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SGV chinese food walk - thoughts?

A group of friends and I are going out to SGV this weekend aiming to try as many Chinese restaurants as possible, a couple dishes at a time. (And work on our self-restraint and eating stamina.)

Although I'd love to do a Vietnamese food walk, this round is Chinese.

I have been to 101 Noodle Express, JTYH, Tasty Noodle House, Din Tai Fung, Chengdu Taste, Sea Harbour, Elite, Tang Cang Newport Seafood, Chung King, and Lucky Noodle King, and a few other places I can't remember off the top of my head.

So here's my go-to list:

Luscious Dumpling - pan fried dumplings

Wang Xing Ji - Crab and pork buns

Hui Tou Xiang Noodle House - chinese blintzes filled with pork

Chang's Garden- Hangzhou style fried fish with seaweed, dong popork and spareribs steamed in lotus leaves.

Mon Land Hot Pot City - mongolian hot pot

Shanghai No. 1 Seafood - Old Shanghai braised pork, sheng jian bao (pan fried pork buns)

Tasty Dining - Re gan mian (hot, dry sesame noodles) and dry pot with frog.

Hunan Mao - fish head and other hunan specific dishes

Beijing Pie House - lamb pie, pan fried meat cake

Beijing Duck House - peking duck

OR Nanjing kitchen - nanjing duck

Yun Chuan Garden - yunan crossing-the-bridge noodles, "spicy with spicy"

Shaanxi Gourmet- xian lamb soup, breads, hand-pulled noodles

Shen Yang Restaurant - Shen yang style fried chicken bones and Jindong meat pie

Mon Land Hot Pot City - mongolian hot pot


I also need to prioritize this list, as, alas, I don't think we have the stomachs nor cash to hit every spot on that list.

Am I missing any must-go restaurants?

I have also heard, but don't know a lot about, Dean Sin World (my favorite SGV restaurant name), Huge Tree Pastry, Mei Long Village, Mama Lu's Dumpling House, and Kim Ky Noodle House. Should any of those usurp a spot on my list?

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  1. That's a lot of food and a lot of different restaurants for a weekend. Perhaps you should just book a hotel room for the weekend, order out from each restaurant, and bring everything back so you can eat them together.

    12 Replies
    1. re: raytamsgv

      Ordering To Go is NEVER a good idea. The amount of time it takes to get the food back to your place is enough to change taste and the composition of the dish. it's always best to dine in and eat on the spot.

        1. re: raytamsgv

          This conversation reminds me of one I had recently with my Brooklyn sister.

          My sister doesn't hesitate to order sushi delivery(!). Sushi! Where freshness is the raison d'etre.

          I once told her that ordering sushi delivery is like ordering toast delivery (in terms of quality degradation), but she doesn't seem to think it matters. In the NY delivery world, sushi = pizza = beef with broccoli. So who am I to argue? I suppose that delivery sushi will be leagues better than Okami supermarket sushi, so by that measure it's clearly an upgrade. Maybe that's how she's thinking.

          Her view is commonly supported by many New Yorkers, who are accustomed to having every kind of food delivered to their door. (I think it has to do with the outrageously difficult parking.)

          However, to my sensibility, delivery sushi is evidence of a world gone mad.

          Mr Taster

          1. re: Mr Taster

            That and supermarket made sushi using brown rice that sit on their shelving for hours (tried this at the West Hollywood Pavilions and was disgusted)... bleh!

            1. re: TripleAxel

              I know. It's not sushi so much as it's a bubblegum-flavored edible superball.

              Mr Taster

            2. re: Mr Taster

              Sushi delivered ????

              That just spells danger.

              But yeah, you are right. NYers sometimes feel like its quite their birthright to having any and all items delivered to them.

              If I was in NY, I would trek to get the riches.

              1. re: kevin

                And many of those riches are along the 7 train in Queens. Google it.

                Mr Taster

              2. re: Mr Taster

                Not if you lived next door to the sushi restaurant.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Fair enough. Although that sort of cancels out the need to pay for delivery service... these are New Yorkers, after all. They're used to walking-- it's the driving/parking thing that's confounding.

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    Relegate yourself to socializing with denizens of the UWS, and you'll soon realize that walking *is* an inconvenience. A laughable one, at that.

                    1. re: Mr Taster

                      Well, parking is a premium in Manhattan. If you're already paying about $4K for rent every month, would you want to pay thousands more for an annual parking space?

              3. re: TripleAxel

                agree with you TripleAxel:
                the steam that collects in the closed to-go container changes everything.
                we could quibble about which items are changed more and which things are changed less,
                but for food on the level that i ate tonight (Elite) the qualities that elevate it from excellent to sublime are, for the most part destroyed by the to-go process.

                that said, Mr. Taster, the average quality of delivery- new york- beef- with-broccoli has when it comes out of the cooking pan is, at best, fair to good (not even near excellent), and for some weird reason that lower quality stuff hangs in there a little better than does food that is really excellent (probably because it's edibility depends upon sodium content more than it does cooking technique in the first place).

            3. Skip Luscious, Dean Sin World and esp Mon Land Hot Pot. Overrated. Hui Tou Xiang will give you all you need for dumplings. Mon Land is outdated. Try Boiling Point if you want good hot pot. Or even Jazz Cat if you're feeling a bit fancier.

              Pass on Huge Tree. Try Garage Restaurant for breakfast. It's Tianjin breakfast. Order the fried dough with brown sugar. You'll be amazed.

              If you're in Rowland Heights, I highly suggest a stop by Silk Road Garden.

              21 Replies
              1. re: ClarissaW

                where's newport seafood ? or rather tan cang.

                1. re: ClarissaW

                  No Huge Tree ? I thought that was one of the very best breakfast joints.

                  1. re: kevin

                    I personally think Yi Mei Deli Co and Four Seas is better

                    1. re: ClarissaW

                      I read your "best breakfast" list and considered Garage for my trip last weekend, but there are so many positive mentions of HTP -- by ipse, blimp and Peter -- that I picked it instead. Next time.

                      1. re: ClarissaW

                        Need to try Yi Mei. Been to Four Seas more times but still prefer Huge Tree Pastry. *shrug*

                      2. re: kevin

                        I think huge tree is one of the best, yi mei also isn't bad. but four seas lacks consistency imo

                        1. re: kevin

                          i just ate at huge tree, their fan tuan is very good (best ive had in the US by far...worth it just for that), shao bing you tiao was pretty good, but but i found their dou jiang to be a bit lacking on flavor although not bad

                        2. re: ClarissaW

                          What's wrong with Luscious? Heard only good things.

                          1. re: narcissisticnonsense

                            Nothing. The dumplings are great but Hui Tou Xiang has a more interesting selection

                          2. re: ClarissaW

                            dean sin world overrated?

                            1. re: linus

                              My go-to place for bags of frozen dumplings and wontons. Dined in for the first time last week. The sheng jian bao was incredible, especially the texture at the bottom - lightly browned with a nice "snap". I bought a frozen bag of them, $14 for 40 - an incredible deal. XLB was definitely above average - the meat was not gamy and there was actually soup. I also enjoyed the boiled dumplings in chili oil. Then there's the crab shell pastries... I think it deserves a spot on the go-to list.

                              1. re: ristretto

                                cool. do they sell frozen versions of all their dumplings?

                                1. re: narcissisticnonsense

                                  Yes. They even have XLB and lions head meatballs available. And they sell some of these to other restaurants.

                            2. re: ClarissaW

                              Try Garage Restaurant for breakfast. It's Tianjin breakfast. Order the fried dough with brown sugar. You'll be amazed.

                              The thing with that dish is that it makes me yearn for a funnel cake.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                do they have good jian bing there? those things are amazing

                              2. re: ClarissaW

                                Clarissa, let me preface this by saying that I'm about to counter virtually all of your advice, but I promise I'm not being contrarian just for the sake of it.

                                These are people exploring what the SGV has to offer, and clearly maximizing their experiences is important to them.

                                For that reason, Dean Sin World is perfect for a quick grab-and-go red bean crab shell pastry, which is superlative. If you don't believe me, eat one side-by-side with one of the 99 Ranch bakery versions and you'll see how DSW's pastry crumbles into a thousand tiny flakes whereas the 99 Ranch version is just a dense clump. Similarly, Huge Tree would be great for a grab-and-go gua bao or fantuan. Again, there seems to be a priority to maximize # of restaurants and this is a great way to do that.

                                Second, why would you have them cancel Mongolian hotpot for Boiling Point or Jazz Cat, as if they are exchangeable equivalents? They are not. If anything, they should add BP to the list to expand upon their experiences, but replacing one with the other is to substitute Son of a Gun for Blue Plate Oysterette. You could do it, but don't lead them to believe its an equivalent exchange. Whether you delineate the differences between these two hotpot styles by their wildly divergent flavors or overall experience, the personal Taiwanese/stinky tofu style hotpot is a completely different beast than the Mongolian hotpot. For Mongolian style, I've always liked Little Fat Sheep the best overall, but I think the hotpot shop near the old Bamboodles location- I forget the name-- has the most flavorful spicy broth (be warned though, their non-spicy broth is bland as a bowl of congee)

                                Third, the problem with Luscious Dumplings is their weird hours, and the fact that they sell out early-- not the quality of their product. And in fact, sharing a plate of dumplings is a good way to maximize # of restaurants on this visit. If anything, I recommend getting there early (around 5:30pm) so that you can secure your plate and quickly move on to the next place, and they'll have the added bonus of being able to compare them with their prior visit to 101 Noodle Express (my #2 choice for dumplings)

                                Lastly, even if I had another Groupon for Silk Road Garden, I'd still rather pay full price for Omar's. Their Big Plate Chicken dish should be renamed Big Plate Chicken Bones-- nary a whisper of meat to be had, unserviced tables piled with dirty plates for a good 30 minutes, and service that was inattentive even by SGV Chinese standards. (Next time I'd go for the boneless version of BPC- though I think it's silly to have to do this.)

                                To the OP, I'd replace your order at Beijing Pie House with the pork and fennel pie, but be warned-- you must like fennel. If you do, you will be rewarded. And if you make it out to Rowland Heights, be sure to order the mango snow ice at Class 302, which smacks the ass of the also-but-not-quite-as-delicious-as-Pa Pa Walk version. (It's a textural thing).

                                Mr Taster

                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                  "but I think the hotpot shop near the old Bamboodles location- I forget the name-- has the most flavorful spicy broth"

                                  Lu Gi?

                                  1. re: blimpbinge

                                    Yeah, I think that's it. Lamb, xo sauce mixed with green onions, and spicy hotpot and I'm a happy guy.

                                    Mr Taster

                                  2. re: Mr Taster

                                    Doesn't Silk Road Garden offer a boneless version of the Big Plate Chicken? I thought that was what we ordered the last time we were out in that area...

                                  3. re: ClarissaW

                                    Dean Sin World was horrible. For XLB, my foodie group members prefer Jin Jiang in San Gabriel. We did an XLB crawl comparing the XLBs amongst Din Tai Fung, Jin Jiang (aka J&J), Mei Long Village and Mama Lu's (at Garvey & Garfield).

                                    Clarissa, how did Mission 261 end up on your Top 5 dim sum palace list (in your interview with CBS) while Elite was off the list? Ever since Mission 261 reopened after renovations around 2005, they have not been as impressive (and the quality became inconsistent and at times shotty.

                                  4. Oh. And don't forget Lunasia for dim sum [all day]

                                    79 Replies
                                    1. re: ClarissaW

                                      Is it as good as Sea Harbour? As a college student who loves dim sum but is not so into waking up early, all day dim sum is my dream.

                                      1. re: narcissisticnonsense

                                        Sea Harbour has went down significantly in quality recently. Try Lunasia. I promise you it's 100x better.

                                        1. re: ClarissaW

                                          100x better?! Those may be fighting words to some people. ;-)

                                          I need to do a dim sum crawl at some point, as I've really only eaten at Elite and Sea Harbour (prefer the latter to the former). Want to try King Hua and a few others, including Lunasia (maybe purposefully outside normal dim sum hours for the novelty).

                                          I find that everyone has their favorite dim sum. A friend from Alhambra has eaten plenty at Sea Harbour and other places but prefers NBC. However, he doesn't necessarily claim that NBC is better, just that it's his favorite.

                                          (My wife's favorite dim sum is still a little place in Providence. Objectively not as good as most places in SGV, but it's where she's had dim sum the most--ironic since she grew up in/near Pasadena.)

                                            1. re: PeterCC

                                              PeterCC, would you mind naming the dim sum place in Providence? My partner is in Bristol for several wks for work, and he says a colleague wants to go to "highly-related" Chinese food in Providence. My partner is skeptical (but liked ROC)...

                                              Back on topic.... Haven't been to Sea Harbour in at least a yr. Had a recent meal at Lunasia, which was vastly improved from my second-to-last meal there several months ago. Also like Elite.

                                              1. re: ilysla

                                                Did you mean to write "highly-rated" or "highly-regarded"? ;-)

                                                Lucky Garden in North Providence:


                                                I've only had dim sum there, not dinner. I do like it very much.

                                                1. re: PeterCC

                                                  Ah, forgive me for my typographical sins. ;)

                                                  Thanks for the information. =)

                                              2. re: PeterCC

                                                Folks, let's try to keep this thread focused on the SGV. We've removed some posts and split off a digression about dim sum in Rhode Island to the Southern New England board. You'll find it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/913407 .

                                              3. re: ClarissaW

                                                "Sea Harbour has went down significantly in quality recently. Try Lunasia. I promise you it's 100x better."

                                                After reading a hyperbolic, attention-grabbing statement like that, i thought it was a troll post, but i wanted to see for myself:

                                                fortuitously, a bunch of friends and i had just visited Sea Harbour for Dim Sum this past weekend: it was absolutely delicious and still as good as we remembered the past 15+ times we've been.

                                                i decided to take an "extended lunch break" today driving all the way out to the SGV (getting in trouble at work) to see if Lunasia was "100x better" than Sea Harbour.

                                                the Siu Mai were quite salty, and contained a huge amount of fat chunks (gross). of course Siu Mai is fatty, but this was a bit excessive. compared to the Sear Harbour Siu Mai i had just days before? not even close. Sea Harbour was much tastier for me.

                                                the Steamed Chicken w/ Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaves came next: first off, it had a SOUR (spoiled) smell to the leaves. :< the other thing that's always been disappointing is that they wrap their rice in paper and then wrap the whole thing in the leaves, so you get almost no transferrence of fragrances from the lotus leaves. the shrimp tasted of freezer burn. Compared to Sea Harbour's version i had this past weekend? again, i prefer Sea Harbour easily.

                                                the Zi Ma Fried Sesame Balls were chewy (lacking any crunch or crispness like what we had at Sea Harbour) and they use Red Bean instead of Lotus Seed filling.

                                                so the food at Lunasia on this 6th visit was just how i remembered it from previous experiences: Mediocre, passable Dim Sum.

                                                So maybe it was the service that was "100x better"? while i was there, 4 empty tables still had their dirty plates left strewn about (no one cleaning them up). no one bothered to stop by to check on refilling my tea, or swap out a clean plate for me. i tried flagging down a waiter to get the check (since i was so late going back from this "extended lunch break"), but after 5+ minutes of trying to get anyone's attention, i got up and walked up to the front desk to pay for my bill to get out.

                                                ultimately your mileage may vary. perhaps Clarissa's visit to Sea Harbour was a fluke (bad visit) or my visit was a fluke (good visit), and vice-versa for Lunasia. but considering this 6th time visiting Lunasia was consistent with the previous 5 visits, and my weekend's visit to Sea Harbour was pretty close to my last 15 or so visits, and with ipsedixit and so many respected Chowhound veterans liking Sea Harbour, i think Sea Harbour's still the place to visit.

                                                But then again, people love Cheesecake Factory and McDonald's. Your mileage may vary. Good luck narcissistic and have fun on your crawl! :>

                                                1. re: chowseeker1999

                                                  Where do you work? You are a true 'hound for risking your livelihood in the pursuit of truth, justice and the chow way. :-)

                                                  1. re: PeterCC

                                                    culver city, near the 405 edge. thanx.

                                                      1. re: chowseeker1999

                                                        Damn, if you even have a 2hr lunch break it's not enough to drive there, digest, and get back.

                                                    1. re: chowseeker1999

                                                      Sea Harbour is the only dim sum place in SGV that I get moments where I say to myself, "wow, this reminds me of dim sum in Singapore."

                                                      We've tried Lunasia twice, and while it wasn't bad, we felt it was easily second tier compared to Sea Harbour and Elite. Lunasia seems to attempt Elite-like creativity in their menu but it's not at the same level of polish nor is it worth wading through all the SGV-hipsters clogging up the entrance. But I'd be remiss if I didn't mention King Hua in the top grouping preference for dim sum in SGV. We've enjoyed consistently good food and service there as well.

                                                      1. re: bulavinaka

                                                        SGV hipsters at Lunasia? I live very close by and go there regularly. It is mostly Chinese families

                                                        I have yet to find a place in SGV with 蝦餃, 燒賣 or 蛋撻 as good as Lunasia

                                                        1. re: Ernie

                                                          Lunasia is usually packed with Asian hipsters and their families.

                                                          1. re: blimpbinge

                                                            I see mostly families there, some with young relatives but nothing I would remotely consider "hipster"

                                                            Also it is usually quiet there during the week. It is only packed for dim sum on weekends

                                                            1. re: Ernie

                                                              asian hipsters aren't like other hipsters, they're like a yuppie/hipster mix. I see them more often at lunasia than king hua & any other places nearby. I guess thats what me n bulavinaka mean.

                                                              1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                Could it just be that Lunasia attracts a younger crowd?

                                                                1. re: PeterCC

                                                                  That's also a possibility! It may have something to do with the occasional small band or w/e the heck they have going on at the entrance.

                                                                  Wait til dips grill opens down the street then that whole block will be packed with young people all the time.

                                                                2. re: blimpbinge

                                                                  I had dim sum at Lunasia over the weekend again. Standards like har gow and siu mai were both good and fresh as usual.

                                                                  Here is a photograph of the people that were there. Is this what you mean by an "asian hipster" crowd? The older lady with family in the middle of the frame does not look very hipster to me.

                                                                  1. re: Ernie

                                                                    surely you notice the tiny hat next to her, although i can't make out whether or not she has ironic facial hair.

                                                                    1. re: linus

                                                                      Perhaps she has a Shepard Fairey graphic t-shirt of Mao under her blouse too?

                                                                      1. re: Ernie

                                                                        Pretty sure they're just not in the frame..

                                                                        1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                          Sorry, none outside the frame either. However you are welcome to provide evidence to the contrary

                                                                          1. re: Ernie

                                                                            no, that's ok. I usually see them, and you usually don't. Lets agree to disagree and stop being childish yea?

                                                                            1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                              Countering a false statement is not "childish," but sure OK

                                                                              1. re: Ernie

                                                                                Whatever floats your boat buddy.

                                                                                1. re: Ernie

                                                                                  Let me retract the term, "hipster," and replace it with a description of lots of younger SGV folks - somewhere in their late teens to mid-late 20s, gathered in large numbers at the front entrance, where the vast majority are simultaneously trying to carry on conversations while doing stuff on their phones. All I mentioned was that they were in large enough numbers to clog the entrance - which they usually are at that time on weekends. This would probably dissuade most potential customers driving by given other choices within 10-fifteen minutes. Your photo is a selected shot of a grandmother inside the resto. Haha good laughs, but really not an issue and yet you bemoan a relatively moot point. I guess the real question is, how does Lunasia stand relative to the other three that I mentioned above?

                                                                                  1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                    Not enough irony/fedora, 404 hipster not found

                                                                                    1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                      I did not see large numbers of late teens or 20s clogging the front entrance either (see attachment) but in regards to comparing Lunasia to the others, I think it stands up quite well. I've been to Elite, King Hua, and Sea Harbour and while they each have their strengths, I don't think the margin of superiority is as wide as many people on this board claim.

                                                                                      1. re: Ernie

                                                                                        So you are a master photoshopper. :) That's the exact area that we observe the crowds of ah beng wannabes. Anyway, I appreciate your view of the four, but like blimpbinge states, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

                                                                                      2. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                        You're not an OG Asian Hipster unless you have at least 20% JDM on your ride.

                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                          JDM rides are typically found parked en masse around the corner on 5th. Sounds like a shop full of sewing machines when they arrive/leave together.

                                                                      2. re: Ernie

                                                                        Apparently everyone else hates the jazz ensemble?

                                                                        like linus, I don't know wtf "hipster" means these days: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8950... I certainly don't know wtf Chinese hipsters are. We talking about ai wei wei groupies? or Chinese drinking better coffee (h/t to Taza Arcadia)? or Chinese going to Bistro LQ's pop-ups? or Chinese who shop at Greenshower Farm ( http://www.greenshowerorganicfarm.com ) ?

                                                                        If we're just talking about seemingly "hip" people who are slightly brown, why not eat at the place they're also dining at since they're so cool to you.


                                                                        1. re: TonyC

                                                                          I hear hipsters nowadays own chickens... ;-)

                                                                          1. re: TonyC

                                                                            I think the music in front is a nice touch actually

                                                                          2. re: Ernie

                                                                            Every time I've been by around 1130-1230, there's usually a huge crowd right in front of the entrance - mostly teens-20somethings...

                                                                          1. re: chowseeker1999

                                                                            I have never had bad 燒賣 (in fact I think theirs is top notch) or 糯米雞 at Lunasia, but hopefully your post helps keep the weekend crowds away.

                                                                            I've never had dim sum there midweek but perhaps because they are slower the dim sum is not as fresh? On the weekends when they are hopping it has always been excellent and fresh.

                                                                            1. re: Ernie

                                                                              of the 6 times i've been to Lunasia, 5 were on the weekend, and the Siu Mai and other dishes tasted about the same as my 6th visit (sans the sour (spoiled) leaves on this last visit). At least for myself and my crazy group of dim sum loving friends who drag me with them whenever they get a hankering for it, Lunasia's always felt "Ok" / mediocre.

                                                                              Perhaps i need to go there when Sergio is cooking in the kitchen? :>

                                                                              1. re: chowseeker1999

                                                                                "Perhaps i need to go there when Sergio is cooking in the kitchen? :>"


                                                                                1. re: chowseeker1999

                                                                                  That is unfortunate. I have never had that experience with their siu mai over several dozen weekend visits

                                                                                2. re: Ernie

                                                                                  For those of us poor souls who resisted going to Chinese school as children, do you mind at least posting the Romanized pronunciation of the characters? Thanks.

                                                                                  1. re: ilysla

                                                                                    燒賣 - siu mai (canto), shao mai (mandarin)

                                                                                    糯米雞 - lo mai gai (canto), nuo mi ji (mandarin)

                                                                                    1. re: ilysla

                                                                                      燒賣 = shao mai

                                                                                      糯米雞 = sticky chicken rice

                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                        Xie-xie to you both!

                                                                                        Interesting, I always thought "nuo mi ji" was pronounced "rou mi ji." Of course, I'm the person who thought the waitress at Old Country Cafe was trying to serve me a fish head boba. ::sigh::

                                                                                        1. re: ilysla

                                                                                          nuo mi = sticky rice, ji = chicken

                                                                                          1. re: ilysla

                                                                                            "nuo" is just the pinyin/romanization, what comes out could vary depending on the speakers' region, same with cantonese.

                                                                                            1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                                              I add a bit of "L" to it, so like a cross between "nuo" and "luo".

                                                                                              1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                The "L" sound in Cantonese seems to be a more recent trend in the last few decades--especially from Hong Kong. Older people and especially those from the Guangdong province speak more frequently with a "N" sound.

                                                                                                An example of this can be seen when you ask a Cantonese person to say "brain" and "computer" (aka electric brain). They may us the "L" sound for "brain" but will frequently use the "N" sound for the same word in "computer".

                                                                                                  1. re: raytamsgv

                                                                                                    But... but... I don't speak Cantonese! :-) I speak and understand Mandarin but have probably been influenced by Taiwanese. Maybe that has something to do with it.

                                                                                                    Interesting... I do not have the "L" creep in either "nao" or "dian nao" in Mandarin.

                                                                                                    1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                      Mandarin doesn't have that problem. There are other issues, such as the retroflex tongue sound that's often missing or subdued in numerous variations of Mandarin.

                                                                                                      1. re: raytamsgv

                                                                                                        Maybe I'm just a freak then for only speaking Mandarin but still having the "L" in my "Nuo". ;-)

                                                                                                        Are you talking about the... in pinyin it would be the "h" in "shi" vs "si"? I definitely drop that, pronouncing 4 and 10 essentially the same, just in different tones.

                                                                                                        1. re: raytamsgv

                                                                                                          do you mean the heavy R vs no R sound?

                                                                                                          1. re: blimpbinge


                                                                                                            Retroflex sounds so academic. I prefer Beijing Pirate.

                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                              Wo men yao qu narrrrrrrrr (matey) chi fan?

                                                                                                        2. re: raytamsgv

                                                                                                          That's correct - for at least the past 30 years in Hongkong, lai cha has been used for milk tea, not the more proper Cantonese nai chai. I think this is because Cantonese in Hongkong is filled with so much slang.

                                                                                                          1. re: scoopG

                                                                                                            I have hk friends that say "lai" and other hk friends that say "nai", these are people in their 20's n 30's, so its not like being from hk suddenly changes ur pronunciation. Though like ray said, part of it is age and region.

                                                                                                            1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                                                              Spoken Cantonese in Hongkong and spoken Cantonese in Guangzhou are different - there is much more slang in Hongkong.

                                                                                                              1. re: scoopG

                                                                                                                yea.. i'm aware of that... but there's a lot of overlap, and a lot of people in gz/sz go to hk often and follow hk media so they adopt their slang/word usage/etc..

                                                                                                                As a cantonese speaker with friends and family on both sides, i'm not sure what you're getting at really.

                                                                                                                1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                                                                  Let me put it this way: when I studied Cantonese in Hongkong in the late 1980's, the "correct" or formal Cantonese taught was not entirely what was actually spoken on the street.

                                                                                                                    1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                                                                      I should have added - that is not the case with Mandarin!

                                                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                      Ahem. ;) The text is still all in Mandarin.... So while this would've worked for the specific items in question, it wouldn't be so helpful for dishes that I've never had/seen myself.

                                                                                                      BTW, is is possible to special order dofu-hua at any of these places (or is it already on the menu?)?

                                                                                                        1. re: ilysla

                                                                                                          BTW, is is possible to special order dofu-hua at any of these places (or is it already on the menu?)?


                                                                                                      1. re: ilysla

                                                                                                        Do you understand spoken Chinese (whatever dialect)? For someone like me, who can understand and speak a little but who've forgotten nearly all of his written Chinese, this site is helpful: http://www.mandarintools.com/worddict...

                                                                                                        You can paste Chinese characters in, and if it's a recognized word-phrase, it will translate and provide pinyin pronunciations. If it doesn't recognize the combinations, you can click on the "look up individual characters" link on the search results page, and it'll give you a definition/pronunciation of each character.

                                                                                                        1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                          www.xiaoma.info is better although its all simplified, but will recognize traditional

                                                                                                          1. re: Lau

                                                                                                            "although its all simplified"


                                                                                                          2. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                            I know very, VERY little spoken Chinese. Basic food items, household items, insults (sadly), and survival stuff. The few times I speak, people usually start snickering.

                                                                                                            I took one semester of Chinese in college, which was a breeze b/c I understood more than people who had no exposure to the language whatsoever, but I think taking any more than one semester would've been a challenge....

                                                                                                            Will look into the website, though, b/c it's always good to try to acquire new language skills (and it'd be nice to be able to read a menu, although food items in Chinese sometimes have such a figurative meaning....).

                                                                                                            Prefer the traditional to simplified simply b/c I'm all about history that way. ;) ::snort::

                                                                                                      2. re: chowseeker1999

                                                                                                        Lunasia has improved tremendously, and I'm glad they had to take that god-awful foie gras dumpling off their menu when that "law" went into effect. However, in my 2 recent visits to Sea Harbour (both within the last 6 weeks), the quality was still very good.

                                                                                                1. Personally, I feel your list is way too carb heavy. I don't think you'd want to really eat dumpling after noodle after pie/bao.

                                                                                                  I'd throw in:
                                                                                                  -Seafood Village - because it's good and you seem to be mostly excluding southern china from your list.

                                                                                                  -Mein Nghia or Noodle Cafe (instead of kim ky, unless you want satay beef noodles))

                                                                                                  -Duo Pot instead of mon land

                                                                                                  -Duck House (Lu Din Ji), Tasty Duck, or Ji Rong for duck instead of the other two

                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                                                    Not only that but we're in the middle of summer. Throw in some frozen treats like PaPa Walk, Avalanche, Fluff, Salju or even a place like Q.

                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                      +1 for pa pa walk

                                                                                                      you can try their coffin toast and cold platter for a lighter meal/snack too

                                                                                                        1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                                                          I took the kids to Pa Pa Walk for their mango snowy a few months ago and had the cold platter myself. Thought it was pretty good.

                                                                                                          Still have never had coffin toast despite spending first 7 years of my life in Taiwan and a lot of it in Tainan, where my mom grew up.

                                                                                                      1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                                                        Well, dumplings and noodles are really good. But I guess you're right in that it's not idealfor staying hungry. What does Seafood Village specialize in? (.e., what does it specialize in more specificallythan seafood?)

                                                                                                        1. re: narcissisticnonsense

                                                                                                          it's Teochew/Cantonese style seafood. If you go, go to the Las Tunas one

                                                                                                      2. I hope you enjoy walking.

                                                                                                        Cuz that's a lot of pedestrian miles we're looking at.

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                          Gotta walk off the calories, you know. I guess I should say "SGV food car ride," but it doesn't roll off the tongue very well.

                                                                                                          1. re: narcissisticnonsense

                                                                                                            you may be able to walk, and take breaks at tea houses in between.. but you wouldn't really have time to digest :)

                                                                                                        2. if you actually want to walk from place to place, you might consider the intersection of new & valley. there are a number of places there that aren't necessarily a consensus "go to", but enough decent places each with a loyal following with sufficient variety to make it interesting

                                                                                                          - 101 noodle express (the beef rolls)
                                                                                                          - mama's kitchen (some like their XLB)
                                                                                                          - dong nguyen (some like their hainan chicken rice)
                                                                                                          - lee's (some like the banh mi)
                                                                                                          - noodle king (beef noodle soup)

                                                                                                          and only because i really like their cumin chicken bones, you might base off shen yang and then do seafood village across the street then drive down garvey to BPH & kam hong.

                                                                                                          the bottom line is hitting all the "go to" places is a lot like trying to see europe (or even just paris) in 7 days. enjoy the process.

                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: barryc

                                                                                                            we're not actually walking

                                                                                                            but las tunas is a really great walking spot with tasty noodle house, luscious dumpling, kingsbury dumplings, and nanjing kitchen, along with golden deli for some vietnamese spring rolls

                                                                                                            1. re: narcissisticnonsense

                                                                                                              But if you *did* want to walk, Valley Blvd between New (on the west) and Del Mar (on the east) would be the perfect epicenter.

                                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                if you included focus & prospect plaza, you'd have enough places to make a full day of it without wasting a lot of time driving around.

                                                                                                                1. re: barryc

                                                                                                                  I thought that was assumed in the geographic description of Valley between New and Del Mar.

                                                                                                              2. re: narcissisticnonsense

                                                                                                                Nanjing Kitchen.

                                                                                                                I haven't been there in ages.

                                                                                                                Is it still doling out those packaged pieces of Nanjing style duck ??????

                                                                                                            2. Countering:

                                                                                                              Hui Tou Xiang may be one of the most MSG-enhanced dumpling hacks, driven by a single LA food writer, in SGV. The namesake guo tie are appalling, and overall it's worse than Luscious, if that's actually possible.

                                                                                                              Monland's charm is its dinginess and its semblance to the motherland (as well as the misadventure of drinking shit beer while gulping ass-burning, MSG-laden broth on a 90degree LA day while chilling on that rancid patio). It's odd seeing a trendy single serving Taiwanese hotpot joint sharing the same bill as communal fare at Monland. Comparable would be Little Sheep, Hot Pot Hot Pot. BP and JC's flavor profile, and experience, are obviously completely d'frent.

                                                                                                              Garage is garbage. This place serves one of the worst soy milk in SGV, paired with flavorless stingy low quality baos meant to serve the hungry "bus people". Yes, they're from Tianjin. Huge Tree is from Taiwan. The origin doesn't make either better, the food does. The only noteworthy here is 煎饼果子, and only because it's a harder-to-find dish in LA. The salted soy, due to this shit soy, taste basically like a bowl burnt beans; ya can't polish a turd with vinegar.

                                                                                                              Yi Mei's related to Huge Tree by blood. Their recipes came from the same source. It's nearly exactly the same in every sense. Ba wan from both places are a bit odd, the fan tuan carries nearly exactly the same rice:filling ratios.

                                                                                                              There are some misses at both Four Seas and Huge Tree. I pick whatever happens to be closer to the freeway off-ramp at the very moment, and that usually means HTP in WSGV, 4 Seas wins East of 605.

                                                                                                              Tasty Dining's re gan mian is.. not worth of stop. It's simply an ultra-regionalized "dan dan mian" and is akin to the soda served McDonald's. Read: pure profit.

                                                                                                              You can take Nanjin Kitchen's NJ duck to-go as many others do.

                                                                                                              Wang Xiang Ji's xiao long bao is no better than any other Shanghai joints in town. The giant bao appeals not at all to me.

                                                                                                              16 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: narcissisticnonsense

                                                                                                                  "Monland's charm is its dinginess"
                                                                                                                  "4 Seas wins East of 605.

                                                                                                                  Note Mr. Taster countered almost ALL of the recs as well http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9096... and voiced the exact point on Monland vs. Boiling Point/Jazz cat.

                                                                                                                  You wanted assist in weeding out the selection.

                                                                                                                  1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                    Sorry, I was only half joking - where would you have me go instead of those places?

                                                                                                                    1. re: narcissisticnonsense

                                                                                                                      Shit, sorry. I get that alot. Also tl;dr warning.

                                                                                                                      Monland is perfectly good for "Mongolian"-style hot pot. But there's still only 1 Commie licensed joint: Little Fat Sheep.

                                                                                                                      Huge Tree Pastry has good TW breakfast, and 1 of the most storied. I like stories with fan tuan, but like others, I find its soy milk tame compared to VP/VK tofu.

                                                                                                                      For baos/rolls/dumpling, Flavor Garden over Luscious/Hui Tou Xiang mostly just to be contrarian.

                                                                                                                      WSGV's soupiest XLB right now is at Shanghai Dumpling House. The filling isn't the most complex, but for slutty soup whores, it's a must. Walk across to Shanghai No. 1 for a direct comparsion, then to Wang Xiang Ji. Mini XLB walk w/i a car crawl?

                                                                                                                      Tho Shen Yang SG is my all-time SGV Chinese fave, Shen Yang Monterey Park's Chinese take on a Korean cold noodle stands out. JTYH used to make a fine rendition, and they may still do just for the summer, but they took it off the wall menu a coupla years ago. Shen Yang's house-pressed noodle is unrivaled even in Ktown. FWIW Chao-style cold noodle (vs. Chinese chilled noodle) is the new black on Garvey. 3 cold noodle dishes popped up between Atlantic-Garfield (Yiran, Feng Wei + Sheng Yang) this summer.

                                                                                                                      Be Be Fusion is back in Alhambra. Beyond gimmicky stinky tofus, their prep's highly representative healthy "nouveaux" Taiwanese cuisine trend overseas.

                                                                                                                      Chengdu Taste is blowing up right this minute. If you want the crawl to be prescient and predate JGold review, hit that place instead of/in addition to Hunan Mao.

                                                                                                                      Either Tasty Dining or Wok BBQ for dry pots. Wok BBQ also has skewers, which I prefer over simpleton noodles.

                                                                                                                      Arcadia/Monrovia is excluded because of $4.50/gal gas prices + my thirsty engine. Refer to raytam/blimpe/dreamcast/ips/etc.

                                                                                                                      Also, raytamsgv's concern for your health seems legitimate. You're going to die after this crawl. God bless.

                                                                                                                      1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                        "you're going to die after this crawl. God bless."


                                                                                                                        1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                          Ate at Chengdu Taste last week. Pretty great. Thanks for recs. Heard some good things about Wok BBQ.

                                                                                                                          Plan on surviving, but it wouldn't be a bad way to go out.

                                                                                                                          1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                            >> Monland is perfectly good for "Mongolian"-style hot pot. But there's still only 1 Commie licensed joint: Little Fat Sheep.

                                                                                                                            In one of my earlier posts, I was going to make a political observation contrasting the commie communal hotpot and the Taiwanese democratic solo hotpot, and examine what this says about the personality of the cultures, but decided it was too weak to pursue :)

                                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                              are you guys sure that xiao fei yang is an actual branch of xiao fei yang?

                                                                                                                              xiao fei yang was a chinese public company with hundreds of outlets in china and asia that was bought by yum brands, but i looked at their website a long time ago and they didnt list any branches in north america back then if i recall right

                                                                                                                                1. re: Lau

                                                                                                                                  that era has passed.

                                                                                                                                  They're all listed now:

                                                                                                                                  店名 地址 电话
                                                                                                                                  尔湾店 15361 culver drive,#495,Irvine,CA92604 null
                                                                                                                                  圣加布里埃尔店 140 west valley blvd,#213,San Gabriel,CA91776 null
                                                                                                                                  洛杉矶店 1655 South Azusa Ave,Suite E .Hacienda Heights,CA91745 1-626-965-8888
                                                                                                                                  洛杉矶圣马特奥店 215 S. Ellsworth Ave. San Mateo, CA94401, USA 001-650-343-2566

                                                                                                                                  My understanding is that these stores are not opened by franchisees. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                    i stand corrected...i shouldve looked at the more recent website

                                                                                                                                    wow i really didnt think the flushing one was real, guess i was wrong

                                                                                                                              1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                While I chose the approach of following your list, it's hard to disagree with TonyC's suggestions.

                                                                                                                                1. re: JThur01

                                                                                                                                  Noted, but I will need 10 years of food walks/crawls/car rides to get to everywhere.

                                                                                                                                2. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                  very nice TonyC! with the summer heat i was just thinking of some dishes that'd help cool things off. i'll definitely have to make a visit out to Sheng Yang MP to try this. thanx! :>

                                                                                                                                  so is Shen Yang's SG branch not serving cold noodles?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowseeker1999

                                                                                                                                    Shen Yang SG does serve a cold noodle: http://sinosoul.com/wp-content/upload...

                                                                                                                                    But there's something about Shen Yang MP's cold noodles (one of which being the subtraction of MSG upon request) that just "gets" me. It's like they understand what I need in a bowl of naeng myeon. Plus, it's only $7, and the side hot sauce is a perfectly ironic condiment.

                                                                                                                                    I believe Tasting Table LA's piece on the cold noodle is coming, and certainly Snyder will have a more illuminating piece on why this bowl of "Chinese" cold noodle rocks so hard.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                      thanx Tony! got it. i'll be trying the MP version next time i'm in the area; can't wait. :>

                                                                                                                        2. Everyone has their preferences...

                                                                                                                          Dean Sin World is good not only for their wonderful crab shell pastry (no crab, just resembles a crab), but strong xiao long bao as well. Tho' some have mentioned there's a bit of a drop-off from Mrs. Lu to her sisters.

                                                                                                                          Mei Long Village is good for Shanghainese fare, but several of the items you could get at DSW just as easily Same for Mama Lu's which has the same XLB as DSW due to the family connection. Or you could pay more for many of same at Shanghai No. 1.

                                                                                                                          I actually like Wang Xing Ji, but not for the touristy/schticky oversized bao with a straw. The only noteworthy aspect of otherwise good xiao long bao are the sweetened Wuxi version. The smoked fish is very good, if you don't mind the bones (and if you're doing this, you shouldn't) and the green beans are good. Yes, the green beans.There's also the fried "Golden Cakes".

                                                                                                                          Shanghai No. 1 - good choices. Best SJB I've had. Most expensive too, but some real craft involved (or you could get slightly less quality for a bit less $).

                                                                                                                          Tasty Dining - you could the pumpkin cakes as a unique item there...or maybe see if they have the tofu skins.

                                                                                                                          Hunan Mao - good choice, see Yunchuan/Yunkun for more.

                                                                                                                          Beijing Pie House - good choices, the second is known as "Homeland Meat Pie" there.

                                                                                                                          Yunchuan is now Yunkun Garden. A solid place. Their "Spicy w/ Spicy" is good, but much more black pepper-ish. Hunan Mao has "Hot on Spicy." All killer, no filler (no tofu cubes, all pork and veggies). I mean, big time, want to bring your own dairy product in level of spicy. Not to say there aren't worthy items at Yunkun. Same family owned Yunnan Garden is fairly interchangable, particularly with the Crossing The Bridge noodles, though in general was somewhat less spicy until they got used to me.

                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: JThur01

                                                                                                                            It's Mama's Lu, not Mama Lu's :)

                                                                                                                            What happened to the actual Mama Lu, by the way? On my last several visits to DSW, they told me she was back in Shanghai, but I haven't been back in a few months.

                                                                                                                            Even in Shanghai, the 大籠包 is a gimmick not worth trying for any reason other than saying that you've done it. It always struck me as the Shanghai equivalent of Wangfujing scorpion sticks.

                                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                              "Even in Shanghai, the 大籠包 is a gimmick not worth trying for any reason other than saying that you've done it. It always struck me as the Shanghai equivalent of Wangfujing scorpion sticks."
                                                                                                                              THIS +1 x 100.

                                                                                                                              Donghuamen scorpion + big basket bao are the Chinese equiv of cronuts. I also find the entire concept of ditching big basket post soup slurp reeking of food waste.

                                                                                                                              Mr T: you know, a "new" board" software would also have "quote" fxn.

                                                                                                                              1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                Mr. Taster: ""Even in Shanghai, the 大籠包 is a gimmick not worth trying for any reason other than saying that you've done it. It always struck me as the Shanghai equivalent of Wangfujing scorpion sticks."

                                                                                                                                Yes! Still if someone wants to try it, it's WXJ...though why one would choose the gimmicky over something else there is another debate.

                                                                                                                                Yeah, I know it's Mama's Lu. I made the error of copying the original poster in a hurry. I hope you and others here can forgive my gaffe :)

                                                                                                                            2. re: JThur01

                                                                                                                              Thanks. So Hunan Mao and Yunkun are somewhat interchangeable for the "spicy w/ spicy" but not necessarily other things, right? I've been to Yunnan (several years ago) and like the food quite a bit, so I've wanted to find a good Yunnan restaurant.

                                                                                                                              Bones are fine. Bring-your-own-dairy-product spicy is great.

                                                                                                                              1. re: narcissisticnonsense

                                                                                                                                You're welcome. Correct. They both have "spicy w/ spicy" (known as "hot on spicy" at Hunan Mao), but not interchangable for others. Yunkun is primarily Sichuan and Yunnan while Hunan Mao is...Hunan :)

                                                                                                                                Yunnan Garden and Yunkun Garden are fairly interchangable. Though there is often a debate over which is better that comes down to personal preferences. Same family runs both, menus somewhat different.

                                                                                                                                The "spicy w/ spicy" is good both places, but kinda slightly different in approach and flavor profiles. See this for photo evidence:
                                                                                                                                http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/20... (full disclosure, I wrote it). And please note that the version at Hunan Seafood ("Hot on Spicy") is now at Hunan Mao, where they relocated (I need to update that entry).

                                                                                                                                The "Hot on Spicy" was the single spiciest dish I've had. Unrelenting.

                                                                                                                                1. re: JThur01

                                                                                                                                  A dish called Ghost Fire Beef in Yuunan (the province, not the restaurant) blew me away heat-wise for at least 30 minutes, after one bite. Never seen it on an SGV menu.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                                                    My spiciest experience was also in Yunnan. Had to walk around outside the restaurant to cool down.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: narcissisticnonsense

                                                                                                                                      I spent a long weekend in Yunnan and a long weekend in Chengdu. I was surprised how much milder the food in Chengdu was. Still ate some great stuff in XChnegdu, but not as bold.

                                                                                                                            3. Dean Sin World has the best XLB.

                                                                                                                              Kang Kang Food Court for its LA Times-recognized Shanghai fried buns!

                                                                                                                              The Elite for dim sum.

                                                                                                                              Mei Long Village is good, but I wouldn't call it a favorite.

                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: gowest1

                                                                                                                                Dean Sin World? That's a joke! Try J & J and Din Tai Fung, or even Yue Lai, Wang Xing Ji, Shanghai No. 1 Seafood.... they're all better!

                                                                                                                                1. re: TripleAxel

                                                                                                                                  joke or not, a lot of hounds seem to really like the joint.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: TripleAxel

                                                                                                                                    Agree with your recs and your intentionally leaving off MLV for XLB.

                                                                                                                                2. Folks, we removed a huge sub-thread from here that wasn't about food as much as it was about one particular poster. There's room on Chowhound to criticize journalists, but that gets blurry when that person is also a Chowhound and you're talking about their Chowhound posts as much as you are about their more formally published work. A lot of what was written was either too personally critical of a Chowhound poster or went too far down the path of telling them what they should and shouldn't post on Chowhound, neither of which are okay here. You can disagree with someone without focusing on them as a person -- rate chow, not chowhounds.

                                                                                                                                  We know that in removing those comments we've also removed some food info, and we'll try to sort through and email copies of the food-related posts back to people in case you want to repost that info, but if we miss some, you're welcome to write to us at moderators@chowhound.com and request that we send them along.

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                                      We can have the edited discussion emailed to us ????

                                                                                                                                    2. OP, what did you end up doing?

                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                            I was kidding around, I have no idea what the OP ended up doing (and I ironically chose Mexican because that's a cuisine with an over-abundance of choice here, obviously).

                                                                                                                                        1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                          well i switched accounts for a couple reasons (i am narcissisticnonsense). still alive and eating, TonyC.

                                                                                                                                          ended up at hui tou xiang, kingburg kitchen, nanjing kitchen, hunan mao, shen yang SG, shaanxi gourmet, and tasty dining. those choices mostly based on location, because I'll head back for another day sometime in MP or something. also paused in the middle at Fresh Roast for vietnamese coffee on SG blvd. needless to say, veeerryyy full. haven't eaten anything since - excluding a couple more trips to chengdu taste, of course, and a stop at SH for dim sum.

                                                                                                                                          hunan mao was my favorite of the day. great, great stuff.

                                                                                                                                          i'll do a write up on the whole experience in the next few days, but here's shaanxi gourmet:


                                                                                                                                          brand new site that hasn't really launched, so don't bother browsing, although a like would be appreciated.

                                                                                                                                          JThur you're mentioned!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: tentacles

                                                                                                                                            glad you're still alive! (How's your toilet plumping, though?!)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                              wellll, toilet plumbing has proven to have plenty of stamina but the girlfriend says she gained 5 pounds eating with me this summer.