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San Gabriel Valley self-guided food tour … suggestions please.

scrupy Nov 19, 2011 12:26 PM

I need helping putting together an itinerary for a self guided food tour in the San Gabriel Valley. The commercial tours all offer “Dim Sum 101” …. I’m looking for a something a bit more graduate level.
A group of 6 of us want to hit five or six spots in a single day where we can sample a highlight or two and move on to the next place. We are looking for the best range of interesting, authentic, Asian cooking - all ethnicities - which also makes a sense in terms of the least distance and driving time between restaurants.
What would your itinerary be? What dishes would you order? What other places – shops, parks, sites - are interesting to stop and check out along the way?

  1. ipsedixit Nov 19, 2011 12:45 PM

    Hard to do "Asian cooking -- all ethnicities [sic]" in the San Gabriel Valley.

    In the SGV, you'll mostly find Chinese, Hong Kong, Taiwanese, and some Vietnamese cuisines. Things like Japanese, Thai, Korean, Indian, Malay, etc. are severely underrepresented, or not represented at all.

    You need to figure out what cuisines you want to sample, and ask again for advice.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit
      scrupy Nov 19, 2011 12:55 PM

      Fair enough - a range of different Chinese cuinines incl Taiwanese and Hong Kong would be great.

      What do you recommend?

      1. re: scrupy
        ipsedixit Nov 19, 2011 01:12 PM

        Pig's blood cake at Sam Woo
        Radish cakes at Huge Tree Pastry
        Noodles at JTYH
        Stuffed chitlins at BeBe2
        Stinky Tofu at Mama's Lu
        Sausages at SinBaLa
        Pig's feet at Big Kitchen
        Meet Pies at Beijing Pie House
        Wine brew at Dean Sin World
        Duck feet at Indian Restaurant

    2. b
      bulavinaka Nov 19, 2011 01:32 PM

      The LA Board is gifted with Hounds who are (what I'd consider to be) experts in the various Chinese cuisines. Here's a few places that come to mind - these would be a starting point to cover a fair amount of Chinese cuisines/dishes in general. But I defer to those who know this area far better than me.

      Lucky Noodle King
      534 E Valley Blvd
      San Gabriel, CA 91776
      (626) 573-5668

      Luscious Dumplings
      704 W Las Tunas Dr
      San Gabriel, CA 91776
      (626) 282-8695

      101 Noodle Express
      1408 E Valley Blvd
      Alhambra, CA 91801
      (626) 300-8654

      Dean Sin World
      306 N Garfield Ave
      Monterey Park, CA 91754
      (626) 571-0636

      JTYH Restaurant
      9425 Valley Blvd
      Rosemead, CA 91770
      (626) 442-8999

      Kim Ky Noodle House
      1108 S San Gabriel Blvd
      San Gabriel, CA 91776
      (626) 286-8839

      Sea Harbour
      3939 Rosemead Blvd
      Rosemead, CA 91770
      (626) 288-3939

      Elite Restaurant
      700 S Atlantic Blvd
      Monterey Park, CA 91754
      (626) 282-9998
      Omar's Xinjiang Halal Restaurant
      1718 New Ave
      San Gabriel, CA 91776
      (626) 570-9778

      Huge Tree Pastry
      423 N Atlantic Blvd
      Monterey Park, CA 91754
      (626) 458-8689

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

      Cloverleaf Coffee and Bakery
      9475 Las Tunas Dr
      Temple City, CA 91780
      (626) 285-0100

      JJ Bakery
      1130 S Baldwin Ave
      Arcadia, CA 91007
      (626) 836-6888

      Phoenix Dessert
      220 E Valley Blvd
      Alhambra, CA 91804
      (626) 299-1918

      Luscious Dumplings
      704 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776

      101 Noodle Express
      1408 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801

      Dean Sin World
      306 N Garfield Ave # 2, Monterey Park, CA

      Kim Ky Noodle House
      1108 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

      JTYH Restaurant
      9425 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

      Omar's Xinjiang Halal Restaurant
      1719 N New Ave, San Gabriel, CA 91776

      Huge Tree Pastry
      423 N Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

      Lucky Noodle King
      534 E Valley Blvd #10, San Gabriel, CA 91776

      Beijing Pie House
      846 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91755

      1. l
        LADave Nov 19, 2011 03:37 PM

        Jonathan Gold got started by eating his way along Pico Blvd., downtown to the ocean I guess. Has anyone attempted this on Valley Blvd etc.?

        10 Replies
        1. re: LADave
          Peripatetic Nov 19, 2011 05:29 PM

          > Has anyone attempted this on Valley Blvd

          Tony C attempted this two years ago but, if I remember correctly, the demands of his day job put an end to it:

          From http://sinosoul.com/2009/10/anatomy-of-a-j-gold-shout-out/

          "On this blog’s First Blogiversary, October 10, (Taiwanese National Day, ie, 雙十節), Eating Valley Blvd will go live at http://www.eatingvalleyblvd.com. It will solely feature Asian eateries from Valley Blvd, between the 710 and the 605 freeway, covering approximately 8 miles. With the advent of Eating Valley Blvd, more space will be dedicated here to thuggy Carson eats, (really) lousy Long Beach eats, random LA street eats, and perhaps even some Indonesian experiences, replete with brain curries, from West Covina. "

          1. re: Peripatetic
            LADave Nov 19, 2011 05:45 PM

            VB probably deserves to be a team effort. There are mere blocks that would be significant projects. J. Gold only got as far as Century City and Valley Blvd. must be more challenging. For one thing the language barrier is a lot higher. I mean someone who reads Chinese really well could still have problems with regional dialects and stuff like that.

            The second link above is nothing but a Viagra ad now. pity!

            1. re: Peripatetic
              TonyC Nov 21, 2011 10:43 AM

              And since then, the domain has EXPIRED. pttthhhp.

              That said, to narrow focus just on Chinese restaurants is "misguided" -- pun intended.

              3 of the tastiest in West SGV right now are Nha Trang, Quan Hy: http://sinosoul.com/2011/09/hainan-chicken-rice-taste-off-spice-table-v-quan-hy/ and Yoma. Even the best of Shanghainese can't touch the aggressive flavor profiles of Yoma and Quan Hy -- (goat egg noodle soup, yowza!


              Mei Long is fine, but Yu Garden's non-carb dishes are much better. I'd absolutely skip the repetitive Chinese dumpling/noodle shops (Luscious/Noodle Boy/Kam Hong/Mandarin Deli/101 Noodle/Lucky Noodle, etc.) and go with some non-pho Vietnamese joints instead. PS: if at JTYH, get the SMALL bowl of noodles so you can try the fried lamb riblets.

              And beyond Hunan / Sichuan (I will contend Hunanese is much more "important" than Shanghai in WSGV right now: http://la.eater.com/archives/2011/11/... ), Shen Yang Restaurant remains my absolute favorite Chinese restaurant in WSGV -- earthy food (3 color cold skin, chicken rack, WHAT?), Commie clients, and BOGO bad American beer. Who needs Sea Harbor?

              Yoma Restaurant
              713 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA

              JTYH Restaurant
              9425 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

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

              1. re: Peripatetic
                mrbthree Nov 24, 2011 07:44 AM

                The link in our reply took me to an ad for viagra

                1. re: mrbthree
                  Peripatetic Nov 24, 2011 02:26 PM

                  Yes, the link is in text I quoted from Tony C's blog from two years ago. The registration subsequently lapsed and is now being used as a website monetization page. I probably should have made that clear in my post.

              2. re: LADave
                Chandavkl Nov 20, 2011 02:46 PM

                I've actually hit every Chinese restaurant on Valley Blvd., but it's a daunting task that took many years. According to the Chinese Yellow Pages there are over 200 Chinese restaurants on Valley Blvd. in Alhambra, San Gabriel, Rosemead and El Monte. I guess if you restricted yourself to Valley Blvd. to the exclusion of the rest of the SGV it could be manageable. Also a couple of dozen new restaurants sprout up every year on Valley Bl., mostly replacements of existing restaurants, so it would also be an ongoing task.

                1. re: Chandavkl
                  ipsedixit Nov 20, 2011 07:13 PM

                  By the time you get to one end, there are about 5 new ones that opened up at the other end.

                  It's a Sisyphean task to say the least.

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    martyR Nov 27, 2011 10:01 AM

                    The Chinese restaurant version of painting the Golden Gate Bridge

                    Golden Gate
                    230 N Market St, Inglewood, CA 90301

                  2. re: Chandavkl
                    LADave Nov 21, 2011 12:49 PM

                    Awesome! It would be interesting to see how this compares to Jonathan Gold's initial project -- and he only got to Century City. Do you read Chinese? Did the food start getting repetitive?

                    1. re: LADave
                      Chandavkl Nov 21, 2011 02:06 PM

                      Do not read Chinese nor speak it (unless you count Pidgin Toishanese). Actually instead of being repetitive, except perhaps for too many cafe style restaurants, the food is remarkably diverse. Or tilting it slightly, of the 200 restaurants on Valley, only a small percentage are of any interest to my Toishanese relatives who only appreciate standard Cantonese/Hong Kong fare.

                2. s
                  sushigirlie Nov 20, 2011 03:10 AM

                  Two important Chinese cuisines are Sichuan and Shanghainese. I recommend including these in your itinerary.

                  Sichuan. Although Sichuan is a diverse cuisine with many flavors, the "ma la" ("hot and numbing") flavor is the most distinctive and memorable. A good way to experience this flavor is with a dish known as "water boiled [fish or meat of your choice]." There are several good restaurants at which to try this. I would recommend Taste of Chongqing (but I would recommend every other board-recommended Sichuan restaurant as well). You should also order some dishes from the cold buffet (every Sichuan restaurant has one). This is good way to get textural variety, which is considered extremely important in Chinese cuisine.

                  Shanghainese. Winey and sweet are the most distinctive flavors that come to my mind when I think of Shanghainese food. I recommend trying a dish of wine-braised seafood at Shanghai Restaurant or Mei Long Village.

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

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: sushigirlie
                    echoparkdirt Nov 20, 2011 10:25 AM

                    whats ur fave dishes at taste of chongqing

                    1. re: echoparkdirt
                      Ciao Bob Nov 21, 2011 11:03 AM

                      I'll chime in since I ate ther last night.
                      Water Boiled Beef was sublime.
                      Loved the House special fish (two preps discussed in Thi's LA Times piece http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/...
                      )Dan Dan Mien is good but not the best I've had (Lucky Noodle King does that best for me right now).

                  2. puppychao Nov 20, 2011 10:23 AM

                    I second Huge Tree Pastry, Mei Long Village and JTYH. I also recommend Hunan Chili King and Shaanxi Gourmet.

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

                    JTYH Restaurant
                    9425 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

                    Huge Tree Pastry
                    423 N Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                    Shaanxi Gourmet
                    8518 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

                    1. c
                      chezwhitey Nov 20, 2011 04:21 PM

                      can you tell us a little more about your group e.g., experience, familiarity, food allergies, curiosity level etc. As far as shops, parks and sites, there's not a whole lot going on in the area you requested, it's more of stripmall land. There is a big chinese department stores if you are in to that. On second thought, your group can do foot massages at the various massage parlors, not that kind, along the route which are very cheap and pretty good depending on who you get. It would be a nice break between the sampling.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: chezwhitey
                        scrupy Nov 21, 2011 09:03 AM

                        Thanks to everyone for suggestions so far. I'm busy cross-checking all the suggestions and can't wait to try some Lamb Pies, Beef Roll etc.
                        I'd welcome any other specific dish suggestions from Bulavinaka's restaurant list.
                        My group are open minded and inquisitive. I'm pretty experienced with many years living and travelling in the far east, but more looking in accessible interesting food cooked well than in pushing the envelope.
                        Love the foot massage idea.

                        1. re: scrupy
                          chezwhitey Nov 21, 2011 09:49 AM

                          A few suggestions I have are
                          Changs Garden: Dong po pork, fried fish with seaweed
                          Bahn Mi at any of the various bahn mi vendors in the area
                          Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa: Bun Bo Hue, split a bowl between 3 people
                          JYTH: Knife shaved noodles, pan fried bao
                          mei long village: Pork Pump(requires 24 hour advance notice), xlb

                          Bring a cooler for all your leftovers.

                          Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa
                          1700 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91803

                          1. re: scrupy
                            Mr Taster Nov 21, 2011 11:15 AM

                            I think checking out the Taiwanese sausages with garlic at Sin Ba La would be a great mid-meal snack.

                            And as far as foot massages, there are about 4 foot massage places in the shopping center that I go to. My favorite is near Mei Long Village, just perpendicular and one storefront away. Ask for Tom-- he's great. I got a two hour massage from him on Saturday. Cost: $30 (though I tipped him up to $45).

                            Mr Taster

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

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