Shen Yang in San Gabriel
I finally managed to convince a few people to go with me. The decor was plain--nothing spectacular. Parking was a mess because many people were shopping at the Hong Kong Supermarket next door. Judging by the accents I heard inside, there were quite a few patrons who were Northerners.
This is what we ate:
Sauteed Beef with Scallion: decent, not outstanding.
Corn and Red Bean Flower Buns: pretty good, but it's hard to compare because I've never seen anything like this in my life. It comes with a heaping of sugar, and I surmised that one should coat the outside with sugar before eating. It's a mild and quite chewy dish.
Jing Dong Meat Pie: excellent combination of meat and a flaky crust. It looks like a scallion pancake with meat inside. It's about a half-inch thick.
Home Style Pancakes with Pork Stew and Scallion: It's not actually a pork stew. Instead, it consists of quarter inch think slices of pork (that may or may not have been stewed) and a plate with scallions and what appears to be a fermented bean paste of some sort. Four large pancakes (again, similar in appearance to scallion pancakes) accompany this. I'm not an expert on how to eat this, so I placed the pork slices in the pancake, topped with some scallions and a touch of the paste, folded it like a taco, and ate it. I imagined it to be a poor man's version of Beijing duck. It was delicious
Shredded Potato with Sour Sauce: This was a cold dish. This wasn't bad, but I think it would have been much tastier if we had ordered a hot, spicy dish to balance the flavor and temperature. The potatoes were not cooked to the point of collapse. You could pick them up like noodles.
Fish Potstickers: Okay. I'm biased because I like pork pot stickers so much more. The celery was a bit too pronounced in this dish. If it had been pork instead, the balance would have been better.
Northern Style Noodle with Soup. This was a bit hit amongst the noodle eaters in our group. It's like hot and sour noodle soup without the spiciness or sourness. The flavor is complex.
I'm very happy I was able to dissuade other members of my party from ordering fried rice and chow mein.
Overall, it was worth the money. Entrees range mostly from $7 to $12. It is cash only. At least one of the waitresses spoke decent enough English but they never seem to let me speak English in these places unless I drag along someone who doesn't look Chinese.
"I'm very happy I was able to dissuade other members of my party from ordering fried rice and chow mein."
it took me about 2 months of weekly lunches to get my regular crowd to desist
"they never seem to let me speak English in these places unless I drag along someone who doesn't look Chinese."
i have noticed the same thing.at certain places. non-asians get bonus points for merely making the attempt while chinese-looking clientele get dinged for not speaking well, my usual excuse is: "shuo guan dong hua!". it doesn't help much but it makes me feel better.