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Aug 14, 2012 12:08 PM

World Comes To End; Lee Kam Kee in Alhambra Being Replaced By Mexican Restaurant

It was stunning news when TonyC announced Lee Kam Kee had shut down, since it had occupied its location on Valley Bl. for over a decade. However even more shocking is the fact that it appears a Mexican restaurant will be moving in. You see, 2505 W. Valley Bl. has been an iconic bastion of Chinese and Vietnamese food for almost three decades, housing nine different Asian eateries in that time period. Among the pantheon of occupants was Gallant Seafood, one of early Hong Kong style seafood restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley, as well as Wonder Seafood, described by area food critics of the day as a world class Chinese restaurant. So at this point I'm otherwise speechless.

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  1. Perhaps the Mayans were right. 2012 marks the end of the world.

    1. Saw the remodeling but it's still HILARIOUS! Taking Valley Blvd back, bitches. Think of how many Taco Bells the AsIaNz have co-opted into new restaurants? Yunnan 168, Green Papaya, Banh Xeo Quan, etc. With ~50% of Alhambra population, Latinos gotta eat somewhere. I can imagine everyone being rather sick of Shakey's.

      LKK hasn't been busy for years and Asians long ago decided eating west of Marengo wasn't cool. (Baguette du Jour was allowed to survive for far too long.) And really, how BAD is Shanghai Yau Fat? (Rhetorical, don't answer, it's probably the worst Chinese restaurant in all of WSGV).

      12 Replies
        1. re: TonyC

          No it isn't, Bamboo House on Valley just west of Fremont tops that. I got suckered in with a certificate, and I knew there was a reason why none of their customers are Asian.

          Guess this new restaurant will give La Parilla Mexicana just west of LKK some competition for customers...

          1. re: TripleAxel

            Amazingly, Bamboo House is one of the longest running Chinese restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley. I tried it after a 20 year hiatus to see if it had improved--sometimes a bad Chinese restaurant will change owners, keep the old name, and have a significant upgrade. However it wasn't any better.

            1. re: TripleAxel

              Thanks for taking one for the team. I've walked into Bamboo House only to walk out. That happened shortly after the Yau Fat. There really is no point trying that food.

              Bamboo House + Yau Fat is where non-Asians go to eat Chinese and they are the 2 closest sit-down Chinese restauarants to East LA. Again, the Non-Asians gotta eat.

              1. re: TonyC

                ...and why would someone do that with great Chinese just mere blocks away? Boggles the mind.

                1. re: JThur01

                  Yes. Even Panda Express has pretty much avoided the area.

                2. re: TonyC

                  Ha. My co-workers go all the time to Bamboo House. I refuse to go and would rather eat in the cafeteria.

                  1. re: granadafan

                    This is the thing: both Bamboo House and Yau Fat have more customers (again, mostly Latino) than some of the "authentic" Chinese restaurants East of them.

                    JThur01 asks why anyone would eat there instead of the great Chinese a few blocks away? Well, the Chinese-American fare is familiar; one can just order beef & brocc, orange chicken, moo shu pork w/o looking at a menu. All the waitresses speak English, and again, Latinos also want a nice sit-down Chinese meal.

                    1. re: TonyC

                      From that standpoint, makes perfect sense. It's interesting that I've seen more & more Latinos at Sichuan places of recent. And, in a bold marketing move, the Mexican place on Del Mar between Las Tunas & Valley has (or had) a sign in Mandarin!

                      1. re: JThur01

                        It also depends on advertsing... my much missed Oriental Pearl used to send out menus that on the bottoms said: "Our food is spicy! you'll like it!" in very kind convincing Spanish...

              2. re: TonyC

                I'm surprised Shanghai Yau Fat has lasted all these years.

                1. I never quite recovered from Wonder Seafood's demise, and that was probably 25 years ago.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: condiment

                    Yes, Wonder Seafood opened around 1985 and had a great six year run. They were replaced by Wonders Seafood and it was downhill from that point on.

                  2. It's supposed to be a new Tai-Mex place (as in "Taiwanese Mexican").

                    Their specialty is Stinky Tofu tacos and Oyster Pancake Tostadas. Heard the carnitas rice plate with tea eggs and pickled cabbage ain't bad either. And Boba Horchata drinks to boot!

                    In the words of one (in)famous Bart Scott ... "Can't Wait!"

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Tainan Peddler Noodles with lengua. Ma Po Tofu with a Nopales mole.

                      1. re: raytamsgv

                        Ma Po Tofu with a Nopales mole.

                        Now, we're talking!

                        1. re: J.L.

                          This list of "fusion"ideas is making me kinda queasy, (chapulines soup dumplings, anyone?) but I'm guessing that SOMEONE will attempt the concept....

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Orale Holmes!

                              (honest credit Tuco actor Raymond Cruz Breaking Bad season 1)

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Sorry folks, this Tai-Mex concept is NOT happening.

                                Chonitos is opening Oct 27:

                                There'll be daily Mexican buffet, some mariscos, TVs, beer & wine license. Nice peoples, live in Alhambra. Lee Kam Kee was evicted due to back rent in July. New ownership purchased the restaurant on July 20th.

                                1. re: TonyC

                                  I hope you realize I was joking.

                              2. I am very saddened by the news of this closure. Does anyone have a recommendation for french-style beef cubes as delicious as the ones they served at Lee Kam Kee?

                                3 Replies
                                  1. re: h2obemo

                                    i like the one at kim tar in monterey park

                                    also.. their house special pork chops are very nice