but the sweetness threw me off. Needs more saltiness and a hit of vinegar to balance it all out.
I'd definitely go back again but you really need a group of 4+ of possible. That way, everything gets eaten quickly and the crispy skin on the pies and cake won't have time to get soggy