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Jun 22, 2012 11:13 AM

Xinjiang food in Rowland Heights- Silk Road Garden

Saw the Amazon Local certificate today-- has anyone been? Would love to see how it compares with Omar's. I may just snap it up for use this weekend.

Mr Taster

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  1. I also am interested in any reviews of Silk Road Garden. Are Uyghur Hand Pull Noodles different?

    BTW, I posted a link to the Silk Garden Deal on Chowhound's Los Angeles "Coupon & Deals"

    1. A couple of visits. They were out of majority of smaller dishes (including cold noodle, chicken salad etc). IIRC, they've been open since May 21. Chef, owner, "everybody except dishwasher" is from Xinjiang, and speak better Uyghur than Mandarin.

      The chopped la mian is like pou mo, but stir fried in tomato/garlic based sauce. The regular la mian are all stir fried, there are no noodle soups. There are 2 "house" stir fried noodles of interest, one is available with lamb, and it will be recommend by the server. Rice pilaf is also available, but the restaurant could not produce any sample of this during an hour+ long meal.

      Skewers are served on bitchin' "authentic" kebab that are 2' long. That's FEET, not inches. Excellent seasoning, but pathetic lamb cuts. Prefer Sweethome/Shaanxi. People don't bother taking the lamb off the skewers, instead eating it straight up the service ware. It's an awesome sight. I suggest doing the same. (See pix)

      The big plate chicken is tasty, can't say if it's better or worse than that found at Shaanxi/Omar. It is extremely salty. The noodles served are hand pulled, same as those found in the the house special noodles.

      In fact, there is not much of anything right now as first 4 dishes out of the 20 dish menu were unavail. The squash(?) samosa that was spotted on the counter also wasn't available, and the overpriced, underwhelming meat pie is only available Sundays. During first visit, they ran out of Uyghur milk tea.

      The visits were so bad there was no coverage on Eater. The food is rather interesting, the owner is nice staff, but... My god, diners were opening deriding the kitchen from their seats, and the waiter, who knew me by the second visit, took off $1.70 from that $20 dish of big plate chicken despite serving no noodles 15 minutes after the chicken arrived. He did so only after prodding and passive aggression on my part, and refused to remove the dish from the bill. Prices are obscenely high compared to the old Good Time Deli it replaced, but no more than Omar's.

      Yelp reviews seem to be all shills. I will/must return, but predict it won't make it out of 2012.

      4 Replies
      1. re: TonyC

        > During first visit, they ran out of Uyghur milk tea.

        That happened to us at Omar's on a recent visit, at 7pm no less! I wonder if this is coincidence, or if random availability of menu items is a feature of Xinjiang culture?

        1. re: TonyC

          Thanks for the report. Each visit I've made to Omar's they've been out of multiple items as well.

          1. re: TonyC

            Many thanks for the detailed post.

            Glad I got the Groupon voucher-- now I will be only 50% as disappointed if it turns out the way you describe.

            Mr Taster

            1. re: TonyC

              * pao mo
              ** openly deriding

              Sorry, was in between office work. I ndz an editor.

            2. These folks suffer from the "good cook, bad restauranteur" syndrome.

              1. We were in LA (visiting from the Bay Area) and I love Xinjiang food from my time in China, but the reviews here almost scared me off this place. However, reviews on Yelp suggested that they have gotten there act together, and I have to say that I agree. I went there with my (Chinese) wife and two kids (5 and 9) and we all enjoyed it a lot. We had the yogurt, rice pilaf, milk tea, a noodle dish whose name I forget, and lamb kebabs. The yogurt was mixed with raisins, sugar and sesame seeds and was quite tasty. The milk tea tasted bland to me. The pilaf was a simple dish, with rice and carrots and a lamb shank, but was enjoyable (our 5 year old especially enjoyed this). The noodle dish was the star for me. I wish I remembered its name. All I remember is that "er" (2) was part of the name for some reason. All the dishes had photos, and this dish was next to the dish (which we didn't order) which had noodles cut into little bits. Anyway, the handmade noodles were thick and chewy in a dish with lamb, tomatoes and lots of garlic. Maybe the lamb wasn't the greatest quality, but otherwise the dish was just like the noodle dishes I've had in Xinjiang restaurants in China. The lamb kebabs were not 2' long like described above. They were maybe 1' long and decent, though I've had better.

                Just before we left, I noticed some Xinjiang nang (round flat bread) in the refrigerator. I love nang and have never been able to get it in the US. I think the restaurant is owned by a husband and wife, and the wife was there yesterday evening, but not the husband. She was surprised that I noticed the nang. She said that her husband made it at home. I bought two pieces, but I haven't tried them yet. They look just right, though.

                Overall, we enjoyed this much more than Omar's, the other Xinjiang game in town (see They were not out of anything we ordered here. Service was friendly, if not effusive. Everything was at least good, and some of it was great. We'll be back next time we're in LA. I'm glad Tony C's prediction that they would not make it out of 2012 seem to be incorrect. Although not packed, they seem to be doing pretty good business early on a Sunday night. Give 'em another shot, Tony!

                Open from 11-3 and 5-9:30 every day except Tuesday, when they are closed.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Martin Strell

                  iunno Mr. Strell,

                  3 times here, they did me wrong every single time. Wanted to support, but the service/kitchen/FOH was a clusterF every.single.time. Have since given our business/money/time to Remy's. Tell me: if the kebabs were no good (and they sucked pretty much every time I was there), and the pilaf was rather boring, what else is there to eat here? Yogurt and noodles?

                  Sorry about the 2' long kebab hyperbole. Call it penis envy. Looks like it took 'em 5 months to get their shit together; good on them!

                  1. re: TonyC

                    Tough crowd you LA Hounds!... As far as I know (and believe me, I've checked), here, Omar's and a couple of places in Toronto are the only authentic Xinjiang restaurants in North America, and I've eaten at all of them. This place was way better than Omar's and way less of a CF (see my linked review) and about as good as the places in Toronto, though for sure worse than I've had in Shanghai and Beijing. (Unfortunately, I've not actually made it to Xinjiang, yet.). If you are curious about Xinjiang food and can't make it to China, I'd give this place a shot, and yes, I'd go for the noodles. Next time I'd try the big plate chicken. Will report back on the nang after I've tried it. For Xinjiang style lamb kebabs, in LA, I like Feng Mao a lot more.

                    1. re: Martin Strell

                      > For Xinjiang style lamb kebabs, in LA, I like Feng Mao

                      Feng Mao doesn't serve Xinjiang style lamb kebabs.... the owner is from a small village in Northern China near the Chinese/DPRK border. The food reflects, more or less, that hybrid Chinese/Korean style of cooking.

                      ANd for what it's worth, been to Omar's 3x and to SRG once. I really felt once was enough... service was seriously lacking, in a way unacceptable even by san gabriel valley standards, and I thought the comparable dishes like big plate chicken were more flavorful, better prepared at Omar's. Admittedly this may be unfair as I went early on. If they really have gotten it together, that;s good to hear, but I can't see myself going out of my way when there are so many sure bets in rowland heights (and mp/san gabriel)

                      Mr Taster

                      1. re: Mr Taster

                        The Xinjiang style lamb kebabs have become popular in other places in China and can often be found at northern style Chinese restaurants. Grilled lamb kebabs seasoned with salt, cumin and chili is what I'm talking about. Feng Mao is by no means a Xinjiang restaurant, but the lamb kebabs they serve are seasoned in the Xinjiang style (and are very good). See Jonathan Gold article:

                        Sounds like Silk Road Garden was a horror when they started up, but this Bay Area Hound enjoyed the food and experienced none of the problems people who went early on had. I'm glad I decided to give this place a chance in spite of the terrible early reports. Consider this an "uphill report," at least as far as the service goes.

                        1. re: Martin Strell

                          Sorry, I thought you were conflating "Xinjiang restaurant" with "Feng Mao" which as you know is not true.

                          By the way, I'm the one who brought Feng Mao to the attention of Chowhound (and to Jonathan Gold, who likely got it from reading exilekiss' blog).


                          Mr Taster

                          1. re: Mr Taster

                            Feng Mao is a great find - thanks, Mr. Taster! It's always our first stop in LA when we roll in in the evening on our annual trip to LA. They revised the menu a few months ago, apparently, but they still have those great kebabs. We've only been to the original location, but it seems they've opened a second location several years ago.

                            1. re: Martin Strell

                              The second restaurant has the feel of a higher end Korean BBQ place than the original, which feels more mom & pop. There was one dish on the menu that we loved (which Lily, the incredibly sweet owner, has since taken off)-- a potato and spicy green chile pepper dish that we loved. We have to special request it from her when we go now (which, admittedly, is all too infrequent these days).

                              Mr Taster

                2. Finally made it out here. This is Uighur #4 for me after the now defunct Uyghur Restaurant in Montreal and the Russian/Uighur Cafe Kashkar in Brooklyn. Had the beef with hand made noodles, and these were the best noodles I've eaten in months. Chewy and extra long like Omar's. The meat pie was good, too, a little different from Omar. Service is not very good. Seems like they cook one dish at a time. But hey, we have 100 percent of the Chinese Uigher restaurants in the US here in Los Angeles, so I'm happy.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Chandavkl

                    chandavki, speaking of extra long noodles:

                    what is the preferred method for eating and serving them? is it just a matter of being super adept with chopsticks?
                    because i find it extremely difficult to move them from, say, the communal soup bowl or platter into my bowl or plate.
                    or, if i merely take some from a communal bowl or plate, put them to my lips and inhale some noodle and bite off the excess, my dining companions are somewhat grossed out.

                    korean restaurants often scissor extra long noodles into submission. what's the protocol at chinese joints like this one?


                    1. re: linus

                      The trick is not to order extra long noodles as a "communal" dish. Make it yours. And your alone. Then just slurp away.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        That is probably the most obvious yet brilliant thing I've read in a long while.

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          Seriously, who orders a bowl of noodles as communal dish???

                          I can't remember if I've ever done that, or if anyone I know has ever done it.

                          I will certainly share and parcel out a small bowl if someone wants a taste, but that big bowl is going to be mine, and mine alone.

                          That big bowl goes nowhere near the Lazy Susan ...

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            i dunno, when i go out, we share stuff all the time. big bowls of soup, with long noodles, too.

                            i see lots of people, asian and no, having trouble serving themselves an individual portion (into a smaller bowl) from a big bowl.
                            and i've seen big bowls of noodles and soup shared countless times, from asians and non asians.
                            they do give you smaller bowls at a lot of places for a reason, don't they?
                            even if you don't order any rice.

                      2. re: linus

                        The long noodle dishes at Xingang Silk Road are much too monotonous to be consumed by a singular being.

                        Ask for scissors.

                        1. re: TonyC

                          Of course, but isn't that the rare exception? Besides, Xinjiang (the region, the language, the culture, the food, the history, the people) is hardly Chinese anyway.

                          Mr Taster

                          1. re: TonyC

                            i may start carrying a pair when travelling out to the sgv.