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Sep 29, 2012 04:55 PM

Help! Looking for good TAIWANESE Restaurant near Huntington Gardens (San Marino)...

Hello Chowhounders,

I'm taking the parents to Huntington Gardens next week and was hoping to find a decent Taiwanese restaurant, not too far from there. Any suggestions?

And if Taiwanese is too difficult to find, we'll settle for SHANGHAINESE or great dim-sum.


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  1. All of 4 or 5 miles to Old Country Cafe or Lee's Garden. You should get some other recommendations from the more tuned in Taiwanese food hounds too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg

      Thanks, Servorg! Much appreciated.

    2. SinBaLa in Arcadia (Google-able)...

      13 Replies
        1. re: J.L.

          SinBaLa in Arcadia (Google-able)..

          Yeah, that pretty much ends the discussion right there.

          In that same plaza (or adjacent), you also have Chang's Garden (Shanghai), Cozy Cafe (Taiwanese), and Din Tai Fung (Taiwanese)

          1. re: ipsedixit

            in addition, that plaza has a Taiwanese bakery & a short walk west on Duarte is Tofu King, particularly for chou dofu and lou rou fan. I'm told their chicken thigh rice is good as well.

            1. re: JThur01

              ipsedixit and JThur01: Are there any more-upscale Taiwanese restaurants in that area? Or are they all mom-and-pop small places? Thanks.

              1. re: Liquid Sky

                Happy Garden is about the closest to a "true" restaurant, and it's casual too. It does offer a wider array of Taiwanese dishes than the little diner/snack shop/cafes. FWIW, a Taiwanese diner owner told me: "This place is just a snack shop, now Happy Garden...that's a REAL restaurant!"

                Plus, Happy Garden will be closing in the near future. No word exactly on when.

                  1. re: Liquid Sky

                    You're welcome, though I don't know how much help we were. Chandavkl's remark about Taiwanese and upscale being oxymoronic in the SGV are spot on.

                    Even Happy Garden is casual, but it's considered a restaurant.

                    1. re: JThur01

                      Chandavkl's remark about Taiwanese and upscale being oxymoronic in the SGV are spot on.

                      Even Happy Garden is casual, but it's considered a restaurant.

                      What's DTF? A taco stand?

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        DTF might just be the most upscale Taiwanese style dining SGV has to offer (despite the fact that most of the dishes aren't really Taiwanese (or Tainanese for that matter if using that style of TW Min cuisine).

                        For those who are interested in learning about upscale Taiwanese in Taipei, look no further than Shin Yeh (a chain similar to that of Crystal Jade from Singapore, or Lei Gardens Hong Kong, mid tier quality but upscale enough that tourists will love it, but not upper echelon deliciousness despite winning Michelin star), and something more upscale would be Silks at the National Palace Museum where a bok choy or cabbage is decorated to look like a Jade sculpture (the irony is that Silks serves Cantonese style dim sum during Shanghai No 1).

                        And for fun viewing, DN Innovacion molecular Spanish fusion with TW night market food


                1. re: Liquid Sky

                  You might say Taiwanese and upscale are oxymoronic in this part of the world.

              2. re: ipsedixit

                Ipse, (or anyone here who knows) how is Happy Garden these days?

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  As well as May Mei (homestyle cantonese). And Liquid Sky, pretty much all taiwanese in the area is casual.

              3. There is a closer place called Taipei Bistro (San Gabriel). Little family owned gem. I’m not a fan of every dish, and the menu’s tiny, but their rendition of Taiwanese minced pork rice is one of the best in the 626. It’s tasty…but there’s another reason why it’s so special: they don’t rely on chunks of pork fat for flavor. In fact, they use LEAN pork. The owners say they prepare meals for their customers like they would for their own family (served with love, using healthy ingredients, no MSG), and that’s very true until the part where they gave me the check.

                Simbala doesn’t even make minced pork rice -- baffling.

                9 Replies
                1. re: MonsieurKnowItAll

                  Simbala doesn’t even make minced pork rice -- baffling.
                  Maybe because the stewed pork with bamboo shoots over rice is so good there is no need for minced pork over rice ;)

                  1. re: MonsieurKnowItAll

                    Monsieur: That sounds great! Also... does anyone have opinions on "CAFE FUSION" in Arcardia?

                    1. re: MonsieurKnowItAll

                      SinBala also isn't as good anymore, I use to eat there during high school and it's disappointing these days.

                      1. re: Johnny L

                        Thanks, Johnny. Have been to SinBala before, but was looking for something more upscale. If anyone has been to CAFE FUSION recently and can weigh in... that would be great. Thanks, Chowhounds!

                        1. re: Liquid Sky

                          love Cafe Fusion...good food...often busy.

                          1. re: dreamcast18

                            Thanks, dreamcast. I figured FUSION night be a little "nicer-looking" than some of the other choices.

                        2. re: MonsieurKnowItAll

                          Monsieur: Agreed... no MSG is always preferred.