Boba in Thousand Oaks (and Szechuan food!?)
- cant talk...eating Aug 31, 2012 09:39 PM
I was amazed to see both at a truly unremarkable steam-tray Chinese place deep in Thousand Oaks:
Han's Chinese Express
1032 E. Avenida De Los Arboles
Avenida DLA is an exit off the 23; head west for a couple blocks to a sad strip mall (for locals - this is next to Manny's).
So as I was reeling from the shock of seeing "Boba Milk Tea" and being temporarily transported if for a sunbaked moment back to SGV, I saw a bunch of Chinese characters on the same sign, next to prices and, yes, the tell-tale red chili peppers of Szechuan menus. Turns out they have about 5 such dishes on offer, the standards like spicy fried chicken, boiled fish, something with picked peppers. I swear the lunch special said "$4.99" but I don't know if any of these were on it.
This was for you, Liu, go forth - go forth and - drink!!
Seems like the Conejo Valley is replicating on a small scale what happened in the San Gabriel Valley. There's been a sizable Chinese community in the Conejo Valley area for quite a few years. I remember a Daily News feature on the subject probably a decade ago. Yet it's been only the past two or three years where authentic Chinese food has become visible. Likewise it took a decade from the time the Chinese started moving into Monterey Park for authentic Chinese food to show up locally.
Just an update on this place. So they were out of boba yesterday, but through my tears I peered into the back and saw this woman expertly (so it seemed) rolling a huge rope of dough and slicing pancakes out of them. Owner speaks almost no English, but turns out they have made to order dumplings, buns, green onion pancake, etc. (looks like this is known on Yelp). Also, the current name of the place is "Han's Dumpling".
Dumplings are eight bucks for a dozen, your choice of boiled, steamed or pan-fried. I picked up a bag of buns (they're a mix of ground pork and shrimp) and also, excellent quality, freshness, and taste.
Note that this is a complete dive of a place, and there's really no way of knowing that it's actually a secret authentic dumpling house (unless you read Yelp I guess). They guy who runs it is really nice though so worth a visit even if it takes a while to communicate.
re: cant talk...eating
This place is amazing, at least for Thousand Oaks. Had the chives cake, mini ha gow, seafood siu mai and steamed bbq pork buns and all were good, even on an absolute scale. And by the time I left I was wanting to try the steam table stuff. After we ordered, literally dozens of Chinese students from some nearby language school came in, sending the line out of the door. And they were all eating the steam tray food, not ordering off the Chinese menu.
Huge THANKS, cant talk...eating (still the best handle on ChowHound!). I know this area and you have done an amazing sleuthing job here! I'm tickled that you thought about me!
I'm reading your post with interest, and will try it in the next few days.
I'm not the expert...just passionate about finding what I like and interesting things (non-alcoholic) to sip!
Ordered the pan fried dumplings and the BBQ buns. Had to wait a short while but the items were being made not just packaged from sitting around. I agree that 2 containers of the dipping sauce are needed.($7.50 /dz) I also prefer my bao (bun dough) and filling to be a little sweeter but these are solid and the best value - 4 for $4 ! . The buns and dumplings are almost better the next day. The steam tray was empty during my visit (5:00 pm on weeknight) but I was interested in dim sum items anyway. Cash only and best for take-out.
I finally went by today. I had a variety of items including steamed bun, leek cake, seafood siu mai, and all of them were flavorless and mediocre at best. I have not been to SGV but I have had many different items from Chinatown and A&W in Reseda and this was the worst I have ever had. The place was dated but clean and the owners are very nice. I wont be coming back.
We went awhile back and have not returned.
I agree with you, SIMIHOUND, that the place is not inviting; it feels dingy inside. Although I did not think as you that it was "the worst I have ever had," it was not good enough to call me back.
The seafood siu mai were fishy, both in flavor and smell. We had some other dumplings -- can't remember which ones -- that were okay.
I was so wishing for it to be wonderful, but hope did not make it so.