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Boba in Thousand Oaks (and Szechuan food!?)

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
91360

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!!

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  1. 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.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chandavkl

      "Seems like the Conejo Valley is replicating on a small scale what happened in the San Gabriel Valley."

      I could only wish...

    2. 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.

      8 Replies
      1. re: cant talk...eating

        How many different types of dim sum are there?

        1. re: SIMIHOUND

          Too few (types) - menu mentioned sort of the greatest hits (dumplings, buns, shu mai, a couple pancakes) but I have no idea which of these would actually be available on any given day. They were bagging a huge pile of buns (xlb) by the dozen when I went.

          1. re: cant talk...eating

            Well, one of us on this post will go and report back.
            We might try it tomorrow night, if it isn't raining...are there places to sit inside or is it primarily a take-out set-up?

            1. re: liu

              Hey Liu - yes, there are a few tables but it's basically a donut store type place, so I might not plan to linger.

            2. 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.

              1. re: Chandavkl

                Thanks for your glowing report, Chandavkl!
                We did not make it there tonight, but it is at the top of our Conejo list.
                I can't wait to try it!

                1. re: Chandavkl

                  Thanks for the report. I am headed that way soon.

          2. 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!

            1. Wow can't talk.....thanks for not only finding this place.....but sharing! Will check it out soon.

              1 Reply
              1. re: nancyc4fun

                Hi, nancyc4fun!
                Please report back as quickly as possible. You might get there before I do.

              2. 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.