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Pyromania at Chengdu Taste in Alhambra

Having prototypical Cantonese taste buds I'm not the person to judge who has the spiciest food in town. But I have my suspicions that Chengdu Taste, whose recent opening was flagged by Tony C, and successor to Golden Shanghai at 828 W. Valley Bl., might be up there. First of all, I don't recall seeing a menu with such a high percentage of items marked extra spicy. Secondly, while I was in the restaurant, an agitated Asian customer was apparently complaining about the food being too spicy. Had I gone to the spicy side of the menu I would have ordered the rabbit in younger sister's secret sauce, but instead I had the tofu fish casserole, which really was a soup. Extremely tasty, so somebody in the kitchen knows how to cook. I'll let the rest of you rate the spicy stuff.

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    1. Having no idea what "rabbit in younger sister's secret sauce" might be, I was about to Google it, before I realized such a search would probably take me to the wrong side of the internets....

      Still, thanks for the heads-up; as someone who likes things on the hotter side I'll see if I can give it a try this week.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Bradbury

        Apparently there's a popular Chengdu dish called sister rabbit or second sister rabbit which is spicy but also the rabbit bones are very prominent in the dish. I'm assuming that's what the dish was.

        1. re: PeterCC

          I think it's called 二姐兔丁 and if I remember correcty, it's prepared with chili peppers, sichuan peppercorns, black beans, and peanuts. About 2/3rds of the dish is bones though.

        2. re: Bradbury

          I went yesterday, and this item is already crossed off their menu, including at least another dozen dishes. Had a plate titled Fried Chicken in Chilis, which turned out to be chopped up inch long pieces of chicken with the bone-in stir fried with green chilis and bell peppers. Tasty and spicy (asked for medium level of spiciness) but found that it was hard to eat with the sizes of the chicken being so small, that's basically almost just bones.

          Had their cumin lamb which was tasty and spicy. Does anyone one know the significance of having to skewer each piece of meat with a toothpick? I noticed they had a Toothpick Lamb (and a Toothpick Beef), so how does this plate differ from the cumin lamb? Strange.

          Have to go back with a group of friends in order to be able to try out more dishes.

          1. re: TripleAxel

            My guess is that the toothpicks would allow you to use your hands to pick up the pieces to eat.

          2. re: Bradbury

            jonathan gold ‏@thejgold 1h
            Nothing but sadness. Younger Sister's Diced Rabbit was crossed off the menu.


            1. re: Bradbury

              it's still on the menu as of 3 hours ago. #3 IIRC

              the rabbit was chopped into cubes, but with pieces of bone.

              1. re: barryc

                The thread has gotten so unwieldy that posts get missed.

                The rabbit dish was returned quickly to the menu.

                Looks much like the rabbit at Shu Feng (and bones too)

            2. I just ate here. Basically, this place is sensational.

              its not just the spice levels, which are gratifyingly high. Its the artistry of the entire package. This is high-brow, elegant, complex cooking.

              the prices are a little high -- the fried chicken cubes are 14.99 and the cumin lamb is 13.99 -- but the latter is absolutely worth it. (didnt try the cubes). It comes as a pyramid of toothpick-skewered lamb chunks dusted with a volcanic combination of spice and tingly crushed szechuan peppercorn, graced with cilantro. Unbelievable good, charred, grilled lamby perfection. The Tan Tan noodles were splendid. Both dishes seems to point to a level of kitchen artistry that puts chengdu taste above its szechuan competitors that I've tried.


              10 Replies
              1. re: echoparkdirt

                Hmmm, I think I'll give them a try tonight!

                1. re: echoparkdirt

                  Did you notice if hey have lamb ribs on the menu?A photo of the outstanding ones from JTHY is attached

                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                    didnt notice that. they do have some uncommon names for dishes, it might be some time until we find everything.

                    I encourage everyone to visit and publish dining reports!

                    Also, free WiFi :D

                  2. re: echoparkdirt

                    Are Tan Tan Noodles the same thing as Dan Dan Noodles?

                    1. re: narcissisticnonsense

                      Same dish/theory, different romanization and execution. Usually, japanese places use "tan tan" and chinese places use "dan dan" due to the way that they're pronounced in each respective language.

                      1. re: blimpbinge

                        They were Dan Dan noodles, essentially. I also got the Cold Noodles in Garlic Sauce, which was lovely with a unique flavor I could not pin down. Sweet.

                        1. re: echoparkdirt

                          today's dan dan noodles were on the seriously spicy side.

                      2. re: narcissisticnonsense

                        tofu = dofu. Asian languages often distinguish between aspirated and unaspirated consonants. We tend to aspirate T but not D which makes them easier to tell apart. Unaspirated T is almost interchangeable with D.

                        1. re: LADave

                          Also depends on what transcription/romanization was used to distringuish between aspirated and unaspirated. Wade-Giles was the classic method that transcribed the "t" and "d" sounds in Chinese "backwards" in English in my opinion.

                          In W-G, the "d" sound is transcribed as a "t", so that's why the Chinese philosophy that's pronounced "dao" was traditionally spelled "tao".

                          The "backwards" part is that Chinese has a "t" sound, like in Taiwan. For whatever reason, W-G decided to transcribe that sound as a "t'" (there's an apostrophe after the letter). So Taiwan, properly written in W-G is "T'aiwan" but most people drop the apostrophe.

                          Pinyin transcribes the aspirated and unaspirated sounds in a more logical (in my opinion) manner. For the unaspirated "d" sound, they use the English letter "d". For the aspirated "t" sound, they use the English letter "t" without apostrophes.

                          Same for the unaspirated "g". W-G transcribes the general term for Chinese martial arts as "kung fu" even though it's pronounced with the unaspirated "g" sound. Pinyin transcribes it as "gong fu".

                          So the noodles are pronounced "dan dan" in Mandarin but may be spelled "tan tan" (in W-G) or "dan dan" (in pinyin).

                          (The Japanese version is spelled and pronounced with a "t" sound, "tantanmen".)

                          1. re: PeterCC

                            Hello from Daya, Taichung.

                            Point of clarification on what you're referring to generically as "pinyin". In your post, you're referring specifically to Hanyu Pinyin.

                            Don't forget that in Taiwan, in addition to Wade-Giles, they use the newish Tongyong Pinyin IN ADDITION to Hanyu Pinyin (which is the most popular one used in PRC).

                            For example, the Wade-Giles "ch" sound (as in "chung") is expressed in Hanyu Pinyin as "zh". Tongyong Pinyin (which is frustratingly used in city signage sometimes interchangeably with Hanyu Pinyin) expresses the "ch" sound as "jh" so "jhong" is the transliterated Tongyong Pinyin spelling.

                            Personally I feel the "jh" is a more accurate written expression of the correct sound than either zh or ch, but Tongyong Pinyin is the latecomer to the game and has a helluva road to climb to become widely relevant. (It's largely irrelevant politically now anyway as it is not longer considered the "official" romanization system for Taiwanese signage)

                            Mr Taster

                    2. just came here again. Fantastic. A woman from Chengdu was eating at the same time. She said the food was very authentic and tasted exactly like back home!

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: echoparkdirt

                        I don't see why that would be out off the ordinary in this area.

                        1. re: blimpbinge

                          Actually, it's very extraordinary.

                          Most SGV Sichuanese restaurants are bending towards the Chongqing hold-no-bar-back extra spicy with the sole aim of getting all the way through your digestive system.

                          It's extremely difficult to find any Chengdu style restaurant after Shufeng Garden at the Great Mall of China closed. Chengdu style food has a finer balance of spicy & numbness and you can still taste the disk - i.e. it's not spicy for spicy sake.

                          1. re: keepon

                            ^ This. Shufeng Garden and Chengdu Taste are definitely in the same vein. I'm very impressed with just the sample of dishes I had at Chengdu Taste, even if they were some of the more mundane. Went with the liang pi and spicy won tons simply to have a couple of small dishes to compare...and I didn't expect the lamb w/ cumin to be the toothpicked version. Some will grouse about the $, but that's the best quality lamb I've had in the SGV.

                            1. re: JThur01

                              The dollars are still not bad by West LA standards if I got that right though I haven't actually visited yet.

                              Do they served sliced fish dishes too ?

                              1. re: kevin

                                kevin, sorry I missed this is all the posts. No the $$ aren't bad at all, but I'm used to complaints about price - aside from dim sum or dinner service at dim sum places - when it creeps over $9. Unfortunately, I can't answer the question about sliced fish dishes (hopefully someone else will). While I studied the menu a bit, I was popping in (with someone else) for some basic items and didn't absorb the menu. Without a take-out menu as a reference, I truly don't know. Sorry. I only noted the filet dishes.

                                After the hubbub dies down, I'd love to go back and dig deeper into TonyC's recs.

                                1. re: JThur01

                                  Good grief - "sorry I missed this *in* all the posts" and "when it creeps over $9 in the SGV"

                                  See what getting in at 1AM does to me?

                                    1. re: kevin

                                      No...I just got home at 1AM and then attempted to type a post here at CH :)

                        1. re: judybird

                          They do not and according to the manager, they do not permit BYOB.

                        2. Any body else check this out? Would love to hear about favorite dishes...

                          1 Reply
                          1. Going tonight - any updates?
                            I saw Tony Chen write up on eaterla.
                            Sounds great.

                            32 Replies
                            1. re: Ciao Bob


                              Email me when you're nearby if you want to meet the whole Chengdu clan.

                              I will hold steadfast to the notion ordering the mung bean "noodles", anything with "toothpicks", majority of the water boiled dishes, and the "icy powder" dessert which they push SO hard (after all, they're mailing the veg powder from Sichuan, thereby skipping FDA/CBP), are mostly a waste of time.

                              Didn't take a look at the specials board Saturday, but 75% of the specials board is noted on the menu, there's no need to feel whited if you can't read the board.

                              Other items of note edited out of the Eater piece: crus/crura isn't clitoris/diaphragm nor pig penis, it's just pork hock, and that shit will negate all the statin in your blood stream.

                              Serious Eats, Stuff White People Like, and even Pleasure Palate were all spotted partaking in ass-numbing grub over the weekend. So please, tweet @chengdutaste to let him know the y.t.s aren't afraid of no chili.

                              1. re: TonyC

                                don't think I have your email TC
                                I'm rcwoll@gmail.com

                                1. re: TonyC

                                  TC...any idea what kind of fish they're using for the boiled fish and other fish dishes?

                                  1. re: revets2

                                    They only told me "live" in the green or red chili water boiled fish, but I can't imagine live fish being used to churn out a 1 lb worth "Mama" pickled chili fish for $9 (this, btw, is probably the best bargain in the entire menu.)

                                    I didn't push, but I will ask.

                                    1. re: revets2

                                      Filets are usually tilapia unless otherwise noted.

                                      1. re: Porthos

                                        I figured, but tasted better than tilapia.

                                        1. re: revets2

                                          Some of my friends thought it was catfish filets....

                                          1. re: revets2

                                            The "water boiled" treatment could make even shoe leather taste better.

                                            Mr Taster

                                        2. re: revets2

                                          for our meal, the server said we could either get a live fish (but we had no idea what it was (didn't understand the chinese name)), or grey sole fish fillets.

                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              Given the cost of cod relative to the dish and the location of Sichuan provence in relation to the ocean, I'm willing to bet your lambo it's not cod.

                                              Will a fluent mandarin speaker just call and ask already? ;-)

                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                Chengdu Taste is closer to the fish market in DTLA than Sichuan province.

                                          1. re: revets2

                                            The texture was really more like tilapia or sole. The texture was definitely not cod. And it didn't have the muddy taste of catfish.

                                            Who knows?!?

                                            TonyC will get to the bottom of it!

                                            1. re: revets2

                                              The fish in the mama's preserved/pickled chili fish is definitely tilapia.

                                              Concurring the green chili water-boiled fish doesn't seem to be tilapia. Let me go ask... Better yet, someone else go ask.

                                              Swai is obviously really popular these days, but that's nowhere near "live".

                                              More mysterious is the use of the word crura. I mean.. really? Can a butcher (or surgeon) explain wtf exactly is "pork crura"?

                                              1. re: TonyC

                                                More mysterious is the use of the word crura. I mean.. really? Can a butcher (or surgeon) explain wtf exactly is "pork crura"?

                                                Do you have a picture of the dish?

                                                My first thought was diaphragm aka hanger steak and skirt steak in beef.

                                                Below link has a nice diagram:


                                                Although by your description of the dish it sounds like the below definition:


                                                As you know, I wouldn't get too caught up by the English words on a Chinese menu. At least they spelled it right.

                                                1. re: Porthos

                                                  I believe it's this dish that was recommended to us by our waiter.

                                                  1. re: TripleAxel

                                                    Saw your pics on yelp. Looks delicious! Guess they are using crura to mean the shank/hock portion. Diaphragm would be awesome also. Wouldn't put it past a Chinese restaurant to offer the other definitions as well.

                                                    1. re: TripleAxel

                                                      Though the bamboo shoots with smoked pork is a fantastic dish (I ask for extra bamboo), that's not the crura. The menu may incorrectly list it as "crura".

                                                      1. re: TonyC

                                                        it's basically dong po style with the spiciness kicked up several notches. you need about 3 containers of rice to go with it. i picked up the bone and gnawed it to make sure i got everything off it.

                                                        i did the same thing with the fish head of the fried fish in sauce.

                                                        (i bet you thought i was exaggerating about gnawing that bone)

                                                        1. re: barryc

                                                          Damn. I'm going to have to hit it up soon.

                                                          Dan Dan noodles sound great as well as the floating fish, or rather peppers floating atop the whitefish.

                                                          1. re: barryc

                                                            There are 2 styles of crura. You got that one, I got the other one ( http://sinosoul.com/wp-content/upload... ) -- I do not have the menu in front to specifically name the styles. One is saucy, one is ... less saucy, and more oily. Either way, that's one of my fave dishes that should be on everyone's hit list instead of the silly toothpick whatever.

                                                            1. re: TonyC

                                                              i suspect that they're more or less prepared the same where one is briefly heated with a dong po sauce made separately while the other version is given the treatment you depicted. the braised fat is the star. (and shame on you for leaving little shreds of meat on the bone.)

                                                      2. re: Porthos

                                                        Well, initial google-fu showed something to the effect of "clitoris". Sadly, that got edited out even though I'd always hoped to use both "clitoris" and "penis" in a food piece. I mean, what could be better than peen/vag double entendres when talking about spicy Chinese food?

                                                        I suppose what I really want to know is which Chinese-English translation engine they used to come up with the word "crus". Craziness.

                                                        And they spelled 50% of it wrong, but like I said, a new menu is coming, maybe.

                                                        1. re: TonyC

                                                          my main man for putting both words in a foodie piece.

                                                          my tiny hats go off to you.

                                                          1. re: TonyC

                                                            they got takeout menus too up front ?

                                                            1. re: TonyC

                                                              Well, you can suggest to Feng Mao that aside from sheep's penis, they should offer sheep clitoris as well... BTW, sheep's penis is nasty. Tasteless and has the consistency of the unfried form of shrimp chips.

                                                              1. re: TripleAxel

                                                                is that the same thing as the bull penis feng mao used to offer? because that bull penis tasted like...overcooked penis.

                                                                1. re: ns1


                                                                  I don't think it ever was bull penis.

                                                                  According to my recollection, which is backed up by my initial report on the place from 2008, it was and always has been goat penis:


                                                                  After I broke the story, I remember reading multiple subsequent reports about bull penis. I really have no idea where that came from. As far as I knew it was (and had always been) goat penis.

                                                                  I recall that the Chinese on the menu used the character for goat. Maybe the English read differently?

                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                          2. re: TonyC

                                                            If these guys were able to make frozen swai taste and texture like that, they're freakin' genius.

                                                            Most curious about what the fish in the red chili water boiled and the non-spicy tofu and fish pot.

                                                            May go tonight and will ask.

                                                            1. re: revets2

                                                              My hunch is that it's tilapia, but I'd be curious to know as well...

                                                  2. I've been a couple times now. It is, as everyone says, very, very good. The first time - which was opening week - was admittedly a little more tasty than last night, which makes sense but is a little disappointing. That won't stop me from going back again and again, though. This place isn't nearly as spicy as Lucky Noodle King or Chung King, so I wouldn't say it's pyromania or even close to the spiciest food in town. It's chengdu food, so it's spicy but not, say, Hunan Mao or Jitlada spicy.

                                                    The dishes I've eaten (everything is good):

                                                    -The cold garlic noodle is sensational.
                                                    -The tan tan noodle is equally good, although there doesn't seem to be any sesame paste involved - or at least not very much - compared to the other dan dan creations I've eaten. The only other place I've had a similar noodle was in Miami, and that place just calls it hot sichuan garlic noodle... anyone knows more about that?
                                                    -The mung bean cold noodle was good too.
                                                    -The wonton in sichuan peppercorn dish was, predictably, mouth-numbing. Up to you whether you like the sensation.
                                                    -The rabbit is indeed back - got it last night. I have nothing to compare it to, but it's a great dish.
                                                    -The tea-preserved duck (or whatever it's called on the menu) was cooked perfectly and came with three buns - kinda skimping on the buns/duck ratio. (WIth that said, I don't know if the buns were the chef's touch to make it resemble Beijing duck.) The taste of whatever the duck was marinated in was very strong, so also up to personal preference. Kinda tasted like propane.
                                                    -The chicken in mom's preserved chili was the spiciest - verryyy spicy next day coming out of the fridge - and is a great dish.
                                                    -Got shredded garlic pork and kung pao chicken for fun, and they taste exactly like they do in China, which was nice for nostalgia's sake.
                                                    -Sichuan garlic eggplant was excellent.

                                                    25 Replies
                                                    1. re: narcissisticnonsense

                                                      Thanks - great info

                                                      <<I have nothing to compare it to>>

                                                      How does it compare to this?

                                                      This one is from riverside restaurant Chengdu where you do not just eat your rabbit - you select the one you want them to cook for you: living of course, until he/she became a course.

                                                      1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                        Chengdu Taste doesn't give us that option, unfortunately.

                                                        That looks different from what they serve. Here's what it looks like, courtesy of this yelper:


                                                        Worth noting that the reason they took it off the menu in the first place, according to the waiter, was because the chefs felt they couldn't make it the same way or the same quality as they did in China.

                                                        1. re: narcissisticnonsense

                                                          I haven't been to the original Shufeng in Rowland Heights for a bit, but they had a similar rabbit dish - and might still (which also was on the Shufeng menu at their location in the Focus Plaza in San Gabriel).

                                                      2. re: narcissisticnonsense

                                                        Thanks for the report.

                                                        If you got three buns with the tea smoked duck, that's three more than I've ever had with an order of tea smoked duck! It isn't usually served a la Beijing Duck.

                                                        1. re: JThur01

                                                          I have had tea smoked duck with many-a-bun, both here in the US and in the Middle Kingdom.

                                                          We had a great feast at Chengdu Taste night. The wabbit was fantastic. So were all the noodle dishes referenced above. Water Boiled Fish (red one) - excellent. Served on a platter rather than a teeming cauldron with bean sprouts etc (that prep is done for the green water boiled dishes, a pleasant change). Enjoyed the lamb. Wonderful not spicy tofu and fish "casserole." Tea smoked duck was tasty but overly dry and not very meaty.

                                                          The got a little upset with us for bringing beer and wine and asked us not to do so in the future.

                                                          J Gold was eating there so you should probably go before he yaps.

                                                          1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                            Ciao Bob, thanks for the report.

                                                            Hmm. I've never had the buns with tea smoked duck here. Odd.

                                                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                              "Tea smoked duck was tasty but overly dry and not very meaty."

                                                              Oops, sorry CB. Thanks for taking one for the team. She told me they've sold out the tea duck a few nights, and I took that as a sign it's a tasty item.

                                                              The rabbit is really best with some frosty brewski, I hope they get their ABC straightened out, otherwise I'm still going back to Shen Yang for the 5-color pulled skin + race dog meat + cold noodles + beer, beer, beer.

                                                              1. re: TonyC

                                                                @CB Tea smoked duck is supposed to be overly dry & not very meaty, and have a almost "preserved duck" quality to it. I guess you will really like it if you grew up with it. The buns seems kinda of strange....

                                                                Agree with you that we should all go before JGold writes about it. I've been there twice and planned to go back this Sat. @TC can you introduce us to the crew? The waiter was so funny, he said he put on 15lb in the past 4 weeks as the staff meal was too tasty.

                                                                1. re: keepon

                                                                  @CB Tea smoked duck is supposed to be overly dry & not very meaty,
                                                                  I've had many a tea smoked duck with crispy skin, and meat that was tender and not dried out. Not juicy like Cantonese style roast duck but not dried out either.

                                                                    1. re: Porthos

                                                                      The only truly good Chinese restaurant in Nashville, long long gone, had a tea-smoked duck you had to order as soon as you sat down - $15, as I recall - and it was truly succulent under the skin. Mrs. O and I would split it and still have good leftovers, not to mention a divine carcass.

                                                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                                                        And the best roast duck I have ever had was at a joint in New Orleans. No joke.

                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                          That's no surprise,kevin...where?

                                                                          1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                            Brigtsen's in Uptown.

                                                                            From their online menu:

                                                                            Roast Duck with Cornbread Dressing & Tart Dried Cherry Sauce 28.

                                                                            And their Ponchatoula strawberry shortcake (in season) was beyond incomparable.

                                                                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                              Why was that no suprise ? Because I said it, or because NOLA is a hotbed of great roast duck dishes ?

                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                The latter.
                                                                                I have had so many great ducks down there. But Brigtsen's has (or had, it has been at least a decade since I have eaten and I have read of slippage) one of the best.

                                                                      2. re: keepon


                                                                        Totally would, except Xu/Xiao seem to NOT work weekend dinners (smart, since she seemed a bit edgy last week)? I typically catch them before closing, during the last turn, just around staff meal time.

                                                                        otherwise, you can reach her on WeChat under "chengdutaste". Enjoy Sat.!

                                                                        1. re: TonyC

                                                                          FWIW one of my party asked the waiter's opinion about the duck and the fish and the waiter recommended the fish over the duck.

                                                                        2. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                          damn, now i'll never get a seat.

                                                                          1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                            Stash cold beers in a cooler in your car trunk just outside the joint. During your feast, pretend like you're going out for a smoke...

                                                                            1. re: J.L.

                                                                              I was recently told by a food editor this can be considered alcholism.

                                                                              1. re: TonyC

                                                                                Hehehe... I simply call it bucking the system.

                                                                                1. re: TonyC

                                                                                  which food editor told you that ?

                                                                          2. re: narcissisticnonsense

                                                                            Had the fried lamb with cumin, which I thought was the best lamb dish I've ever had in SGV, and midway through I decided to have the cold garlic noodle. Still had some lamb remaining.

                                                                            Unfortunately, the two didn't mix, the cumin had overpowered the noodles, and they tasted, to me, like cold dan dan noodles.

                                                                            I won't do that again, but I'll be back - really terrific food, service, and friendliness.

                                                                          3. Chengdu Taste
                                                                            828 West Valley Road
                                                                            Alhambra CA 91803

                                                                            (626) 588-2284

                                                                            1. thanks to chandavkl, TonyC, echoparkdirt and so many others on the reports for this eatery. :> i was going to try those cold noodles that Tony recommended, but my buddies decided to test their fire tolerance and we all ended up here at Chengdu Taste. :>

                                                                              one note: i applied Tony's helpful tip about asking the staff to leave off MSG (from the Shufeng rec), and we asked the staff here and they were happy to oblige. they said they normally add MSG but can leave it off if you ask. so that was nice.

                                                                              we got the #3. Diced Rabbit with Younger Sister's Secret Recipe - great rec! :> it has a good spiciness and slightly numbing taste. i know it sounds like a cliche, but it seriously "tastes like chicken." :>

                                                                              #18. Wonton with Pepper Sauce (Numb-Taste). the name "numb taste" was too tempting not to try. and seriously, after the first wonton we couldn't feel our tongue or mouth! LOL :> awesome numbing power, but prolly a bit too overwhelming.

                                                                              #53. Boiled Fish with Green Pepper Sauce. with 2 "chili marks" on the menu we thought we were going to be torched but surprisingly it was served in a clear broth. some bean sprouts, bamboo and a clear broth/soup accompanied the fish. well and we had a whole layer of fresh chilies (serrano maybe?) floating on top. it was pretty tasty, light and not coated in chili oil or deep red like some of the other dishes.

                                                                              #101. Fried Lamb with Cumin - we stayed away from the toothpick stuff from Tony's tip, and tried this one instead. it was really fragrant (lotsa cumin!), but maybe a bit too salty but we liked it.

                                                                              overall it was pretty good. but i definitely wanna try those cold noodles from Shufeng that Tony recommended next time we're in the area. :>

                                                                              63 Replies
                                                                              1. re: chowseeker1999

                                                                                I ordered the "lamb with cumin" and it came with toothpicks too! then i asked the lady what the difference was between the lamb with cumin and the "toothpick mutton" and she said it was the same! i didn't understand....

                                                                                1. re: chowseeker1999

                                                                                  "i definitely wanna try those cold noodles from Shufeng next time we're in the area."

                                                                                  Awesome, you should. and just so you DO NOT get lost, it's Sheng Yang Monterey Park for the cold noodles, Shufeng Hacienda Heights for... Iunno, 5 o'clock ass-burn chitlin hotpot, spicy fried chicken cubes, ad nausea.

                                                                                  The water boiled "green" chili dishes was a-ok, but a bit of gimmick, as are the tooth pick fried proteins. For uber OG shit, go with the spicy fish fillet with dou hua (#64) or the All-Spicy All-Offal #106 毛血旺, a trademark Sichuan dish. Then again, said dish supposedly causes stomach cancer, so you all are on your own.

                                                                                  1. re: TonyC

                                                                                    hi tonyc,

                                                                                    cool! :> gotcha. Shufeng Monterey Park.

                                                                                    i'll definitely try the #64. i'm allergic to cancer so i'll probably stay away from #106 then. :> thanx again!

                                                                                    1. re: TonyC

                                                                                      i'll hit up that #64 too, any other pretty dope, fish or seafood dishes on the menu.

                                                                                      i just have to clear my meetings and appontments for the next 48 hours after eating there. if't antyhing like the sichuan greats of the sgv.

                                                                                    2. re: chowseeker1999

                                                                                      Shufeng actually closed the Alhambra Store. The Rowland Heights Store was still open about 3 months ago.

                                                                                      1. re: DocRob

                                                                                        Shufeng in Focus Plaza in SG closed at the end of '10. Shufeng had a Monterey Pk. location that almost escaped unnoticed. Both were outstanding, and RH still was on my last visit.

                                                                                        I'm going to sound like TonyC here. I don't get the level of buzz over Chengdu Taste vs. lack of same for Shufeng. Don't get me wrong, I love Chengdu Taste, but Shufeng was (is in RH) quality too, and as some have mentioned, quite similar. Is it simply because Chengdu Taste is that 2.8 miles closer to the Westside? There was a bit of buzz back in '09 when Shufeng opened in Focus Plaza, but not on this level. New toy syndrome?

                                                                                        1. re: JThur01

                                                                                          It's because Chengdu Taste has Sichuan Opera masks on the wall! So Chinesey.


                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                          1. re: JThur01

                                                                                            More social media coverage of food compared to 4 years ago? Higher profile coverage of SGV from the likes of you, Chandavkl, ClarissaW, TonyC?

                                                                                            1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                              Probably. About five years ago, where TonyC and Clarrissa explains it all, on the scene ?

                                                                                              1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                Pete, have you hit that shit up yet ?

                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                  Not yet. I think I need to hit up Flavor Garden first, but I am interested in Chengdu Taste. Rowland Heights is an additional two-thirds farther than Alhambra from me, so I probably wouldn't hit up Shufeng...

                                                                                                  1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                    oh, my bad, that's what the RH stood for.

                                                                                                    in that case, maybe, i'll also hit up Chengdu Taste first, or maybe make that visit to Sea Harbour or Seafood Village.

                                                                                                    Is there any other great Chiu Chow-style cuisine in the SGV ?

                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                      Kevin, you can't compare Chengdu Taste with either Sea Harbour or Seafood Village,

                                                                                                      I certainly hope you know why. You do, don't you?

                                                                                                      1. re: toitoi


                                                                                                        I'm just saying in the sense that instead of going for pizza, I guess I'll go for cheeseburgers.

                                                                                                        You are absolutey correct.

                                                                                                    2. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                      i did flavor garden a week ago. i wouldn't say anything there was the best, but everything was consistently good. those buns *are* frickin' huge. the scallion pancake was crisp, reasonably thick, yet not overly greasy. the spare rib appetizer with the rice powder & sweet potato was an amazing balance of flavor & texture. no big globs of pork fat where you might expect to find them in a lesser establishment in the ribs or ground pork.

                                                                                                      1. re: barryc

                                                                                                        I specifically want to go there for the rice powder sweet potato rib dish. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/908345

                                                                                                        1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                          "I specifically want to go there for the rice powder sweet potato rib dish."


                                                                                                          @PeterCC: fyi, when i went, your steamed ribs dish was crossed off the menu. :<

                                                                                                            1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                              I guess you're hitting up Chengdu Taste first in that case.

                                                                                                2. re: JThur01

                                                                                                  I don't get the level of buzz over Chengdu Taste vs. lack of same for Shufeng.
                                                                                                  All this talk made me go to Chong Qing Mei Wei in Irvine. The cold dishes are a clear step down from what I remember at Shufeng RH. Shufeng RH has always been my standard.

                                                                                                  Shufeng RH has stood the test of time without CH buzz. It'll be fine (I hope).

                                                                                                  1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                    Ok, then maybe I should also go to Shufeng RH instead.

                                                                                                  2. re: JThur01

                                                                                                    I find them sufficiently different that I need both CT and SF/RH in my life. For one thing, Shufeng is quite a bit hotter. I suppose I could ask CT to goose the heat up a notch but I enjoyed the milder profile. For another thing, CT has the "green" water boiled dishes - do not think I saw those on the SF/RH.

                                                                                                    1. re: JThur01

                                                                                                      Whoah there. Never said I didn't "get" the buzz.

                                                                                                      I get the buzz. The buzz is real. The staff speaks English. They "decorated", they're on Weibo (@chihoula has 38K followers, and mentioned Chengdu Taste on Monday, getting 161 RTs http://www.weibo.com/2175459892/A2lwv... , leading to massive 1+ hour dinner wait by Wednesday). Waitresses are friendly (I kinda love the fragile sincerity of Yang Yang -- but that may be a separate round-face fetish, unrelated to food/service), the food and enthusiasm is infectious.

                                                                                                      But as ips likes to remind us: SGV restaurants aren't relying on the white masses, nor Chow write-ups, for business. Though from his silence, I'm betting he owns 50% of this place.

                                                                                                      JTYH received a huge uptick when they made LA Weekly in '09, and look at them now.

                                                                                                      1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                        When I went to Chengdu Taste, as I was looking a the menu, the waiter asked if I knew that they had been mentioned on Yelp, and that J. Gold was a client. He mentioned Gold about 3 times during the course of my lunch. Nothing wrong with that.

                                                                                                        Hunan Mao on Valley Blvd in Rosemead made news in LA Times. I went 3 times following the review, each time the food was superb, and as I sat down a small dish of spicy pickled daikon was served. I took a friend for the 4th visit - no daikon, and we were the only people there. These were all lunches, I haven't been back.

                                                                                                        1. re: toitoi

                                                                                                          When I went to Jitlada, more than a few years back, Jazz kept gushing about JGold visiting the joint, ad nauseum.

                                                                                                          Though it was rightly so since Jitlada for the most part delivers the Southern thai goods to the proverbial T.

                                                                                                          Except their prices have not so slowly crept up over the ensuing years.

                                                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                                                            Gee, and I've been a Jitlada diner for years; not once did Jazz ever mention JGold to me or any reviewer, except for one time, a long time ago, when the new paper menu was printed and it wasn't in my menu book. It was then she complained that JGold was responsible for people taking them.

                                                                                                            1. re: toitoi

                                                                                                              True story.

                                                                                                              But what do you mean by a "menu book" ?

                                                                                                              Is that your pad where you write your notes in a review of the joint.

                                                                                                              1. re: kevin


                                                                                                                It's that large thingy that you open up.

                                                                                                                Yeah, it's only a menu, but I wanted to be more precise. After all some menu's are only a sheet of paper, and some you have to turn page after page (some even have pictures) so to be defining about what Jitlada has, it's a book-like menu, not a single piece of paper.

                                                                                                        2. re: TonyC

                                                                                                          I think JThur01 just meant he's channeling your voice, not necessarily your opinion...

                                                                                                          1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                            ipse owns the joint ?

                                                                                                            btw, what do you mean by "separate round-face fetish" ?

                                                                                                            tonyc, you're comments directly above (from 1 hr ago) are in regards to chendgu taste, correct ?

                                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                                              > ipse owns the joint ?

                                                                                                              This is how rumors get started...

                                                                                                              1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                oh, jeez, my apologies.

                                                                                                                i was just looking for clarification since i thought someone was hinting about that from above.

                                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                  TonyC did, but he was just speculating (I think).

                                                                                                            2. re: TonyC

                                                                                                              "JTYH received a huge uptick when they made LA Weekly in '09, and look at them now."

                                                                                                              What about them now? We've not been in a while…

                                                                                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                Actually JTYH still pretty good - Just went 2-3 months ago.

                                                                                                                Just because the hype machine has left the building doesn't always mean they can't cook no more.

                                                                                                                1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                  J.L. - Happy to know all's well with JTYH. I've got some unfinished business there: never got the lamb noodles. Still on my To Do List.

                                                                                                            3. re: JThur01

                                                                                                              Shefeng is quite good, but I went to both the Rowland Heights restaurant and to Chengdu Taste last weekend, and the two restaurants are just . . . different. I know Shufeng is also in the Chengdu style, but the food seemed to be a bit heavier, a bit more reliant on chili oil. I would cheerfully eat at either though.

                                                                                                              1. re: condiment

                                                                                                                A lot to cover here. I meant sounding like TonyC in the context of being (in my case mildly) contrarian. TonyC's well stated reply covers strengths and positives I agree with completely for Chengdu Taste. To put it bluntly, it's the "white folk buzz" I don't get.

                                                                                                                condiment and Ciao Bob bring up good points, but I'm not saying the two are exactly the same, that's not my point. Restaurants of similar cuisine styles - in this case Chengdu - might share 90-95% of menu items. It's that last 5-10% that feature different dishes. Then there's how the more common are executed. For example, Shufeng features a very similar rabbit dish. Yet, there seems a perception that's unique to Chengdu Taste. Another thing that got me was this description in the LAW piece: "Apparently, this is Sichuan cooking that hasn't been seen in a while." Neither of these is true.

                                                                                                                Peter brings up social media. I think that's some of it, but...a couple of good questions: 1. where did you first hear/read of Chengdu Taste (from who?) and 2. How many of you have even been to Shufeng? (I'm guessing several have not). Even of those that have, how many of the similar dishes have you tried? Hopefully you're not comparing items they don't have in common, because, well, that can't be done.

                                                                                                                Again, none of this is a knock at Chengdu Taste. I too welcome both. Again, the whole point is the *level* of buzz for Chengdu Taste VS. lack of same for Shufeng. That's the puzzlement. That's the part of me that was channeling TonyC :)

                                                                                                                Of course, if ipsedixit's family is involved, this whole thing is a moot point :)

                                                                                                                1. re: JThur01

                                                                                                                  <<Neither of these is true>>

                                                                                                                  And if these posts continue, and if the Goldster stops slurping and starts writing, the long lines at CT will ameliorate the "benefit" of proximity to the Western parts of this city, and - hopefully - bring Shufeng some much needed business.

                                                                                                                  Now, who has had Shufeng's Tea Smoked Duck? I don't recall if it is on the menu but I am sure they would make it if asked.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                                    So, it is the benefit of proximity to the Westside? :)

                                                                                                                    (raises hand) I've had Tea Smoked Duck at Shufeng. I thought it quite good. No buns though. It's not on the last take-out menu, at least as Tea Smoked Duck, but I still ordered it from the "dine in" menu. It might be what is listed as "Shufeng Duck"

                                                                                                                    1. re: JThur01

                                                                                                                      I chose "Western parts of the city" with care :))

                                                                                                                    2. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                                      CB, managed to stop by Shufeng in Rowland Hts. last night just before closing time and Tea Smoked Duck is still on the dine in menu, but not listed on the take-out menu. Ordered it. Still good.

                                                                                                                      I now return everyone to the hypefest (and seriously folks, I *do* very much like Chengdu Taste and want to try more there...well, after the JG throng dissipates).

                                                                                                                    3. re: JThur01

                                                                                                                      I do think a large part is "new toy syndrome" (as you said above). The word "buzz" already implies (to me) a sense of discovery. Chengdu Taste is new. Shufeng Garden is not, though its visibility has been re-raised in this thread.

                                                                                                                      When I do a search for Shufeng, I do see regular mentions (frequently by you) going back years, so perhaps ironically it can't make as big a splash with its "rediscovery" because it's not a completely hidden gem.

                                                                                                                      1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                        "Buzz" is always about new restaurants; that's a world-wide phenomenon. Established places, if they're good, remain, but don't get talked about. Nothing new or wrong with either.

                                                                                                                        However, if "that" established restaurant should happen to go downhill - the world will know, and it will disappear.

                                                                                                                        SGV is filled with buzzed places that went downhill and closed.

                                                                                                                        1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                          That's my point though, that many who have "discovered" Chengdu Taste may not even be aware of Shufeng. Upping the incredulity factor, Shufeng had a location in Monterey Park that closed in April (though it was off the radar for a variety of reasons). So, it's a cuisine that hasn't been seen in that immediate area for 3 whole months! :) And, even more incredulously, I had some of the same (and similar) dishes at Shufeng - and they were great! People can't "rediscover" what they don't know in the first place :) If I may borrow again from TonyC: smh :)

                                                                                                                          1. re: JThur01

                                                                                                                            Like things that go viral, it's probably nothing that can be fully quantified. All of the reasons that you, I, others have posted are probably part of it. Sometimes things just strike a chord.

                                                                                                                          2. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                            Having been to Shufeng 20+ times and CT only twice, prefer CT solely on merits of quality and flavor. That being said, not everything on the menu is the best of its kind in this town, but the dishes that are good sit solidly in the damn good category.

                                                                                                                            Shufeng has been better than it is today, IMHO in, 2007-9.

                                                                                                                            The cherry on top is the staff is very pleasant. It also doesn't hurt that almost every evening except Sunday, getting to Rowland Heights in traffic even with the HOV lane is enough to ruin anyone's appetite.

                                                                                                                            Go and you'll probably understand that the hype is alot about the food.

                                                                                                                            1. re: revets2

                                                                                                                              It definitely sounds like the hype is not unjustified. I will try to make it out sometimes, but then am I just contributing to the building buzz or should I try to find a hidden gem? Nah, not residing near the area, and not making my way out there much, I pretty much have to go for surer bets when I do make the trip.

                                                                                                                              I will be in SGV tomorrow, but I'm going to 626 Night Market. Maybe I'll get something to go from CT. If I could only get one dish, keeping in mind that it will need to travel for at least half an hour, maybe longer, which should I get?

                                                                                                                              1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                                "Maybe I'll get something to go from CT"

                                                                                                                                Written by a wise man who saw JGold's review today. If only I was as wise this morning.

                                                                                                                                1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                  Wow, I didn't realize all your reviews hit at the same time. I guess I won't be able to peregrinate into this place easily for a while...

                                                                                                                                  They have a kind of rice flour steamed pork dish, but doesn't look like the kind I'm looking for.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                                    yeah, i just noticed a few hours ago that Gold's review has made the presses, or rather the Internet-y I mean.

                                                                                                                                    I haven't read it myself yet though.

                                                                                                                                    And TonyC which is hte joint with the "rounded faces" ?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                                      Indeed, it's not the ribs. It's sliced pork belly sliced thin, stacked, steamed. Good flavor, but some bites offer awkward lardon texture that's absent from the rice powder steamed ribs.

                                                                                                                                      What you're looking for is/was crossed out from the menu. It seems they priced it too cheaply.

                                                                                                                                      Can't wait to see the video of JG eating at Chengdu Taste. Also, ipsedixit is either on vacay, or he owns more than 51% of this joint.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                        That almost looks like a loco moco (at least the thumbnail does).

                                                                                                                                        I think even if he owned 1% of this joint, he wouldn't be allowed to talk about it...

                                                                                                                                        1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                          I almost shot that video on Sunday :)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                                                            JG just hit that shit up. So I may have to stay away for a few weeks of not more.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                            it almost looks like a pork pump from the now shuttered Lake Spring or was it Charming Garden ????

                                                                                                                                            By the way, has charming Charming Garden resurfaced anywhere or maybe it's cooking or it's chefs ?????


                                                                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                              Interesting observation, but this is the new '13 pork pump:

                                                                                                                                              #98 "tyrant" pork shank, ie: "flavored pork curua" [sic] at Chengdu Taste $15, feeds 4 in a family meal.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                That is a "can't wait" item for me. Loved it at Lake Spring and Charming Garden.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                              Also, ipsedixit is either on vacay, or he owns more than 51% of this joint.
                                                                                                                                              If he did wouldn't he have known the fish was tilapia and not cod?

                                                                                                                              2. re: JThur01

                                                                                                                                Yeah, it lasted for about a few months before it closed and then changed to Shen Yang. That site has bad luck. Restaurants come and go so frequently, not being able to attract the clientele their counterparts across the street do.

                                                                                                                          3. I went earlier today, it was packed at 1130 and still had a small crowd outside when I left.

                                                                                                                            Got the:
                                                                                                                            -Toothpick Mutton
                                                                                                                            -Cold Mung Bean Noodles
                                                                                                                            -Fish Slices w/ Tofu Pudding

                                                                                                                            I like all three dishes, but the fish slices were overcooked and too spicy/numbing after the first few bites, so I may not order that anymore. I probably should have gotten the "other" fish dish/soup thing.

                                                                                                                            35 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                                                                              i will have to at least try that fish dish plus the one with the boiled fish with the peppers.

                                                                                                                              is the mung bean noodles veggie dish ????

                                                                                                                              Do you think it was packed because of all the online chatter or the JG effect ?

                                                                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                Possibly, as there were 3 tables of non-asians, but not yet at DTF's level of being packed.

                                                                                                                                Yes the mung bean is veggie. I actually ended up "dap toi" (ing?) with a chinese guy. He ordered the boiled fish w/ peppers + toothpick mutton and finished it all himself! The physical size of the pepper fish (or w/e it's called) is deceiving because you're really not going to be drinking the "soup". When I asked him if it was spicy, he said it's not the same type of spicy as my dou hua + fish slice dish, he implied it was more bearable. I will try that next time as well.

                                                                                                                                1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                                                                                  Do Chinese go to DTF? I thought it was mainly Caucasian women who went there.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: toitoi

                                                                                                                                    I like it and I'm neither Caucasian nor a woman. And every time I've been, the crowd has been overwhelmingly Asian.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                                      And every time I've been, the crowd has been overwhelmingly Asian
                                                                                                                                      Big +1. Don't understand the motivation when people try to paint a different picture.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: toitoi

                                                                                                                                      Caucasian women well versed in the principles of 風水。

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                        DTF is Din Tai Fung in Arcadia. Yes? No?

                                                                                                                                        If yes, then the few times I've had lunch there, it was mainly 80 to 90% Caucasian women, and very few men. The ladies seemed very social. It looked to me like it was the place to take out-of-towners to sample dim sum. I've never been there for dinner.

                                                                                                                                        You do know that Din Tai Fung is opening a branch at the Americana in Glendale on Brand Blvd.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: toitoi

                                                                                                                                          Yes and at South Coast Plaza.

                                                                                                                                          I've been probably a half dozen times (actually maybe a dozen times at this point), usually weekend mornings or early afternoons, and I've never noticed any gender imbalance and the highest concentration of Caucasians I've seen was maybe 1/5.

                                                                                                                                          Maybe you keep going during some debutante social hour.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                                            yeah, same here.

                                                                                                                                            it was never ever even close to 15 or 20% caucasian women when i went there.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: toitoi

                                                                                                                                            Asians predominantly go during the nights and weekends. During the days, work is the focus. And don't try going there during the 626 Night Market. We got fed up with the long lines and crowds on Saturday night and decided to see if we can have a real meal at DTF. It was 9:20pm and still an hour's wait for a table. We left and went to Focus Plaza.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: TripleAxel

                                                                                                                                              if you are referring to DTF, never mind, but at lunch at CT today, we had to wait, and two of my party were the only caucasians in the place the entire time we were there.

                                                                                                                                              NOTE: this is pretty unusual since i do lunch in SGV regularly during the week and i can't recall the last time i've had to wait for a table.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: barryc

                                                                                                                                                barryc - were you a table of 5 or 6 seated at the table farthest from the front door?
                                                                                                                                                And did one of the two Caucasian guys pay the tab on his visit to the bathroom?
                                                                                                                                                I happened to walk in just a few minutes beforehand, sat next to the front door with Taiwanese and Cantonese restaurant people. One other table of two Caucasians along the window as well.
                                                                                                                                                Had the shredded pork dish which while tasty, had too much cornstarch and tasted way too heavy.
                                                                                                                                                The fish & green peppercorn & chile soup/dish was very good, but there were probably no peppercorns left in the building by the time our order was served. Tasty, but my tongue and lips...
                                                                                                                                                really enjoyed the place, but would try different dishes next time.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: carter

                                                                                                                                                  how funny!

                                                                                                                                                  the group in back was a table of nine. i'd forgotten about them, i guess there were some caucasians at that table. i was at the other table (of four) you spoke of, the two gwei lo are friends who drive over regularly FROM THE WEST SIDE to have lunch every friday. i'm their chinese food sherpa so to speak.

                                                                                                                                                  you need at least a party of 8 to try everything - and least four to try the braised pork, personally i could have finished off the braised pork by myself, but at what cost to my arteries!

                                                                                                                                                  FWIW, we typically try some new place in the SGV every friday for lunch (or re-visit favorites). though we have done sapp noodles in thai town & places like yu chun in k-town. we've also hit the mitsuwa in torrance for a ramen-fest or two.

                                                                                                                                                  as my friends are driving from santa monica, the farthest east we've been has been either JTYH or 888. i have a secret group on FB where i (as food sherpa) post links (some of them CH links, actually) on various places. anyone who's available to join us on fridays let me know.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: toitoi

                                                                                                                                              I also don't understand this observation at all, although I haven't been in several years, and xiaolongbao have exploded in popularity, so I suppose it's possible the demographics have changed. But it certainly doesn't jive with my memory of the place.

                                                                                                                                              The only place that I noticed a demographic shift similar to what you describe was at the original DTF in Taipei, where the clientele were overwhelmingly laowai businessmen types. The xiaolongbao there cost the same as they do in LA, which is strange, since most things in Taiwan cost about 1/3 the price of what they do here.

                                                                                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                            3. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                              Correction: 风水。
                                                                                                                                              Caucasian women are usually versed in 简体字。

                                                                                                                                              1. re: OscarFox

                                                                                                                                                Caucasian women are usually versed in 简体字。

                                                                                                                                                And, sadly, most of the Chinese raised and educated in the Mainland. Sigh.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: OscarFox

                                                                                                                                                  I will never get used to Simplified Chinese...

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: OscarFox

                                                                                                                                                    Not a correction, OscarFox. You're just using a different (dumbed down, in my opinion) set of characters known as simplified Chinese. Many of us on this board grew up with traditional Chinese, not simplified.

                                                                                                                                                    Many of my non-Chinese friends/colleagues who learned Chinese in the states use/prefer traditional characters as well.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                                      I was going to correct his correction too, J.L., but since he followed up with "Caucasian women are usually versed in 简体字", I think he's just saying that _they_ (Caucasian women) would use 风水 instead of 風水. So a tongue-in-cheek "correction" to Tripeler.

                                                                                                                                                      I do agree that most non-Chinese who learned it in the states use traditional characters, so that may debunk OscarFox's theory.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                                                        Can you translate these words, pete ? so that i may get the gist of the discussion ????

                                                                                                                                                        thanks man.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                          简体字 means "simplified Chinese characters".

                                                                                                                                                          风水 and 風水 both mean Feng Shui.

                                                                                                                                                          BTW my Chinese reading comprehension sucks, so I cheat and use one of the following:


                                                                                                                                                          And if I see an image of a Chinese character (like on a scanned menu) that I can't read and also can't copy/paste into one of the above translators, I use http://www.nciku.com/, where I can draw it with a mouse and have it try to read and translate it for me.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                                                            wow, that's fucking amazing with drawing it and it translates for you.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                                                          Sorry - I missed the humor the first time around - I read his post too fast to catch it.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                                            You were blinded by your hatred of simplified Chinese. I feel your pain...

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                                                              Simple chinese ?

                                                                                                                                                              non-simple chinse ?

                                                                                                                                                              Pete, if it's not too much to ask, can you explain briefly ?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                It's quite literally (heh) a simplified version of written Chinese that the Communists started propagating in Mainland China. So if you look at the two versions of the "Feng" character above, the one with the "x" in the middle is the simplified version. It completely kills the character (heh) of the character.


                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks man.

                                                                                                                                                                    I think I get the general idea, or rather get it conceptually.

                                                                                                                                                                    This coming from a guy who does not even know one word of Chinese.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                        No, it's Caucasian women (and men) well versed in the principles of 太多錢.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: blimpbinge

                                                                                                                                                  blimpbinge...are you sure you had the fish slices with tofu pudding? The dish in the middle doesn't look like what we've had twice as "Fish Slices with Tofu Pudding". Both times ours was served on a plate with a well in the middle. The fish was white (as was the tofu) and was swimming in a red chili sauce. Looks like there are peppercorns on your dish as well. Wish I had taken a picture. Thanks in advance for the clarification.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: revets2

                                                                                                                                                    it was just the way you described, except in a metal pot type thing, it was #64 (see pic)


                                                                                                                                                    and also "Sliced Fish with Tofu Pudding in Hot Sauce ($10.99)" in kcet's link:


                                                                                                                                                    was deciding between the beef w/ tofu pudding, fish w/ tofu pudding or boiled fish w/ green pepper. ended up getting the fish w/ tofu because it didn't seem as hot as the other fish.. (but it was plenty hot and spicy for my tastes)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                                                                                                      My apologies, blimpbinge. Went tonight and your picture of #64 is very correct. The chef and I were discussing it tonight about the dish we had early on. It was more similar to FIsh and Tofu in Earthen Pot, but with no veggies, just fish and tofu (almost looked the same) in a bright red sauce.

                                                                                                                                                      Again, my apologies.

                                                                                                                                                3. The service started really well but ended up really bad.
                                                                                                                                                  I was not amazed with the dishes I tried. Fried Chicken win peppers (Special), Steamed Pork with Garlic Sauce and Garlic Noodles.

                                                                                                                                                  There are at least 4 places that have better chicken than Chengdu. The Steamed pork had a mushy, garlic coating and the texture not the taste did not really work for me. The garlic noodles had a strong vinegar taste which threw both the noodles and the garlic off.

                                                                                                                                                  Not sure if I would be interested in going back to this place. Maybe, I was expecting to much. :(

                                                                                                                                                  The waiters were nice but there was no coordination and left quite a few customers and ourselves waiting for a long time. We even had to remind one of them about our order of rice.

                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DocRob

                                                                                                                                                    Was it crowded due to the hype, and that contributed to the poor service?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                                                      It was not. They only had 5 tables with two waiters and a couple of staff by the counter.

                                                                                                                                                      I could sum it with the following words, Forgetfullness, Lack of attention, No clear system and poor team work.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DocRob

                                                                                                                                                        Another word that comes to mind is: Overwhelmed.

                                                                                                                                                        I doubt they envisioned mass hysteria about their place. They were honored to be mentioned by JGold (before last Friday's LATimes article), but surely they never anticipated what that would mean to business.

                                                                                                                                                        I haven't been back, probably Thursday lunch, then I can see for myself if they're relaxed or frantic.

                                                                                                                                                        I hope, for their sake, that the food doesn't suffer from all the attention they're getting. Remember those successful small places that had great business and then they decided to expand, and the food wasn't what it had been, and eventually the place/places closed--that list is long.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Something to bring a small chuckle to SGV 'Hounds:


                                                                                                                                                    Evidently Chengdu Taste just got hit by its first credit card fraudster. And what tipped them off? Someone using a Chinese credit card tried tipping the server 20%...

                                                                                                                                                    22 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bradbury

                                                                                                                                                      A 20% tip?! Gads, suspicious indeed.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                                        Particularly from a Chinese diner.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                                                                            Not me. Unless the service really sucks, then I continue to tip 17.5-18%.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bradbury

                                                                                                                                                          I have no problem tipping 20% at a Chinese restaurant. If I tip that much at other types of restaurants, why not at a Chinese restaurant? These days, service can be just as good if not better than many non-Chinese restaurants (3-5 plate changes, stopping by on multiple occasions to see if we need anything at Elite and even Shanghailander Palace).

                                                                                                                                                          Always happy to support hard working staff and establishments putting out great food, especially at those prices.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                                                            Porthos: Setting a dangerous precedent in the SGV... :-)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                                              Been doing it for over 5 years now. The universe is still in balance. Try it, you might like it ;-) Maybe then bad service won't be the norm or be expected in the SGV.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                                                                      Porthos.. I apologize for my post. it was uncalled for. Sorry.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: toitoi

                                                                                                                                                                        Apology accepted. My post has also been edited.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                                                                    Porthos: You know I'm being facetious, right?

                                                                                                                                                                    Unless service is way off, I'm usually Big Brother (大哥) J.L. to most servers in the SGV in my gratuities.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                                                      Pretty sure you're Big Brother everywhere you go JL!

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                                                                      I don't go for the service. I go for the food.

                                                                                                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                                                                    Same here. I make no differentiation.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                                                                      forgive me, im ignorant. is tipping less in chinese restaurants a thing? it would never occur to me. i tip the same there as everywhere.
                                                                                                                                                                      do most people not?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                        Traditionally, very little tip is given is given by Chinese customers. As referenced above, as little as $1-2 sometimes on a $50-100 tab. These days, some places have so elevated their service so that what one normally tips for good service at a good non-chinese restaurant is no longer unusual. I've seen the looks of disgust and heard the complaints from waiters when some patron walks away patting themselves on the back for leaving the "traditional" 5-10% tip.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                          Yep. Usual tip the homies leave in the SGV is 10%. On a good day. Chowhounds are more gracious, it seems.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                            Places like King Hua, Elite and Seafood Village have only added 15% gratuity to the checks for my large parties. I think the only one to add 18% was Newport Seafodd...

                                                                                                                                                                      2. By the way, has anyone tried their Special Order Dishes (requires 24 hour advanced ordering)?
                                                                                                                                                                        The dishes include:
                                                                                                                                                                        Butter Hot Pot
                                                                                                                                                                        Hot Pot Fish (with 6 vegetable plates)
                                                                                                                                                                        Hot Pot Bullfrog (with 6 vegetable plates)
                                                                                                                                                                        Restorative Chicken (with 6 vegetable plates)

                                                                                                                                                                        If so, how were they and what was the pricing?


                                                                                                                                                                        1. I really enjoyed the wild yam and also the cold garlic noodles. This is a great place. Didnt get to try the fried cumin lamb as it was not available today. I enjoyed many of the dishes mentioned here.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Finally went last week... Never again.
                                                                                                                                                                            The food was fine, but the line was such, well, we arrived at 5:30 and were seated at 7:15. Nothing warranted that kind if wait, and the management did nothing to free up tables who were sitting nicely, one near the window who hadn't eaten a bite in 15 minutes. Rude man that I am, I walked in, pointed this out to the guy e the list &suggested they bring these three a check while asking if they wanted anything more(two dishes on the table were ordered to have most taken home, apparently)
                                                                                                                                                                            Food... We had the mung bean jelly noodles with chili sauce. Delicious. Rel small serving which was fine. Then, we had the Dan Dan mian. Served warm, almost the exact same sauce as th jelly cold noodles. Mung bean jelly noodles best I've had in SUV. Dan Dan better at the place that used to be Chuan Yu now lucky noodle king. We ordered two entrees. First, although intrigued by the lion fish on the chalkboard (shizi Yu), a tilapia prep., we saw they had homemade Sichuan pickled chilis so we ordered the fish with them. Maybe sole, if its tilapia it's high quality. Spicy but didn't burn. Also ordered steam rice.
                                                                                                                                                                            Second dish was off the board, guoba fei Chang, rice cakes with pork large intestine, taste like andouillettes... Very earthy, great texture. The intestines(these aren't Xiang Chang -sausages) were cut into maybe 2-3" pieces, mixed with deep fried Guoba(think savory rice crispy treats) and a savory not too spicy gravy.
                                                                                                                                                                            As an accompaniment to the chili-hot dishes, we got a tasty very mild soup, basically a broth with radish(daikon) slices and thin sliced pork. One can drink the broth instead of tea and it cuts the spice a bit. Total with a nice tip was$20 a head for three of us.
                                                                                                                                                                            Enjoyed the place but the wait was so bad that I wouldn't go back on a bet. If you can get there right at opening or a bit before, consider it. .20 minutes later? Skip it.

                                                                                                                                                                            18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Jerome

                                                                                                                                                                              Is this the Jerome from a few years back ?

                                                                                                                                                                              If so, welcome back buddy.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                Yes. I still post occasionally. And felt like sharing today. Hi back.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jerome

                                                                                                                                                                                  You and a couple of others I believe directed me toward Shibucho back in the day.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                    ORange county still great. Shige is dd, but h has great fish, at th LA one.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Jerome

                                                                                                                                                                                      "shige is dd " ????

                                                                                                                                                                                      Did Shige's joint close down ? I really hope not. You was quite sick a couple years back and the restaurant was closed for a couple months.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                        Auto correct. Sorry.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Shige is fine so far as I know. Place was open a few months ago.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Don't remember what I was trying to write last night.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Jerome

                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for reporting. Still haven't made it. Will definitely plan to arrive right at open when I do try.

                                                                                                                                                                                Maybe once the craziness fades, the wait will be more reasonable.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jerome

                                                                                                                                                                                  I've tried to go twice. About 5:30 PM on a Saturday both times and there was such a crowd inside and out on the sidewalk that I went elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sel

                                                                                                                                                                                    While the place is good the hype around it is a bit too much for me. Weekdays are prob better but I won't touch the place on weekends.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Johnny L

                                                                                                                                                                                      Fuck it.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll just have to hit it up on a weekday in that case.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Johnny L

                                                                                                                                                                                        Probably my next weekday off, I'll head over there!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sel

                                                                                                                                                                                          Well if anybody is looking for Monday dining buddies I'm free and still trying to work my way through the menu.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: barryc

                                                                                                                                                                                                I brought my foodie group there...party of 13, 1 short of what I reserved (and asked for 2 tables of 7). Well, first, on the morning of the dinner, I called to re-confirm my reservation. They didn't have it. Booked it again and was told I would have 2 tables and that I had a window of 10 minutes from 7:30pm for my entire party to be present before they can seat us, otherwise, tables are released to the next ones in line.

                                                                                                                                                                                                My group got there early. Since we were only 13 (and we are not the thin petite Asians) instead of 14, they decided to make us wait for their largest table (which seats 10 comfortably) and stick all 13 of us in it. We demanded to have 2 tables 1 for 8 and 1 for 5 (smaller round table). They weren't too happy about it but we didn't give a damn by this time, it was passed 8pm on a Wedesday night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Before the hype, the staff was very friendly and accommodating. This time around (2 weeks ago) they were rather rude, and off-putting. They food was served as fast as they can churn it out because the Chef doesn't want to deal with all those tickets piling up in the kitchen. So, within 10 minutes 2/3 of our dinner was served (7 of the 12 dishes we ordered, serving entrees before appetizers).

                                                                                                                                                                                                The food this time was fine, just not as exciting as the first time we went. Just didn't seem to be too crazy about dealing with the wait, the rudeness, their inflexibility and the rush to serve our food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                The best time to go is when they open so you can avoid the crowds.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Jerome

                                                                                                                                                                                        It's all about the take out here for us now. The plus is we get to enjoy the food with a nice Riesling or IPA.

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Instead of kvetching about the wait at the hottest restaurant in the area, a collage by @dhpierson @jewdontknow @lientigre of the delicate Lion (Mane) fish currently on the specials board is attached. It's a fancy deep-fried carp meant to serve four.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Of note, the last time I visited Hart/Hunter, the wait was almost 1.5 hours. Nobody seems to be complaining on Chow, just instead waiting in silent misery.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Of another note: Chengdu Taste's wait has been twittered, tumblered, weiboed and instagramed ( http://instagram.com/p/fbqyy5k4N3/ ) since last month. Tony takes reservations (even during weekday lunch, highly recommended if more than a 4-top) via Weibo. Chengdu-ers can also offer dish suggestions via Weibo.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Final note: the take-out wait has gone from 20 min to 45+ min on the weekend. YMMV, and you're always forewarned by the manager. If that's still unreasonable, there's always Grill'em All.

                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                          noting the wait isn't the same as kvetching about it.
                                                                                                                                                                                          I liked the food fine. there are other sichuan restaurants that are nearly as good on some items (and better on others).

                                                                                                                                                                                          It's a good place. for me, having had to wait 105 minutes for a table was worth it once. for others, have at it. Good to know that the wait at Hart adn hunter on melrose is that long. waits can be trying. I once had a birthday dinner at INK, could only get a reservation at 10, and still had to wait almost half an hour.
                                                                                                                                                                                          there are diminishing returns. does it affect the food? no, not really. does it affect how good it has to be for a return visit with the same conditions? for me, of course it does.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Jerome

                                                                                                                                                                                            "I liked the food fine. there are other sichuan restaurants that are nearly as good on some items (and better on others)."


                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                            I just wish they would allow carry - in or get a license already.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                                                                                                              They need (b) in order to enable (a) in your scenario.

                                                                                                                                                                                          3. UPDATE:
                                                                                                                                                                                            New Hours - 11am - midnight (last order at 11pm)
                                                                                                                                                                                            No more sad faces or temper tantrums at being rebuffed at 3pm. Too bad. The tantrums and begging were good entertainment.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Won a dish of Cold Garlic Noodles by playing ro sham bo with the waiter. He also did a scavenger hunt type of questionnaire and asked how we deal with stress. We said, "We eat!".

                                                                                                                                                                                            Waited 20 min. for a table at 9:45pm. Still a light wait at 10pm. People still coming in at 11pm.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Food was as good as ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: revets2

                                                                                                                                                                                              Interesting! Gives me hope of someday trying this place. Was the games and questionnaire something they were doing with everyone? Was that in-restaurant or during the wait?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                                                                                                Think the games were something they were doing with everyone...not sure though. Games were conducted at the table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                They were out of some dishes late though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Another reason to stop and pull over as soon as you see a new restaurant open up. The primary reason is that the next time you drive by it might be already gone. But in today's world of instant fame, it might be the only way to try it without having to wait.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Especially with the high turnover in the SGV.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Does anyone have a post or link to a menu, in English?

                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have the menu but not an online link to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  If I knew how to take pictures of menus and then post it,

                                                                                                                                                                                                  You would have been good to go.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                    At the bottom of this page. All English.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Just enlarge each image:


                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                        You're welcome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The blogger has more extensive Chinese coverage than it would appear at first glance. Almost all restaurants he reviews have the menu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ready for Pinterest ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. How long of a wait is it typically for a Saturday lunch? Is it Sea Harbour dim sum wait?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you get there right when they open on a weekend, you can get seated right away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      When I went on Xmas day, it was a solid 2hr wait and that's no fucking joke.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Or get there around 3pm as they're now open all day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: revets2

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was thinking arriving at 1 PM and hopefully getting seated by 2 PM...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                                                                                                                                                            i can't speak for weekends but a couple of fridays ago we got there before noon and was able to secure a table for 8. fellow CH nosh joined us for that one, you will probably want to order the pig intestine casseroles (#53-54). i was the only one of my party to have 2nds & 3rds on that one. #36 is pig kidney.if you don't want a casserole, there's #22 noodles with pork intestines. #59-60 pork intestines or sliced kidney boiled in hot sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            of special interest would be #64 - your choice of meats including tripe & pork intestines in special hot sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            there are a couple of other orders but you get the idea.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            if you are up for company email me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                                                                                                                                                              probably won't happen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              try 1030am for lunch, 4pm for dinner. or take-out. the mao cai freezes nicely, as does the green peppercorn chili fish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              instead of the rabbit, do the chili beef in the apps section. ask for it extra "ma", and wait for next day weight loss in bathroom. works every time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                i would recommend against the rabbit for a different reason - it's diced, but not deboned beforehand so there's really not that much meat on it, and a lot of the resulting dice is 85% bone. same thing about the kung pao chicken someone *else* in my party ordered.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: barryc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's pretty common, the rabbit I had at Shu Feng and Hunan Chilli King were bone-in. Frog is usually crunchy as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: barryc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I thiink there are about 100 items on the menu and only a couple are mabye anglo-ized dishes such as the kung pao chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    luckily, i'm pretty fuckin' sure they ain't serving orange chicken there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    'nuff said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In reply to kevin -- In no way was the kung pao chicken anglo-ized, except maybe for the menu name. Chicken bits were mostly bone, peanuts had skins and were soft.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I really liked a couple of the dishes: the wontons in spicy red sauce, the first dish we were served, a spicy cold noodle dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sorry, I'll confess: I like anglo-ized Chinese food. But I also like bold flavors and really spicy. But I'm weak and limited -- no way the pork intestine dish was going on my plate. My loss.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I really enjoyed meeting the others in the group and I enjoyed the experience. I will go back to Chengdu Taste for "authentic," spicy renditions of some of their less adventuresome dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i really like the green peppercorn fish soup. i think it's one of their namesake dishes, which lands on almost each and every table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "and wait for next day weight loss in bathroom. "


                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Now that's what I'm talking about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As an addendum, definitely add the smoked plum juice. I could really guzzle that tasty shit by the gallon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "...smoked plum juice...I could really guzzle that tasty shit by the gallon."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Guzzle at the intake end and pretty soon you'll be performing the above the dotted line activity you quoted at the outflow end...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: TheOffalo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Agree with TonyC. Went once at 1:30pm for table of four and sat at 3pm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: revets2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Went at about 1230, came back an hour and quarter later, and there was still an hour wait left.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Nuff said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Last friday, about 130 or so pm there was still a line three deep outside.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Never have had a problem arriving at 11am.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Last time there had the tea smoke duck, can't say there was anything distinguishable about it. Never had it before so I can't say it was good or bad, it was fatty though. Is there a subtle taste I was supposed to look for?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also, had the mung bean noodles - delish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Had the lion fish tonight and wasn't too impressed. It's expensive ($26) and there's not very much meat. The sweet and sour sauce is fine but nothing to rave over. It looks very cool though. Get the boiled fish in hot sauce or green pepper sauce if you want fish

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I went tonight at about 9:30 and the wait was only thirty minutes so maybe the hype is somewhat dying down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I had the numbing wontons. Oh my gosh how do you people enjoy them? Insanity. My mouth couldn't taste for thirty minutes. What the hell do they put in that sauce?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: set0312

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Those are the lovely Sichuan peppercorns. That's what makes Sichuan cooking so utterly delicious. Perhaps, Cantonese cooking is more your style.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: set0312

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The last couple of times we've eaten there, we do feel the food is much, much spicier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. What are 3 or 4 or 5 good dishes for first timers for lunch? I like hot stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Super restaurant and a good choice for Gold's 101.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Had several of the dishes noted below including the "water" fish in a cauldron of chile oil, toothpick lamb with cumin and spicy dumplings. Standouts for us also included the aptly named (and not spicy) lion fish (pictured) and the twice cooked pork fried rice...I'm looking forward to returning and trying more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Very courteous staff and clean restaurant too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And how about that smoked plum juice ?????

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i can drink that shit by the gallon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Didn't try that. Was that what was being served in the wine carafes stacked on the counter? Next time!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Plum juice is fantastic cooling the numb. About the lion fish, not much flesh on it for the price. On the back of the new menu, try the, I believe it's called House Special Shrimp, it's Salt & Pepper Shrimp taken to a new level. Delish !

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: toitoi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We had 7 dishes incl the lion and was 90 bucks before tt. Will try that shrimp. Great place and will be back for more!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: toitoi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    hmmm, i haven't tried that just yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              open yet ????? it looks like a mini-mall ???????????

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, it's in a new plaza at walnut grove ave/valley blvd, anchored by mcdonalds visible from street corner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not when you posted, but open as of 11-ish Sunday (August 17). Somehow, I managed to be 3rd through the door. Could have been first in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chrishei

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        :-) I got there before they opened and it seemed as if they weren't quite ready, so I took a bit of a walk around. On my third pass, having returned from a walk past the old Hunan Seafood and back, there were already two tables occupied.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JThur01

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I may be going tonight, hope it's not as crazy as the alhambra one..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            blimpy, please report back on the double.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              On Saturday, I walked past the entrance at 5:15pm. Pink's-style line was gushing out the door and out onto the sidewalk. Insane.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                At least the food is good and not the dreadful slop doled up at Pink's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I always wonder what's with that line at Pink's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Carney's is about a gazillion times better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So I'm here now at the Rosemead location, long lines already, 40% off today, 30% off tomorrow. Not sure if it applies to lunch or dinner only. They also don't have the lion fish thing. Will update later tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i love that smoked plum juice, one of the best dishes anywhere around town.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      and that ain't no joke.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      thought i was the only one though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        tried it on your rec kevin, goes so well with the menu...good call.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i just drink it straight too, whenever i'm in the area, and getting my panda cake, and some cafe sua dua from Bale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I googled panda cake but something tells me it's not what you get!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                btw, i know you're a cafe sua da fiend: for $2, Saigon Express kills Ba Le.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And, as of right now, there's no line at Chengdu Taste 2. Lunch lines seem a bit tamer than dinner. Last night, despite the lines at CT2, CT1's line looked deeper than normal at 7PM. Mind you, this was on a Monday night. I don't want to know what you poor Westside saps are dealing with on a Friday night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Is CT2 serving the same dishes as CT1, and how does the quality of cooking compare?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    but the real question is it as close as bale is to chengduu taste ?????

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    if so, then i'm adding something new to the mix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      don't see the proximity of Saigon Sandwich to Chengdu Taste as being relevant to how good of a bargain it (the cafe sua da) is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      but since you're asking, Saigon Sandwich is as close to CT2 as BaLe is to CT1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tony, please clarify which "Saigon Express"/"Saigon Sandwich" you're referring to.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Taster, have your LTA translate the bull penis pic above =P

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i see. ct2 is very close to saigon sandwich, got it, that will work then.