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Coming into San Gabriel, Valley & Del Mar, From the 487\489 BUS

I made a thread a few weeks back that gave me tremendous help and want to thank all LA Chowhounders who helped me again. I will coming from Union Station, on the 487 489 bus and am willing to walk far as I am physically fit. What are your can't miss places and cant miss menu items I will be alone so generally will want to keep it under $10 a pop. being specific will help me i am making a list. i love exotic stuff, i will probly try golden city for pho since its supposed to be better than whats in nyc

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  1. I would take the 489 and get off on the corner of Valley and Rosemead Blvd. Then I'd walk half a block south and go to Sea Harbour for dim sum. It might be a bit more than $10, but it'll be good. I think it opens at 10AM.

    33 Replies
    1. re: raytamsgv

      thanks, i really like noodle soups today i had a particularly memorable in the Henan style consisting of a sumptuous lamb broth falling apart pieces of lamb and pliant noodles

      1. re: AubWah

        AubWah,

        If you are getting off on or near the Valley/Del Mar intersection and want a bowl of pho, then try either Pho Le Loi or Saigon Flavor, both are within a short skip and a hop from that intersection on Valley Blvd.

        And if you opt instead for some bún bò huế then head to Nha Trang, about a half block east of Del Mar on Valley Blvd.

      2. re: raytamsgv

        Don't think they will serve 1 person only. My mom and I tried to go there several years ago and even for two people, they turned us away. Perhaps things have changed. besides, dim sum is kind of hard for one person only, no? Vietnamese seems to be good for a single diner. Perhaps savoy kitchen or dong ngyuen for hainan chicken?

        1. re: raytamsgv

          "I will be alone so generally will want to keep it under $10 a pop".

          raytamsgv!!

          I know that you know better :) Unless we're talking a bowl of wonton soup and roast duck on rice, most cantonese (especially high end stuff at sea harbor) is hardly appropriate for a solo diner, and certainly not one on a budget... would you suggest a solo diner on a budget get the Newport Seafood lobster?

          So, to address AubWah's original question, get off at Valley and New. Aside from Noodle Express 101 which is a half block west of this intersection, everything else is a short eastbound walk.

          - Noodle Express 101 - Beef roll ($6-7) or pumpkin & shrimp water boiled dumplings ($5-6)

          - Mei Long Village - pork pump ($12-ish?) or pan fried nian gao (rice ovalets), about $6

          - J&J- xiao long bao (aka "soup dumplings") (about $5)

          - $15/1hour foot massage next to Mei Long village place (tip them up to $20)

          - Beijing Restaurant - if you're lucky they'll have some jie mo dui" (Beijing mustard cabbage) about $3-4, and the amazingly delicious minced pork which you wrap in tofu skin, cucumbers & green onions, sort of Beijing duck style ($5-ish)

          - Pa Pa Walk - mango snow ice (be sure to get the shaved milk dessert, not the shaved ice) - $6-8 (expensive, I know-- especially considering the spectacular deals elsewhere in the SGV. But that's the price you pay for shaved milk desserts in this town)

          - Go into Focus Plaza (aka the Great Mall of China) and just wander with your jaw agape and eyes agog.

          All this is within a very short walk of New and Valley. You can probably get on the bus to return to LA at Del Mar and Valley, or you can continue to walk a bit further. There's a very good Vietnamese Com Tam restaurant in the same building as Hawaii Supermarket. Speaking of which, you should check out the wheel cake vendor in front of Hawaii, and while you're at it stick your head inside and talk a walk around. Compare it with the much more westernized (and less interesting) 99 Ranch market in Focus plaza.

          That should give you enough ammo for 3-4 trips (even if you can scrounge up a visitor :)

          Mr Taster

          1. re: Mr Taster

            Many, if not all, of those things AubWah can find in his native city, NYC.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Really? Are there really that many good to great Shanghainese, Shandong, or Taiwanese restaurants easily available in Manhattan (where the overwhelming majority of AubWah's posts are from)? Joe's Shanghai just doesn't cut it. We're not talking about Sichuan, Fujian or Cantonese.

              Plus, your response doesn't address AubWah's greater issue (more clearly illustrated in his/her last post) of simply throwing yourself into a small, walkable area with a high density of a diversity of good to great Chinese food, which is precisely what the Valley walk from New to Del Mar will provide.

              What stretch of Valley off the 487\489 route would you suggest that has a greater density and diversity of good to great restaurants meeting AubWah's stated criteria?

              Mr Taster

              1. re: Mr Taster

                Well, OP asked for " What are your can't miss places and cant miss menu items I will be alone so generally will want to keep it under $10 a pop"

                Not sure there are alot of "can't miss" type of places in/around the Focus Plaza and Hawaii Market.

                Lots of Taiwanese places in Flushing, and dumplings are not anything out of the ordinary.

                One place that the OP can't get back at home is probably the type of dim sum offered at Sea Harbour or Elite (as suggested by raytamsgv up above), but that's hard to do solo.

                I'm not criticizing your list, or efforts to guide the OP, I just think if he hits the spots recommended it might be a bit too pedestrian.

                But I agree with you, however, that the Valley-Del Mar intersection is probably the best bet for a solo wanderer.

                In that vicinity, here are my recs: Omar, Happy Eating, Happy Kitchen, Mien Nghia, Xian Wei Lou, and then head a bit west to New Ave. and go to Mama's Kitchen for stinky tofu.

                -----
                Mama's Kitchen
                1718 New Ave, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                Happy Kitchen
                301 W. Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA

                Mien Nghia Restaurant
                406 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                Happy Eating Restaurant
                140 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Sure, dumplings are common, though in NYC Chinatown I've primarily had the Cantonese style. Never dined for dumplings in Flushing. Though I don't know of many truly excellent dumplings in Manhattan. And although I'm not certain, I'd definitely take the wager that there are no excellent pumpkin shrimp dumplings to be found in Flushing and certainly not in NYC Chinatown. And Shandong beef roll? Has that migrated to Flushing/NYC? Again, I'm talking about a truly excellent interpretation of the beef roll, which NE101 (more or less) provides consistently. (OK, I've had warmed over ones when they're busy and turning over tables, but that's an anomaly).

                  Certainly lots of Taiwanese in Flushing, as there is here, but snow/milk ice? Even here it's somewhat hard to find, and even harder to find a great one. As you well know, Pa Pa Walk's version pales in comparison to Class 302 in Rowland Heights.

                  Omar's is certainly an interesting choice. I haven't been there yet, however didn't the JGold review indicate that it was a bit on the pricey side? (At least more than the $10 budget would allow?) Not sure, just thinking out loud. Or out type. Or something.

                  Mr Taster

                  P.S. jie mo dui pedestrian? Pshaw!!! :)

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Your choices are excellent. Interestingly,Taiwanese food seems to be dying out in Flushing, hard to believe given that the Flushing Chinese community was started by the Taiwanese. There is quite a bit of Shanghai food in NY, but there's no comparison as to the quality of XLB, whether using Joe's or anything else as your reference point.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Spurred on by latent curiosity and your mention of this restaurant today, we stopped at Happy Eating Restaurant (a.k.a. Not Shufeng Garden)

                      What an odd place this is. Dishes from all over China showing up in weird, random combinations. One dish that looked like onion rings from the photo, but the Chinese translates to fried dough. Also, it appears the photos of their menu items were actually pulled off random webpages and blogs from the internet, so the dishes we were served often bore little resemblance to what was served to us.

                      But anyway, we were there for the Wuhan dishes (from central China). So we sifted through the kebabs (shashlik!) and siu mai to the re gan mian and special wuhan dou pi (descriptions found here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/762827 )

                      We order the small cold apps from the front... cucumbers (fine, basic preparation in sugar and vinegar), spicy beef & tendon (better, spicier more flavorful versions at Yunnan Garen) and vegetables with soybeans (first impressions: tasty, slightly bitter, with a back end wallop of SALT that made it sort of unpalatable).

                      One of our Cantonese diners wanted xiaolongbao and these were actually not so bad. The soup was actually really thin and lovely, the pork nice and tender, skins a little oversteamed so that the last ones to be consumed sort of fell apart. But they were good while they lasted.

                      The dou pi was... interesting. It looks a bit like a pan fried shepherds pie with sticky rice instead of potato, and a crispy battered exterior. Minced peas, carrots, mushrooms and meat make up the filling. Never quite had anything like it, and although it was certainly unique and inoffensive I don't know that I'll be craving it any time soon. Sort of like that Taiwanese coffin bread (which, AubWah, you can also get at Pa Pa Walk if you want to try it, though as you just read I can't recommend it.)

                      Re gan mian was.... SALTY. Yes, a bit like dan dan mian with a grittier, more robust texture to the sauce, and a little bowl of thick chile paste with sesame served on the side. Tone down the salt and this would have been nice.

                      The real star of the show were the pumpkin cakes. Perfectly fried, crispy, slightly sweet and glutinous. It was just the right thing to cut the overwhelming saltiness of the other dishes.

                      We finished with wine blew... a literal turine of the stuff for $6. I've never seen so much wine blew in my life. But then again, maybe I don't get out for wine blew enough.

                      Anyway overall I'm glad to have tried this place, though the only thing that would compel me to return are those lovely pumpkin cakes. At $3 I could endorse these and encourage AubWah to add those to his (her?) list of things to try.

                      Go to Focus Plaza, on the 2nd floor, next to Tofu House. Look for Shufeng Garden, but just know that they never changed the sign. Or the menus. Or the staff uniforms. This is Happy Eating Restaurant.

                      Mr Taster

                      -----
                      Happy Eating Restaurant
                      140 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                    2. re: Mr Taster

                      Have to say I am offended at you linking me with Joe's Shaghai. I've never been there.

                      Just kidding about being offended, your a big help

                      1. re: AubWah

                        I went to Joe's Shanghai in Chinatown several years back. The soup was a greasy mess. The skins were outrageously thick. Absolutely not to my taste, but others were absolutely fawning over them...

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          Just different types of XLB.

                          Joe's and Din Tai Fung are sort of the bookends to the full spectrum of XLB variations.

                          Places like Mei Long Village and J&J sort of fall somewhere in the middle.

                      2. re: Mr Taster

                        I will be walking maybe 10 miles total in a day so not that small

                      3. re: ipsedixit

                        Com Tam Thuan Kieu is the broken rice place next to Hawaii Supermarket. I found it to be very disappointing when I visited last year. It's what I imagine an institutional cafeteria would be like in Vietnam.

                        I second Yi Gee, the imagawayaki-like pastry stand in front of Hawaii. Here's an LA Weekly blog article about them from a few years ago:

                        http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/ba...

                        Get a freshly made one, but be careful not to burn your mouth.

                        1. re: Peripatetic

                          I hope to try some nice restaurants for lunch and take advantage of lunch specials

                          1. re: AubWah

                            AubWah,

                            No need for "lunch specials". All of the items at restaurants I've suggested are outrageously cheap at their regular prices. But if you're looking for an all-in-one plate, the broken rice at Com Tam Thuan Kieu is hard to beat for sheer value:deliciousness. The grilled pork chop plate is simply wonderful.

                            But really, if I were you I'd order one standout dish from each of three restaurants, and put the leftovers in your hotel fridge. You'll spend about $20 and have enough for lunch (and maybe dinner) the next day...

                            Mr Taster

                            -----
                            Com Tam Thuan Kieu
                            120 E Valley Blvd Ste I, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                            1. re: Mr Taster

                              Hmm, I guess I'm a lone dissenter on Com Tam Thuan Kieu. It's easily my least favorite Vietnamese restaurant of the dozen or so I've been to in the SGV. Cheap, yes. But greasy and uninteresting, too. It was originally recommended to me by Das Ubergeek. This, in combination with the praise in this thread, makes me think that it may have been better in the past. Or maybe I'm just in the minority on this one. But it would be a shame to come out all this way just to eat mediocre Vietnamese.

                              1. re: Peripatetic

                                my foray into viet will probly be the bun bo hue at nha trang

                                1. re: AubWah

                                  Yes, Nha Trang sounds very promising. I'm guessing you've seen this post from Sunday, but just in case:

                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/774861

                                  I'm hoping to get there this week.

                                  1. re: Peripatetic

                                    Yes, agreed... it does sound promising. Although my most memorable food experience from actually visiting Nha Trang were the dense, soft pretzel-like rolls that the banh mi were made with... the diametric opposite of the light and flaky rice flour banh at Banh Mi Cho Co in Little Saigon. But soooo good :)

                                    Oh yeah, and the fresh beer... http://tripwow.tripadvisor.com/slides...

                                    Mr Taster

                                    -----
                                    Nha Trang
                                    311 E Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                          2. re: Peripatetic

                            I didn't realize the little stand had a name... thanks for posting the blog link to Yi Gee.

                            There's a lady with a little cart selling these in my wife's village back in Taiwan and we stop there every time we visit the family. I just love them!

                            Mr Taster

                        2. re: Mr Taster

                          This would be my recommended route because of several multiple tenant shopping centers on this path, which really isn't that far. Don't forget the Lizhou food at Happy Kitchen in the same mall as Mei Long Village and J&J, and the Wuhan menu at Happy Eating, which is in Focus plaza.

                          -----
                          Mei Long Village
                          301 W Valley Blvd Ste 112, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                          Happy Kitchen
                          301 W. Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA

                          Happy Eating Restaurant
                          140 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                          1. re: Chandavkl

                            We had the snail soup at happy kitchen but I wasn't enamored enough with it to recommend. Really nice owner, if I recall... what other dishes stand out there?

                            Mr Taster

                            1. re: Mr Taster

                              Me too--but you can't get it in New York!

                              1. re: Chandavkl

                                True true... but to my mind, "can't get it in NY" isn't enough for me to make a recommendation. Case in point, Wuhan Special Dou Pi...

                                Mr Taster

                              2. re: Mr Taster

                                he has a "noodle" dish with smoked chicken and bean sprouts which would normally be pedestrian, but instead of noodle he uses tsong yo bing (scallion pancakes). Simply delicious.

                                1. re: chezwhitey

                                  Wow, that does sound great...

                                  Mr Taster

                            2. re: Mr Taster

                              Mr. Taster, if you're referring to COM TAM THUAN KIEU (120 E Valley Blvd @ Del Mar), that place is very good & cheap. Highly recommended.

                              1. re: Mr. Roboto

                                Yup, that's the one. Huge plate of com tom with bbq pork for $5. Add a nice ca phe sua da for a minimal upcharge.

                                Mr Taster

                              2. re: Mr Taster

                                While I think there are many great choices, I thought I'd choose one that would be a head and shoulder above the rest because I'm not that familiar with what can be found in NYC. I have faith in the rest of the 'hounds, such as yourself, to make good suggestions for AubWah.

                                1. re: raytamsgv

                                  Hey, don't get me wrong-- I love reading your posts, and Sea Harbor's a great choice-- just not for a solo diner exploring a walkable area with lots of tasty, inexpensive dishes to choose from. In fact, Sea Harbor is the opposite of all of AubWah's stated criteria :)

                                  Mr Taster

                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                    Yes, certainly if the question revolved around what one and only one restaurant to try, Sea Harbour would certainly be there, since there's nothing like it in New York. Heck, there's not even anything like Mission 261 or Lunasia in New York. Like my first stay in Flushing--how many places can I try in 18 hours?

                                    -----
                                    Mission 261 Restaurant
                                    261 S Mission Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                            3. I see that the 487 bus crosses Duarte Rd. going south on Santa Anita, and the 489 crosses it going north on Rosemead. I don't know how much hiking you're prepared to do, but Baldwin is exactly halfway between those two boulevards, about a mile from each. Near the corner of Baldwin and Duarte are two highly regarded Chinese places - Din Tai Fung, the Taiwanese dumpling house, is on Baldwin a few doors north of Duarte, and Chang's Garden, a very good Shanghainese restaurant, is on Duarte, at the SE corner of a shopping mall just east of Baldwin. The 287 also turns left on Valley at Del Mar; about a block west from that turn you'll go by the huge shopping mall that's commonly known as The Great Mall of China, on the south side of the street, which contains many restaurants of various kinds, a Sam Woo BBQ and some others; I haven't been in there for about a year, so I don't really know what's there or isn't.

                              Before you leave the Union Station area, there are still a few decent places to eat in Chinatown, which is quite nearby. We like the pho at Pho Hua on Spring St. between Alpine and College. Up on Broadway there's a new soup place that is apparently a branch of a San Gabriel Valley establishment; do not remember the name, but it's a few doors south of College on the west side of the street. We enjoyed that very much, too.

                              -----
                              Din Tai Fung Restaurant
                              1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

                              Chang's Garden
                              627 W Duarte Rd, Arcadia, CA 91007

                              1. I know this if off topic but I really hope someone can help me with it if it would be ok. What is it like walking under the 101? Can I walk up North Broadway how does it intersect with the highway? Past Union Station...Is a certain route the most pedestrian friendly? I took the subway there at night the only other time I went so I don't recall the layout. Thanks very much

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: AubWah

                                  N. Broadway goes over the 101. (All the east/west streets go over the 101)
                                  It's pretty pedestrian friendly downtown.

                                2. mei long village looks like good xlb

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: AubWah

                                    The XLB is good at mei long, but in the same strip mall are 3 other places with very good xlb. Personally, I'd recommend J and J (crab meat and pork). Aub, can you tell us more about yourself so we can direct you better?

                                  2. AubWah, will you be doing this on a weekday or weekend?