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88 Beef Noodle Opens In Arcadia (And Area Construction Report)

88 Beef Noodle has opened at 1045 S. Baldwin St., replacing Pho Express, and further emphasizing the Taiwanese presence in Arcadia. Indeed the sign over the entrance on the side still says Pho Express, while the street facing Pho Express sign is merely covered by a cloth banner for 88 Beef Noodle. This is kind of a strange place to put a beef noodle specialist (there are probably only 10 entrees on the entire menu) given the location in the same shopping center as Liang's Kitchen. Actually what caught my eye on the short menu was the angel hair with sun dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese. Except for the fact that it wasn't angel hair, but rather vermicelli, it was outstanding, and only $7 for a good sized portion, half the price of what you'd pay at many Italian restaurants.

In other area news, workers are busily buzzing around the former Hop Li location a couple of blocks north on Baldwin. There is no exterior signage so I suspect this is a new restaurant, not a remodel of Hop Li. At the Mon-Arc center on Duarte Road I noticed that Shanghai Bamboo House, perhaps the first authentic Chinese restaurant to open in Monrovia when they relocated from San Gabriel, is now Shanghai Gourmet. Meanwhile, the signage is up on the Hong Kong Supermarket, though it looks like it's a way's away from opening. And no visible signs yet of Yi Mei or Luscious Dumplings opening there.

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    1. I stopped in at Shanghai Gourmet a couple of weeks ago, and it indeed is simply a re-name of Shanghai Bamboo House. At least the menu, and the JGold article on the wall, are the same. As always, thanks for the update.

      Quite a major re-model at the Mon-Arc Center though.

      1. Taking a closer look at the Hong Kong Supermarket site, there's absolutely nothing going on there. No workers inside. Can't tell if the checkout stands there are from the old market or installed for the new one. I'm thinking nothing was doing there a couple of weeks ago, either.

        12 Replies
        1. re: Chandavkl

          It was quiet when I was there, which is understandable since it was a Sunday. I didn't examine closely. I simply went in & out of Shanghai Gourmet. Since I hadn't passed by for a bit, I was stunned at the changes to the plaza from my last time.

          Shanghai Gourmet is a solid Shanghainese style place. It should get more attention.

          1. re: Chandavkl

            Had the sea cucumber..find it abit overly sweet. Pig kidney is ok.

            1. re: Chandavkl

              Just stumbled on this LA Weekly blog post about you, chandavkl. It's good to put into context your focus in finding and sharing with us all of those new SGV Chinese restaurants over the years.

              http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/20...

              Mr Taster

              1. re: Mr Taster

                I have really enjoyed Chandavkl's posts for several years now. He's a great resource on Chinese restaurants in general.

                1. re: Mr Taster

                  Thanks for the plug. You can also listen to the follow up interview on KCRW. Forward to the 43 minute mark.

                  http://download.kcrw.com/audio/108667...

                  1. re: Chandavkl

                    David,
                    Thanks for providing this. I just finished listening, and the program was interesting.
                    Since you don't speak or read Chinese, it apparently hasn't kept you from finding a lot of dishes that seem to be "difficult" for some Chowhounds to find, as evidenced by the thread complaining about "hidden menus in Chinese" on the General Topics board.

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/857367

                    How do you find out about the "Chinese-language only" menu items?

                    1. re: Tripeler

                      Well I'm just as helpless as everybody else if you're talking about a restaurant that serves primarily Chinese speaking customers. And technically, such restaurants only have a single menu in both Chinese and (usually) English, but the supplemental items are often written in Chinese on wall signs. True two menu Chinese restaurants are limited to those restaurants that overtly cater both to Chinese and non-Chinese customers, and there aren't a lot of those in the Los Angeles area. The reason is that you need the combination of an authentic Chinese restaurant that is located in a geographic area that doesn't have a particularly dense Chinese population. Examples of these would be Tampa Garden in Northridge, and a handful of restaurants in the Thousand Oaks-Agoura-Newbury Park area, and generally the "Chinese" menu is translated into English, at least in part. Also certain cities seem to more commonly follow the actual two menu system, those coming immediately to mind being Phoenix and Miami. In the case of these two menu restaurants, you just have to know to ask for the Chinese menu. A couple of times I didn't realize that a particular restaurant had authentic dishes on a separate menu (more recently Nashville and San Antonio) until I got back to L.A. and it was too late.

                      1. re: Chandavkl

                        Thanks for such a detailed reply. I've been able to read Japanese for the past 30 years, which shares many characters with Chinese. From this I have learned to recognize a lot of Chinese food names, though I cannot pronounce them at all. During stays in San Francisco, in Chinese restaurants I always check out the paper wall signs and order things which seem good. I'll either point to the sign or write the name of the item on the paper table cloth when ordering. This usually alarms (or even unhinges) the restaurant servers since they never expect white people (like me) to order this way, or to order what I do. I can understand their surprise, but as a result get some very good (and seasonal) dishes this way.
                        By the way, nobody has ever told me "you won't like it" and I have never encountered any resistance or hostility.

                        1. re: Tripeler

                          JThur01 has also commented on a similar lack of pushback, but a lot of people have also commented to the contrary. Perhaps you guys can quickly communicate a familarity with authentic food that the restaurant personnel can recognize. Probably the ultimate "discrimination" against Chinese diners was in the late 1980s when one of the first authentic Chinese restaurants opened out towards Rowland Heights at a time where non Chinese patrons needed to be solicited too. They had separate Chinese and non-Chinese dining rooms, with the Chinese room settings having chopsticks, the other room forks and knives, on top of separate menus..

                          1. re: Chandavkl

                            Wow, what a great story, Chandavkl. Chinese restaurant apartheid! Fortunately I have never experienced anything like that.

                            1. re: Chandavkl

                              <<Perhaps you guys can quickly communicate a familarity with authentic food that the restaurant personnel can recognize.>>

                              As a white boy who has traveled China -- and the SGV -- extensively with speakers of the language and without, I think this is the key. There are many, many ways I let the staff at places like Shaanxi Gourmet know I do not want to be steered to whitey food.

                              1. re: Chandavkl

                                I must communicate that extremely well. On occasions, I've had servers, chefs, owners or managers say: "Oh, you've been to (insert location - Taiwan, Malaysia, etc.)?" Even the few times when I've had servers initially try to dissuade me from ordering something, often they've noticed my enjoying it and come over and talked with me about it, sometimes suggesting other menu items I might like.

                  2. Are you telling me 88 Beef Noodle has been open for 2 weeks already and I barely found out the other day... I live down the street too so that's pathetic of me. Well I'm very curious, will try it out.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Johnny L

                      Well I tried the 88 Beef Noodle and thought it was alright. Nothing out of the usual for me I suppose.

                      1. re: Johnny L

                        I guess we should stick to the angel hair (sic). Strangely when I was there, besides their own menu, there was one copy of the Lao Dong Beef Noodle menu (the Taiwanese chain that set up in Rowland Heights) lying around. I wonder if they serve stuff off that menu, too.