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Feb 1, 2011 03:44 PM

Beijing Pie House

Was going through my backlog of places to try and re-discovered this LA Times link.


Went there this Saturday for lunch with the parental units. We put in 3 orders of the meat pies; lamb, beef and a pork leek combo. In addition, we got the homeland meat cake, soup dumplings and beef roll. The last two items were a mistake and I wouldn’t get them again. To call them average would be a compliment. However the meat pies and the meat cake were glorious!

The meat pies were not anything at all like I expected. I was envisioning something akin to an empanada with a baked crust and the ground meat filling inside. Instead the crust was more like a fried bun, crisp but not cracker crisp. I loved the fact it would have some give when I bit into it but there wasn’t any doughy gumminess. Furthermore despite the warning from the article, I was not ready for the inside to be so full of juices. It was like eating a pie soup dumpling! These are shaped like a hockey puck and a touch larger. When we were first seated, we each received large saucers, I thought they were for mixing your own dipping sauce. Well, they are actually just a little larger than each meat pie. The trick that worked for me was to place a pie in the saucer and gently crack it open to let the juice pour out onto the saucer. Break the pie up into manageable pieces, since the meat is pretty firm and not a loose filling, pick up with chopstick and slurp some of the juices out of the saucer. I’m not sure if this is the right way to do it but it worked for me. At least it was better than my first try when I picked up a pie, bit into it and managed to send juices spurting all over the place and down my hands. I’m sure I was an amusing sight.

Mechanics aside, I really liked all three of the fillings. Although the pork one was light on the leeks. Each meat retained it’s distinctive flavor. The seasoning was just right to my tastebuds, you just tasted the meat. I loved the combination of the crust and meat. I did like to add a touch of the table side chili oil to a bite now and then. I was intrigued by how the bun managed to keep its firmness and integrity while still containing so much juice. The inside layers past the crust wasn’t soggy gummy at all. I’ve just never had anything like this before. I want to go back and try some of the other fillings.

If the meat pies reminded me of soup dumplings, the homeland meat cake was like a savory version of a baklava. There was the multiple layers of flaky pastry with meat sandwiched in between. Although not as flaky as phyllo, the layers all retained a nice crust and flakiness but firm enough to hold up to the meat filling. Just pick up a triangle and munch away. Loved the contrast of the different layers.

Meat pies come four to an order, all around $7. The homeland meat cake contained about 10 half sandwiched sized triangles about an inch thick, an order for $9. All in all it was a great deal for wonderful food. I want to go back and try some of the appetizers and the soups. This is a small place with about a dozen four person tables. Be prepared to wait if you come during peak hours. Parking is horrendous as to be expected in this part of town.

I saw several people stop by to pick up orders to go. Seeing how well the buns held up, I’d say it’s a great option. I took home a couple of buns and a few triangles of the meat cake. Heating it up gently in the toaster oven, the quality of the crust held up pretty well without getting greasy and soggy. What was even more delightful was the filling and juices warmed fine inside and didn’t leak out during re-heating.

Overall, a successful trip in trying a new place.

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  1. Forgot the pics. Meat pie and the homeland meat cake

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jase

      looks like a fried leek cake with dumpling filling. very interested now.

    2. ah looks like the "peking burgers" my mom made when we were kids.

      1. My previous post here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/745506

        The beef noodle soup is really good.

        6 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          Ahh yes. I think that's where I got the original LA times link and filed it. I did a search for Beijing Pie House here before I posted but I didn't see anything. I had forgotten about the different name. Thanks for doing the initial leg work and giving the lead. I'll have to try the beef noodle soup next time and the appetizers.

          1. re: Jase

            If you become a regular there (and you should), they'll start giving you the "large" bowl of rice millet porridge, as opposed to the smaller (or regular) sized bowl that they present to you when you sit down.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Wait a minute? I was supposed to get a bowl of porridge? We didn't get any at all? What the heck? I feel vaguely cheated now. Not that I really needed more food I suppose.

              1. re: Jase

                Yeah, they give a free bowl of rice millet porridge when you sit down. Sort of the like the Beijing equivalent of the breadbasket.

          2. re: ipsedixit

            So wait ipse, did you try the beef noodle soup based on my rec or had you tried it before and been disappointed (you initially described it in your original review as pedestrian looking)? Like I said in my response in the other thread, we had 2 phenomenal beef noodle soup experiences and one much less impressive one (and a friend of ours had a similar experience where their initial experience with us was outstanding, and a subsequent visit was not as good). But the noodles in the soup in all instances were absolutely phenomenal, thick, irregular nodules of chewy wheaty loveliness, and the broth was complex and delicious. And when the chunks of beef are on, they are on. Hm, I think I need to get back there soon....

            Mr Taster

            1. re: Mr Taster

              I tried it before you did.

              On my first visit, I saw someone eating a bowl of it, but did not order it since I was there for the pies.

              On subsequent visits, after they posted and made mention of their hand-made noodles, I decided to give it a try and it was fabulous. I've had it personally 4 times, and I've had other people order it at my table at least 2 other separate times. Each iteration was just fine, and like you said, the noodles were like thick rubber bands (in a good way).

              Sometimes with beef noodle soup -- regardless of where you get them -- the quality of the broth will depend on happenstance. If you drop by and order it on a day when the beef broth/soup has just been made, it'll be thinner than, say, if you go a day or two later after the soup has had time to really take shape and gain some character.

          3. Nice write-up, Jase. I'll take a dozen of each for Superbowl Sunday! Here's the add:

            846 E Garvey Ave
            Monterey Park, CA 91755
            (626) 288-3818

            10 Replies
            1. re: bulavinaka

              Doh! I knew I'd forget some details. Thanks for having my back.

              Funny you mention SB. If it weren't out of my way, I would stop and get some for my contribution to the party food. My friends were drooling about it when I showed it to them. Instead I'm swinging by Sanchez and picking up some carne asada for the grill and making some wings.

              1. re: Jase

                I'm not so sure the pies travel all that well, nor do I think they reheat or hold long enough for the duration of a SB party.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I thought they traveled well. As mentioned I took a couple of pies and triangles of the meat cake home. Reheated them the next day in the toaster oven at 350-375 for about 15 minutes. I kind of go by the smell check to see when they are ready. The juices didn't leak out and the filling was warm while the crust was fine. Not as good as fresh of course but good enough for me and the wife.

                  I'm not planning to do it for the SB party anyway, but I can see putting a tray of these in the oven and serving it at once when it's ready.

                  1. re: Jase

                    Yeah, maybe you're right about reheating, although I generally prefer to reheat them by pan fry-steaming them.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      I was trying to research the availability of Northern Chinese/Beijing/Xi'an style starch based snackage for SoCal and also found this place on Yelp. Looks great! Do they have rou jia mou 肉夾饃 here as well?

                      For NorCal our best 餡餅 is pretty much limited to two places, A&Js and this Islamic Chinese place. My buddy calls the 餡餅 at A&Js "hockey pucks".

                      1. re: K K


                        I recall seeing 肉夾饃 somewhere, but cannot recall where right now. Perhaps it was Northern Chinese Restaurant, not sure. I'll post later if it comes to me.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Was it at Tianjin Bistro 京津咱家菜 in San Gabriel?

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            Perhaps it was at the short lived Nin Jie, which was in that Spanish style shopping area across from the San Gabriel Mission.

                          2. re: K K

                            this place was super tasty. the homeland pancake (pork) was perfectly done, tasty meat with right amount of meat ratio, just crisp enough layers, and not too oily. the beef meat pie had so much juice, very flavorful, and a great pocket (i like them slightly crispier on the bottom) -- so like chinjin eastern but executed better

                2. Has anyone tried the "Beijing Style Noodle?"
                  Pictured here: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/v655Ci...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                    That's basically Zha Jian Mian. Made with their handmade noodles. It's good, but with weather like this, I much prefer the Beef Noodle Soup.