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Oct 4, 2012 03:42 PM

Chinese Food Off Of The 10

I live in West LA and just took a job in Pomona. So I will be commuting back and forth. Does anybody have any ideas of specific Chinese restaurants off the 10 where I might be able to pick up good takeout on the way back. Please don't respond "Monterey Park". I would like the names of specific restaurants where I could call ahead or walk in and order.

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  1. I would re-title this post:

    "SGV Chinese food that will still taste good after I drive it back home to West LA during rush hour"

    Lots of great food to choose from if you're willing to eat in the SGV. These boards are full of suggestions. Most of the greats are not very far from the 10 freeway.

    However, this list contracts *exponentially* if you insist on carrying the food 45 minutes home to West LA. With these limitations, my best suggestion would be to pick up some cold dishes at Yunnan Garden on Las Tunas or, closer to the 10 but not as tasty or nearly as wide a selection, from 101 Noodle Express. However, you'd be missing out on their best dishes-- the dumplings, the beef roll, the beef noodle soup, all of which degrade rapidly as time goes by. I have had some success rejuvenating the beef roll by nuking the refrigerated roll and pan frying it in a little oil in my cast iron pan. I've employed a similar technique with the pork and fennel pies at Beijing pie house.

    I'm sure others will have more suggestions, but off the top of my head I can't think of anything right now. Lamb in XO sauce from China Islamic would be great reheated, but don't try to take the sesame scallion bread home-- it degrades even as it sits on the table. Or maybe some other chow mian dishes would reheat well. But I feel strange even suggesting these ideas.

    Mr Taster

    1. That's going to incorporate a LOT of places. Just using "closest" to the 10 as a base line you could stop at Sam Woo, Capital Seafood, JJ Hong Kong Cafe, Hot Pot Hot Pot (so nice they named it twice), Mama Lu's Dumpling House as starters.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Servorg

        Sam Woo would be good since the bbq pork travels really well. Cooked dumplings are a bad idea for traveling (frozen is a good idea, but it doesn't exactly qualify as takeout). And hotpot? I suppose, but the quintessential Taiwanese hotpot experience is to consume it while the fumes from the stinky tofu co-mingle with the gas vapors from the heating element.

        Mr Taster

        1. re: Mr Taster

          " Dumplings are a bad idea for traveling."

          I don't know. I've always had really good results from reheating take home dumplings. Not the soup ones, but the "pot sticker" type. But Mama Lu's has other items as well, if the OP decides against the take home dumpling idea.

          1. re: Servorg

            Yeah pan fried dumplings would travel somewhat well. Still I would recommend getting a bag of frozen dumplings anyway if you don't normally go to this area and then you could microwave them once at home.

      2. Go to China Point in Rancho Cucamonga.

        Get the chao ma mien aka spicy seafood noodle soup with hand pulled noodles.

        If it were in SGV would be recognized as one of the top 5 noodle dishes in SoCal easily.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Porthos

          Isn't Rancho Cucamonda further East than Pomona?

          1. re: PeterCC

            A solid 9 miles. Would be even better for lunch for the OP dining in. Depending on where in SGV and Monterey Park could end up being the same amount of time.

            Also, as good as if not better than 99% of noodle soups in SGV so for me as worth it as anything in SGV take out.

            Much of the menu is boring Chinese-American dishes. But there is also a small and specialized more authentic menu.

            1. re: Porthos

              I don't doubt that the food is good, but it seems like the OP is looking for places to pick up food on the way home after work. If I had to commute from Pomona to West LA, the last thing I would want to do is drive 9 miles in the opposite direction with traffic during rush hour, but we'll leave that up to the OP to decide how committed he is to good food.

              Anyway, for my contribution to the thread, I would agree with people that you probably shouldn't get any fresh dumplings or anything that's supposed to be crispy. Maybe the curry beef stew or hainan chicken from Savoy?

              1. re: andytseng

                As the OP, I agree that Rancho Cucamonga is in the wrong direction. Going that direction would defeat the original purpose of making a quick stop to bring my wife something for dinner.

        2. Valley Blvd. parallels the 10 on the north and has about 200 Chinese restaurants along your stretch of the 10. Garvey Ave. on the south has several dozens more. So you have an awful lot to choose from. 101 Noodle Express on Valley in Alhambra might be an option, since the beef rolls keep pretty well.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Chandavkl

            >> since the beef rolls keep pretty well.

            I disagree, since the crispiness of the bread would become chewy and the crispiness would disappear during the commute home as the thing steams to death in the styrofoam container. But see my tips above on rejuvenating the beef roll at home in a cast iron pan.

            Mr Taster

            1. re: Mr Taster

              After coming home from work at 2-3AM, I've eaten cold refrigerated beef rolls with much gusto and without much afterthought. I kinda liken it to cold fried chicken, some don't mind it.

          2. Welcome to my reality! My parents live in Diamond Bar and I went to grad school at Cal State L.A., so I often looked for SGV for take out.

            The good news it that pretty much any Chinese Food restaurant from Whole in the wall to fancy does take out. So really you are limited to your appetite. In fact, I've often gotten take out at places because it's a lot quicker than sitting around waiting for a table... My favorite are:

            Mama Lu's (They know how to pack the dumplings so they travel well)
            Savoy (They even pack their Hainan Chicken in a special container)
            Yum Cha Cafe (They do an excellent job packing up their noodle soups)

            I also loved the Mexican food places like Cooks Tortas and several Bahn Mi Shops...


            8 Replies
            1. re: Dommy

              This being Chowhound, I was trying to steer the OP to specific dishes that would not degrade during the ride home (which is why I think the bounty of cold dishes at Yunnan Garden is really the best suggestion, in terms of the food tasting more or less exactly as it does in the restaurant as it would 45 minutes later). No doubt that any Chinese restaurant will pack to go, but many items just don't travel well (especially doughy/bready/steamy/w/soupy things, which at best need some type of resuscitation when he gets home, and at worst totally disintegrate, for instance if a restaurant packages the noodles in the same styrofoam cup as the hot beef noodle soup).

              Since the OP hasn't replied back to us, we don't really have a clear idea of whether he/she is looking for something that's just "good enough", or whether he/she looking for optimal deliciousness. Again, this being Chowhound, I'm assuming "optimal deliciousness" as the baseline default, unless the OP indicates otherwise.

              Incidentally, most recently my beef rolls at 101 have been less crispy at the restaurant than they are when I reheat them at home in cast iron, so I think I actually prefer them being finished in my kitchen!

              Mr Taster

              1. re: Mr Taster

                "Again, this being Chowhound, I'm assuming "optimal deliciousness" as the baseline default, unless the OP indicates otherwise."

                I think the OP has already indicated "otherwise" by the fact that he is taking the food to go on his rather lengthy drive home, rather than stopping and eating in at any of these establishments.

                1. re: Servorg

                  True, but I'm still holding out hope.

                  Mr Taster

                2. re: Mr Taster

                  The OP would like to thank everybody for their suggestions. I just started working at the new job this week, and so far my drive home has averaged about 60 min. I am looking for both "very good" and "optimal deliciousness". I have good enough right down the street from my house and they deliver. I was just hoping that I could turn the long commute into an opportunity to bring home some great food.

                  1. re: rnp0123

                    Depending on the time of day, Yunnan Garden has a large to ridiculously large assortment of cold dishes. You order a plate of 3 as a kind of appetizer, then order several hot main courses. Just walk up to the deli case and point at what looks good to you.

                    Fair warning that if you're not familiar with Chinese cooking, there will be things like chicken feet (spicy and not) and other unrecognizable things. Be bold, and just point to what looks most appetizing. It's all delicious.

                    You should know that this is a restaurant which specializes in some extremely spicy dishes, and a lot of the cold dishes contain things like red chili and Sichuan peppercorns, so it's best to balance some of the redder, hotter items with some of the cooler ones. I particularly like the chili beef (some with tendon, some without), the pressed tofu (which has a bit of the numbing ma la heat from the Sichuan peppercorns), the jade celery (basically blanched celery with sesame oil and vinegar), and spicy pigs ear, shredded seaweed, shredded potatoes in sesame oil, and the cucumbers with garlic. During peak dining times, they prepare so many different varieties that they run out of room in the case and have to start stacking metal bins.


                    It's about 2 miles off the 10, so a little further than a place like 101 Noodle, but the food is really delicious and will stand up to the ride, and most assuredly will be wholly unlike anything your "good enough" West LA Chinese restaurant could serve.

                    If you decide to dine in, there's many hot dishes to try. Wontons in chili oil are my favorite of any I've tried in LA.

                    Mr Taster

                    1. re: rnp0123

                      Yun Chuan Garden is .5 mi off the 10.

                      301 N Garfield Ave
                      Ste D102

                      and serves the same cold deli as Yunna Garden. (You do NOT want to travel two miles Northbound towards Pasadena off the 10W anytime during post-work traffic. The Metro is spending $37.3 million just to study a better way to relieve that traffic.) No need to order three items. You can get one, you can get two, you can get one box of each, you can get two items stuffed into one box. You can get three items stuffed into one box (highly NOT recommended).

                      NB: the cold deli dishes don't come with rice.

                      In reality, that's not really exploiting your heinous drive. Best to grab the to-go menu from Hunan Chili King//Tin Tin/Xiang Wei Lou/Yu Chun/BeBe, and match them to the items shown on Yelp pictures. Order three stir fry dishes, whatever they may be. Stir fry dishes travel. Dumplings/beef rolls/xiao long bao/noodle soups/shen jian bao do not and should only be reserved for take-out by parents of toddlers who are incapable of even boiling dumplings for 12 minutes.

                      G'luck. At least you're traveling against traffic.

                      Also, there's a Yelp feature for this:

                      1. re: TonyC

                        I've always thought it would be neat if yelp or google offered a restaurant lookup that was along a specified route. So if I was making the trip down to San Diego, I could find the best restaurants that only deviated 2 miles from my route. I guess that's what CH is for.

                        1. re: TonyC

                          Beat me to it, TonyC! Yeah, coming up to Las Tunas from the 10 at rush hour(s) is a close-in circle of hell. I'd probably vote to drop down to Garvey, or keep it south of Valley. From west to east, you have Atlantic, Garfield, New, Del Mar, San Gabriel, Walnut Grove, Rosemead and Peck.

                          My picks: (disclaimer - check whether these are still here, or still good - this is a cumulative list over many years)

                          Atlantic/Garfield: Dumpling Master (just south of 10, easy in, need to do a u-turn back to fwy); Bahn Mi Che Cali, BeBe (Taiwanese) and many others north of 10 along Valley btwn Atlantic and Garfield. Exit Garfield, up to Valley, pick up, back to 10 on Atlantic.

                          New: Omar's, MPV up on Valley

                          Del Mar: Traffic, not much good chow close to 10.

                          San Gabriel: Yum Cha cafe (inside giant Chinese "San Gabriel Superstore" - not sure about hours); 168 Garden (was Yun Nan, spicy noodle soup, cold apps/Sichuan style fare). Up on Valley is a revolving cast of restaurants btwn San Gabriel and Walnut Grove, south side of Valley (888 is there, several others).

                          Rosemead: Sea Harbour

                          What else - there are dozens of "cafes", HK style places probably not what you have in mind. I'm not into these places (personal taste) but if I were from HK I'm sure I'd crave/love them. There are also multiple Vietnamese sandwich places per mile along Valley and Garvey.

                          This is sort of a lifelong project to go through these and just find what appeals to you, what has decent parking, which understand orders in English. Godspeed, rnp, and let us know when you move to Pasadena (or quit! ; )