Taiwan Sausage Bei is SGV’s new Salt BAE, HJH Simmer Huang Opens, Ritters SKC delayed
So many restaurant openings (and closings), so little time:
1) Rowland Heights:
Taiwan SAN BA Taiwan Sausage Bei (Taiwan sausage “uncle”) food truck has quietly started opertaions on a street next to a busy Rowland Heights strip mall. That said strip mall happens to contain a Taiwanese powerhouse of a restaurant (Sinbala) seems of little matter to the TWSB team. I know cheap ethnic food is racist, dehumanizing, blah blah blah, but this place is killer: they’re quick, they don’t pour sriracha if you don’t want them to, and they offer 東泉 hot sauce from Taichung city, which is, to many Taiwanese, the only “right” sweet chili sauce kinda like Hellmanns is the only mayo. The structure of the menu is simple: you get a carb main (Taiwanese stewed pork rice, or stir fried rice stick, or noodles; I only mess with the rice out of the 3), then you pick 2 “sides” (tian bu la, Taiwanese sausage, etc.) to accompany the carb main. Add a drink for a bento to-go meal of giant calorific proportions for only $7 total.
Right now, the team is kicking it in middle of Taiwan, apparently singing and eating to their hearts content, so they won’t be reopening on March
6 7. In the meantime, folks who want to follow their adventure (or email them Q&A for pieces or whatnot), can hit them up on fb. The youngish team is ridiculously social media savvy, and answers both iM and fb messages within minutes (assuming they’re on the same time zone and not napping). 1580 Jellick Ave
2) Alhambra: Per the chef, Ritters SKC is targeting a Mid-March opening; they are currently still in hiring and training mode.
3) San Gabriel: Dong Lai Shun, a branch of Beijing’s mutton Islamic hot pot is set to open at the first floor of a mixed-use building. The first branch in America, opened by a fanchisee, is getting rather horrible Yelp reviews. 402 S San Gabriel
4) Rosemead: Ah May Burmese restaurant lands with a bang in February, immediately mired in parking woes. The Burmese community knows Ah-May is the long standing backyard pop-up which ran for almost a decade in San Gabriel City. It decided to go legit this year, and picked the most ridiculous parking lot (triangular, with only 1 direct in n out route) which also has to serve the insanely popular Bay Island Cantonese cafe, Sam Woo Cantonese BBQ, as well as the only branch of Chengdu Taste between Hacienda Heights and Alhambra. The current prices at Ah May are way too low, with the kitchen unable to keep up production and staff unable to meet service demands (it’s previous backyard location held 3-ish tables, par for the SGV Burmese pop-up genre). Including Daw Yee and Yoma, West SGV now has a whopping 4 Burmese restaurant, not including the final surviving weekend pop-up. 8526 Valley Blvd Ste 106
5) Hacienda Heights: Northern Cuisine, a Chinese restaurant doing Beijing inspired dishes, opened in January. At $55, it is also serving the most expensive Peking Duck outside of WP24 at the moment. The squirrel fish seems to be a hit, and there’s a beer and wine license. Can’t wait to try this out. 17515 Colima Rd Ste A
6) Temple City: HJH Simmer Huang is finally open! Second branch of Chinese outfit doing giant Chinese casseroles on (inductive) flames. This seems to be the final piece to the Camelia Square puzzle as Bistro Na’s also online now. Simmer Huang is really meant for sharing, as the price for the base stock starts at $10 with additional add-ins ranging from $8-12. Signature pots start at $35 and goes up to $55. It’s exciting to see a Chinese franchise doing something other than Sichuan food, and equally exciting to see the first branch opening in East SGV and still able to successfully negotiate the stingier West SGV crowd. 5728 Rosemead Blvd Unit 107
7) Alhambra: Baja Cali Fish & Tacos gets a new gas main, but is waiting for health inspection. SO CLOSE! 2001 W Valley Blvd Alhambra
8) El Monte: Pho Ly Thuong Kiet, which was obliterated by last year’s huge fire in Monterey Park, has reopened as Pho LTK in El Monte. Write off 2016 losses, cash out on insurance policy; good for you guys! It’s located next to Yang’s Dining Room, which during last visit was closed due to “patio remodeling”. Maybe? 10512 Lower Azusa Rd
9) San Gabriel: China Taste, which is not the same as China Tasty in Alhambra, as opened at the old Dezhuan Hot Pot place, which 2 years ago was 2188 Spicy Shrimp. I think. I couldn’t be bothered to even pull into the parking lot to take a picture. That said, the Anhui menu seems interesting enough, and is the only one of the few restaurant this year to not focus spicy food. 529 E Valley Blvd #108A
10) Baldwin Park: Jumpton 1 Ton (get it? GET IT?) quietly opened 3 months ago on the most random corner of Baldwin Park, down the street from Meizhou Express (which, btw, was so slammed recently it couldn’t get 2 simple bowls of Sichuan noodles out in 30 minutes). This place is so hipster chic I almost fainted when I crossed the threshold. Verdict: great, great fried wontons, not at all like your disgusting cab rangoon. Great, thoughtful fillings and super charming owners. Passion fruit tea also not gross. 4021 Maine Ave
11) Alhambra: Dickey’s, a Texas BBQ franchise, is opening at the extremely busy corner of Garfield and Main. While La Barbecue is coming to LA sometime in the future , Belles Belles has been the best BBQ restaurant (with brisket) to open so far this year. Dickey’s, on the other hand, is really hit and miss from location to location. With often teens manning the cutting board, Dickey’s also suffers from typical franchise woes. Let us see how this actually goes. 8 West Main Street.
12) Temple City: House of Mandarin Noodle (which is not the same Mandarin Noodle House) has has been flipped into a Sichuanese restaurant. The English name is the same, but the menu and ownership are completely different. The loud exterior banner screams: We are now spicy, come by! 4819A Temple City Blvd
13) Monterey Park: H&H has closed as of early February. I literally do not know how they stayed open for the last six freaking years. Hopefully someone got his/her greencard out of losing $500K. 429 W Garvey Ave
14) Alhambra: The Poke Joint just opened on Main St on Presidents Day(?)ish. That’s great. 6 W Main, Alhambra
15) Alhambra: one of the oldest Boiling Crab, on Valley Blvd, has closed. Obviously the location is so prime, but the interior needs complete rehab. With the Rosemead location in full swing and at least twice as large, it seems the corporation decided to give up on the older and grimey location. 742 W Valley.
UPDATED: Ritter’s SKC Set to Open Soon, Teto Sweets is Super Hong Kong, Chuan Ma Re-opens in Walnut
1) Monterey Park Teto Sweets is the most Hong Konger thing that has opened in West SGV since Premiere Desserts (Montery Park) popped up earlier this decade. The way they spell/write latte in traditional Chinese is Traditional. The I610 W Garvey
2) San Gabriel: Big shout-out to Elton who opened his dream boba team shop. Labobatory soft opened two months (Jan 7) after the the Kickstarter campaign surpassed $60,000. You can see the crazy Pi Pa Gao tea on its IG here. 819 W Las Tunas
3) Alhambra: Mancora Peruvian is set to open shortly. It is currently hiring. The restaurant replaces a tiny, dead Cantonese seafood place, but incorporation info shows ethnic Chinese ownership. 240 W Main St
4) Walnut: Chuan Ma has reopened as Chengdu Noodle House in BFE nowhere. I miss Chuan Ma and had to stop going as s/he moved further and further East. Do not expect the Chongqing Little Noodle craze that’s currently sweeping through SGV right now — see Best Noodle House below. This is not the sort-of alkaline noodles commonly found in Chongqing, and the signature house noodle remains the spicy beef noodle soup which is so ridiculously addicting. I’d rather have this than drink chicken bone broth down the street. 810 Nogales.
5) Alhambra: Via reader’s tip (hi Cynthia!), Ritter’s Steam Kettle Cooking has announced a January opening on its website. I’ve been driving by almost every week and asking around for news for the last few months to no avail. Chef Michael Ritter is a fascinating guy, so maybe it’s time to actually check in with him again and get a story plus an update. 1/23/17 Update from insider: final inspection is coming soon, but it’s already 1/23, so it’ll probably not be January. 1800 W Valley
6) Alhambra: Golden Brown Chicken has opened, and I have the say the chicken(s) here are delicious. The Asiany fried chicken wings: ask for the buffalo chicken “extra spicy” and the Savoy-esque Hainam chicken are both bang on. The neighborhood has noticed the pan-Asian menu quick service menu and there’s regularly line out out the door after only 2 weeks. Sadly, they’re having difficulties with phone orders so one must be a bit patient. Outside of Savoy, no one near the 710/10 has a higher QPR Hainan chicken rice. Their Instagram is here. 2120 Fremont Ave
7) Alhambra: Aku Poke is landing across the 1000 Fremont complex, next to the insanely popular Starbucks. That’s all. Go eat your imported shrimp and salmon pumped full of pig manure.
7) San Gabriel: Cantonese folks keep trying to open dai pai dong style cafes in SGV despite multitude of recent failures (see Grand Cafe, etc.). Ho Kee Cafe is the latest entry, and the menu seems to be a mixture of Tsam Seng and Delicious Food Corner. 533 S. Del Mar
9) Arcadia: EMC has opened across Monkey Bar at the Arcadia Mall. I’m mentioning this because Monkey Bar is also open, and one of these places does not have pre-shucked happy oysters oysters. One of these places also allows you to order Hainan chicken from Sidechick to go with their cocktails. 400 Baldwin
10) Rosemead: Best Noodle opened last month, displacing the rather unfortunately “One Plus One” Cantonese cafe. This is a Chongqing-style “little noodle” shop, basically a copy of Mian, but less chic. To its credit, it does have a rendition of Chongqing’s most ubiquitous little noodle: the yellow bean “zha” sauce. Unfortunately, it’s also $8, basically 400% of an actual bowl in Chongqing. 9329 Valley Blvd.
Taipei Giant Fried Chicken Cutlet Specialist Opens in LA, Northern Cafe Hits MPK, Chongqing Little Noodle hits El Monte, Amrose Finally Dies
So many restaurant openings, so little time.
1) Monterey Park: the previous report on China Tasty opening a Lanzhou noodle shop was incorrect. The announcement was based on the Chinese name only, not the English name, and the English name clearly shows this to be a Northern Cafe. This is apparently the same Northern Cafe (going by the font alone) as the ones in Cerritos, Rowland Heights, etc. The focus is on Langzhou pulled noodles. It is easy to presume this place will be a huge hit with non-local Americans (read: white food writers) as there is an open kitchen featuring DTF-like windows offering a look at the hand-pulled noodle shifu. This is all a bit f’d up because the font that Northern Cafe used for the English name is clearly evocative — or, exactly the freaking same — as the Chinese signage of China Tasty. Whatever, someone ought to be sued in 2017. Northern Cafe – Lanzhou Noodles, 128 N Garfield
That said, I recently met a handsome chap (Hi Juliet’s Korean-looking boyfriend) while slurping hot pot in Chengdu. He said Lanzhou’s a shithole and he’d much rather be in Chengdu. Mind you, Chengdu was rocking a hefty AQI of 180 most of that week, but hey, when your hometown’s AQI is over 250 *gulp*, 180 must seem like a slice of blueish-gray paradise. I’m not sure what the air quality of Lanzhou has to do with noodles, but I’m just laying it out there: this noodle soup thing is going to jump the shark like poke. See second evidence below:
2) Rosemead: The Chinese culinary community in LA is still really good at copying, instead of innovating. One month after MIAN enters into JGold’s 101, a new Chongqing “little noodle” shop named Best Noodle House has opened in BFE El Monte. I love the “concept” of MIAN by Chengdu Taste, hopefully you can feel the love in the orignial coverage. I might’ve even chased a few bowls of Chongqing little noodles while doing a layover in CQ:
Bowl 2: #胖妹面庄. yellow pea and slightly spicy "zha". $1.75. Same exact little noodle as the bowl in Chengdu, but twice as good. This is a branch of the sorts famous "chubby little sister" brand, but near the Chongqing North Rail, South Plaza. Planned a 3-stopper noodle walk, but could only muster a bang-bang cause Chongqing noodles are double the size of Chengdu. Many little noodle shops are open at 7am, making it the "pho" of Chongqing. Overall, I don't get it. 🤔. Peace out CQ, next: Tokyo.
Unlike “Mr 123 Lamp” in Chongqing, I just do not fiend for these noodles. The mala chickpea “zha” noodle, topped with an fried egg (which Best Noodle House subs with a braised egg) is basically “the” little noodle of choice for Chongqingers, and if you can’t even get the fried egg right, you really don’ t need to stay open. Best Noodle House, Rosemead
3) Rosemead: Hot-Star has arrived in LA. The first “giant” Taipei fried chicken cutlet shop — Buddy Chicken — opened in Arcadia mall but that thing is way too bougie. This is what a Taipei fried chicken shop looks like:
And the new branch of Shilin Night Market’s Hot-Star sort of gets the feeling right. This is apparently the second branch in the (Not-So-United-States, and they’re still hiring, but I can’t wait to cruise by for some fried chicken. There is a severe dearth of good fried chicken in W. SGV.
Hot-Star, 7540 Garvey Ave #C
4) Alhambra: Hunan Fire & Spice burnt out rather quickly. It’s a bit unbelievable it lasted just about 5 months after taking over O Young Stone Pot No. 2. A Yunan-Sichuan style shop, randomly named Yu Ming. The signature dish, as is the norm for Yunnan joints, is the cross-the-bridge noodles. *yawn* 640 W Valley Blvd
5) San Gabriel: Amrose, the rather disgusting AYCE spicy hotpotting joint, is finally dead. It was bought and flipped to K.N. Boiling, but now it’s once again a new “concept. The Spicy Crab opened 3 weeks ago, and the butthurt Yelp reviews are already rolling in. Good times in that little corner, as always. 529 E Valley Blvd Ste 168
6) Alhambra: Fremont and the 10 Freeway is getting a fried chicken shack. Golden Brown Chicken takes over a tile store (IIRC?), which was then turned to a medical supply shop (IIRC?). That corner is all kinds of crazy, but there’s a Papa John’s, as well as a 7-11, so hopefully it won’t be DOA. And like I said, every single fried chicken shop is welcome here! 2120 S. Fremont.
7) San Gabriel: Bear Bear has been flipped to Amour Bistro. I missed this in the last few recaps, but… Amour is no longer a “club”, it’s a “lounge”. Get on this all you college-aged kiddies recently graduated from Schurr High School. Let me now how it is. Chang’an has a patio, a happy hour, and no jailbait You will usually find me there instead. 250 W Valley Blvd #P
8) Rosemead: Mama’s Lu has opened its gazillionth shop at an old HK bistro. I feel mixed about this. On one hand a successful dumpling restaurateur killed a bad Cantonese bistro, on the other, it’s just yet another Mama’s Lu. Mama’s Lu and Nha Trang bring out serious cognitive dissonance in me. Isn’t everyone so completely burnt out on bun bo hue and beef rolls?
9) Monterey Park: File this one under “SGV Restaurant oddities”. Shinano‘s, one of the last (out of 3) surviving Japanese-owned Japanese restaurants in all of Monterey Park, has sold its hard liquor license. Instead, it has applied for a beer and wine license. At $60K+ for a full liquor license transfer, it seems like Shinano is monetizing some of its remaining soft assets. Still haven’t eaten here; tried Taihei once and never again will I eat “authentic” old-timey Japanese in MPK. 1106 S Atlantic Blvd
10) Rosemead: 626 Lobster. After the success of Boston Lobster, it is natural more knock-offs continue to proliferate. The latest in the string of Canto-Viet-Cajun seafood restaurants is 626 Lobster. The menu at the month old estabsishment looks exactly like Boston Lobster/Newport Seafood. And why not? It’s not like you’d rather go to Providence for shrimp. 8632 E Valley Blvd
This is the SGV restaurant news update that refuse to die. In the final 2 months of 2016, restaurant opening activity has reached a peak. With fresh Chinese money harder than to come, 2017 will probably not see a flurry of activity as 2016. Two final openings and closures:
11) San Gabriel: Gold Tea replaces Ma Space, a smoking/karaoke lounge. It seems there is a bit of Western dessert wizardry going on, with a bit of Shanghai-Shenzhen dessert bar feel tossed in. Gold Tea is apparently chasing the same crowd of Chang’an: the will-to-do, fashionable Chinese ex-pats looking to escape SGV ennui without driving to Hollywood. Best park: it’s open until 2:00am on the weekends. 1045 E valley Blvd A102
12) Monterey Park: RIP to Pho Ly Thuong Kiet and Hot Pot Restaurant (the only take-out hot pot specialist which also sold sliced lamb and beef). Both were consumed by a four-alarm fire which the Monterey Park FD, voted by the city’s citizen to not be contracted out to the County FD in 2013, could not control for 3 hours. After 3 days, MPFD still couldn’t report on the final cause of the fire. G’job, Monterey Park PD association and the citizens of Monterey Park. 301 E Garvey
And that is the final update for 2016. Hopefuly, there will be one more blog entry on the trope of white food writers traveling to Asia for special “food tourism” reports, inspired by a recent Columbusing piece commissioned by Food Republic for a “food writer” in SF.
Langzhou Ramen Heads to MPK, Simmer Huang & Bistro Na’s Soon hit Camellia Square , Tokyo Table Grand Opens Dec 1
So many openings, so little time.
If you’re still somehow reading tweets three weeks into Trump’s win, it’s probably pretty clear I’m nowhere near the SGV right now, and the listing below are cobbled together from November outings. But whatever, someone’s gotta do it.
Monterey Park: Lanzhou Ramen is heading South. But wait, you say, there is no Lanzhou Ramen restaurant in LA. And you’re correct, because China Tasty‘s Chinese name is Lanzhou Ramen. But Chinese ramen? Who wants to eat Chinese ramen, you say. Well, considering the Japanese co-opted this Chinese invention — “ra men” is “pulled noodles” in Chinese — everyone should be obsessed with Chinese la mian. In fact, downtown hipsters better get on this ASAP. This lovely noodle restaurant, originally on Valley Blvd, next to 101 Noodle Express, should be open by the time the post goes live. Not sure why JG would bother reviewing Canto breakfast and keep insisting 101 Noodle Express has good Chinese noodles when China Tasty (and Xi’an Tasty, AND Liang’s) have such superior noodle products. The previous restaurant was Three Travellers [sic], a “bone stock” hot potting outlet of a China chain that constantly reeked of sow. It was a bit of a surprise Three Travellers even made it 3 years, but let’s not forget SGV food hype phrase of 2016 is indeed: “China Chain”. 128 N Garfield
(photo credit: Ivy W.)
Temple City: Bistro Na’s has a pre-Christmas opening date. This place is going to be a big deal, with its multi-course “Imperial” feast, straight outta China. With the opening of both Bistro Na’s and Simmer Huang (below), Camellia Square is set to be the next war arena between Chinese and Korean cuisine. Kang Ho Dang Baekjeong continues to draw big crowds wherever it opens, but seriously people: stop eating that slop. Water downed egg mix is disgusting. Think of the cooped up chickens.
Temple City: Camelia Square’s new restaurants have mostly opened up (Summer Roll, Kang Ho Dang, etc.), and the remaining one, at 2600-sqft, seems to be some kind of bone stock hot potting joint. Safe to assume Simmer Huang is Chinese-operated and owned, and it is severely delayed because this sign’s been up since…. before Summer Roll opened. Simmer Huang, just like Bistro Na‘s that’s about to open soon, is a massive Chinese empire with hundred-year old culinary foots “supposedly” rooted in the Beijing imperial court’s kitchen. With 500+ outlets within China, Australia and Canada, Simmer Huang is yet another symbol of the current invasion of Chinese food businsses in LA. Whether it succeeds it is a whole nother story though. 5728 Rosemead Blvd, suite 107
Alhambra: Tokyo Table’s opening party is Dec 1. This is by the same Japanese company that now owns Kaya. We love Kaya, we love the Japanese. We just aren’t sure what city of Alhambra is thinking putting so many “izakaya”-style restaurants on Main St. That said, there will be a food give-away, and a DJ, and sake, so Alhambra should be having a grand old time this Thursday. 100 E Main St.
Monterey Park: Akagi Ramen will take over the dead shaved snow place (RIP Fluff Ice) in Atlantic Square, which allowed Snowy Village to open this month. This means one dead shaved snow place was replaced by another shaved snow place. That’s Monterey Park. Also of note, Akagi Ramen, before the interior is even finished, has multiple signs up for BOGO deals. As Trump would say: This is “really, really, NOT a smart” move. 500 N Atlantic Blvd #153
Kembo Taiwanese Truck is back! Eaterphant Thai? More Korean Shaved Snow.
So many openings, so little time:
Monterey Park: Kembo, the Taiwanese street food truck that was nailed by a drunk driver in a minivan, is finally back. They have a full size lonchero-style truck now, not just a trailer, and it looks spiffy! Now, on a typical Thursday evening, there is the taco truck, the insanely-priced boba truck, and Kembo. Thank goodness the churros truck is gone. It wasn’t bueno. 330 N Atlantic Blvd
Monterey Park: Eaterphant (The Thais tell me the silly name is because there’s an Elephant Thai in .. Chino? San Dimas? Or something) took over the dead pizza joint, killed by Blaze, across the street, two weeks ago. This Thai fast-casual restaurant joins the only other Thai restaurant in this stretch of Monterey Park: Thai House (and the associated Thai House Express). Eaterphant’s a a bit massive inside, with counter ordering of a mixed Thai menu. There’s larb, there’s tom kha gai, and there’s even braised pork hock rice. With Thai cooks manhandling the woks, service has been quick, and portions are massive. This place looks like an instant winner. 2201 S Atlantic Blvd #B.
Alhambra: West SGV now might have more Burmese restaurant than the rest of the state combined. There’s the lovely Yoma, there’s the also lovely Daw Yee, and as of first week of November, there’s NADI Myamar Cafe. This was the site of the old Indo Kitchen. The menu is concise, but it’s still better than having to chase down oh no khao swe all over residential homes Monterey Park and Rosemead ** wink wink **. Of note, they are NOT open Monday, which I had to find out firsthand when I visited last week. 5 N. 4th St
Monterey Park: Snowy Village has replaced the the failing Cold Stone as of last Friday, the 11th. This is the 4th location of the Snowy Village Korean chain. Cold Stone was the saddest thing at Atlantic Square, and it was a reminder of the failed policy of the city which forced the developers to maintain “national brands”. Well, five years in, ALL the domestic national brands are dead as the wicked witch. You can force the palate of the people, and the people are: Chinese. 500 N Atlantic #C-118A
San Gabriel: A “steam pot” concept straight outta China’s food trend play book has hit the city in the form of Fresh QBake. I can not even begin to explain the name, as steaming is not baking, and baking isn’t nearly as popular as steaming, nor does baking exude the much loved “health benefits” of food steaming in China. But hey, whatever, the Chinese name of “Sauna Pot” is properly poetic and the place is popping. Someone go tell me how it is cause I haven’t been, and had to “steal” a Yelp photo. 5449 Rosemead Blvd
Monterey Park: East Fusion opened at the old crappy seafood Cantonese place inside that dingy plaza on the NE corner of Garvey and Garfield. I’m too lazy to even remember what the heck that dump is called (Garfield Lincoln Plaza) because literally everything in there has been crap for years, if not decades — though yes, sometimes you still go to Shau Mei for shaved ice, but only if you’re broke and want to die of diarrhea the next day — especially the Cantonese joints. And of course, East Fusion serves the most generic looking Cantonese food. (This is just from observing the window signage; I will never be caught dead here until Sixtus Baggio somehow gets to ever escape from Hong Kong and also decides to invite me to lnuch here.) There’s the sign above the words just so you can avoid the food. 108 N Garfield
Wow, I forget how refreshing it can be to actually type rando op-eds (or as @G_sny would say: king trolling) on food trends you hate when you’re drunk on sake. I say sake because I’m no longer drinking bourbon because of .. Kentucky. and Tennessee. #stillwithher
Chihuo Hosts a Food Truck; Yukinoya is Dead; Arcadia Mall Gets Green Tea Soft Serve
So many openings, so little time:
USC: Chihuo’s first food truck run is TODAY, lunch at USC, dinner at UCLA. They’re creating 4-plex lunchboxes of dishes from Chuan’s, Szechuan Impression, Meizhou Dongpo. Time: 11:30 to 1:30pm at Jefferson & Orchand (USC). 5:30PM to 8:00pm at Gayley and S. Charles Young Dr at UCLA. Menu at the two schools is the same, and the early visitors at both locations get some fancy free tea.
Monterey Park: Ramen Yukinoya is gone. To be replaced by Kaiba. If this spot wasn’t already officially doomed, it is now. The stretch between Duck House and Riggin Street is a certifiable restaurant wasteland, with only 2 remaining old-timey Japanese (Nisei?) relics left. Not one single Japanese entrant could make 816 Atlantic Blvd Monterey Park work in the last 3 years, but the spot has a beer and wine license, so the Japanese keep trying. Except Kaiba is Korean owned. Is there anything worse than Japanese food butchered by Korean? Yes, yes there is — Japanese food butchered by Chinese people. See: Tasty Ocean, San Gabriel.
Arcadia: Matcha Matcha is getting a ton of traction from Insta-loving soft serve fiends. The thought is this: eat the Hainan chicken rice (please don’t call it khao man ghai when the chef is Chinese) from Side Chick
en, then hop one stall over to MM for the matcha soft serve and other matcha soft-serve creations. Finally, walk very carefully towards the bicycle and take a selfie. Unless you’re not in the self-taking age group. Then just go home. Arcadia Mall Asian food court/alley thingie.
Industry: JIS Bros writes in another of their fabulous designs. Lobster Now is a spicy faux-Sichuan Chinese crawfish/lobster joint. That said, Na Mama, Hip Hot AND Huolala are both a lot closer for Sichuanese seafood. Go for the sweet interior on the way back from shopping at Dessert Outlets? 17501 Colima Rd
Monterey Park: Wok BBQ is now Wok Crab. The food is now… spicy crawfish and knock-off Boiling Crab, garlic noodles and all. That is the fourth spicy seafood shop in 2 years. (King Crawfish, The Sichuan Chinese place, the other Chinese place) 910 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91755
Monterey Park: after three years, my beloved Shen Yang is finally getting the flip. It’s being turned into a “Tokyo Yakiniku” that is owned by a person with a Cantonese surname. For a second it seemd Tokyo Yakiniku might be owned by the same team behind 101 BBQ and Karaoke in El Monte that was just reported last month, but it ain’t. The license transference is currently stuck in the application process, and Shen Yang is still slinging an amazing 2-person fresh noodle naengmyun kit for $10. 639 W Garvey Ave
Rosemead: Chengdu Taste 2 (or was it 3? I can’t remember) just got a darker, broodier, more romantic flip. Again, it’s the JIS Bros’ handiwork. Some say the menu remains the same. It probably is the same. Also, as a gentle reminder: this one takes reservations. 8526 Valley Blvd #108
Alhambra: Legendary Restaurant, the previously mentioned chef-thief, is now going balls-to-the-wall by offering massive discounts for its “grand opening”. Seriously people, have some gdamn pride.
Mid-October 2016 SGV Restaurant updates: More Sichuan knock-offs (Legendary), more skewers (Da Sheng)
So many openings and so little time:
Rosemead: Boiling Crab is open in Rosemead and immediately doing gangbusters. I still, til this day, do not understand the appeal of this place. But whatevers — eat that nasty butter shrimp and go to Rose City Pizza for craft beer right around the corner.
El Monte: 101 BBQ & Karaoke popped up last month in that weird and confusing part of Civic Center. This is a Japanese-style bbq operated by a Chinese team that happens to also own a meat processing company in S. El Monte. I see what you did there. Smart guys! 10631 Valley Mall.
Alhambra: Legendary has opened at the beat-up motel West of Fremont, you know, the place where restaurants go die. The ownership is really ballsy though: they have the gall to open in a beat up motel with no street street access West of Fremont, AND they stole couple chefs from the nearest Sichuan joint down the street. 2718 W Valley Blvd.
Rowland Heights: Chihuo has reported Shufeng opened a Sichuanese hot potting joint right across the old Shufeng (which remains open). It’s called “Old House”, and the stock base looks 1) spicy as F 2) supposedly Chengdu. 18406 Colima Rd
El Monte: This city really needs way more restaurants so the locals don’t have to go to Rosemead and San Gabriel to eat. In comes Saigon Restaurant for all your pho needs. It isn’t as cheap as Saigon Noodles & Grill 8 (wth is up with that name), but the menu seems much more focused (and literally not as crappy looking). 4022 Tyler Ave
Monterey Park: Dasheng BBQ has opened at the old 101 Dumpling/Big Fish/Bamboo Creek/this-spot-is-doomed-just-stop-it/etc. spot. Name says it all: more Chinese skewers. Yes, there are 2 skewer joints on this stretch of Garvey in Monterey Park already. No, they apparently don’t care, so they start the skewers at $0.60/ea. lols. 331 W Garvey Ave
The killer part of this spot when you google/yelp:
Arcadia: Tsurumaru Udon Honpo — a fave in Little Tokyo — has joined Side Chick, Matcha Bar, Uncle Tetsu, etc. at the Arcadia Mall. Yup, still calling the Arcadia Mall. It’s still Arcadia Mall because Mitsuwa will forever be Yaohan. #summer1986. Westfield Santa Anita.
Previously reported: Limerick’s , Summer Roll, have both opened. Limerick’s celebrated its “grand opening” on the 15th, and sports a massive beer lift (craft and industrial). Summer Roll has some crafts, but… these guy are known wage-stealers, so…
Fancy Bao House Arrives in ESGV, Monterey Park Gets 2 Dessert Stores, “Old House” Brings More Sichuan Hotpotting, etc.
So many restaurant openings in SGV, so little time:
1.Rowland Heights: Little Highness Bao: I drove by this bao specialty a few times before they opened, but haven’t visited yet. More than dumplings, I like baos. (By the way, dumplings are not baos, nor vice versa), and this place has baos up the wazoo. Daily rotation of nearly a dozen flavors/varieties, including vegan/vegetarian types, are available. All are hand made in house. I’m beyond excited. 18333 Colima
2. (Apparently) due to family obligations, the only third-wave nano-roaster/espresso house has closed in Monterey Park. Good luck with every thing David! De Cafe Barista had a 3.5 year run in a very, very tough neighborhood for coffee shops. Hexowl, which is currently getting ripped apart online, takes over this space inside the massive mixed-use complex. the626.com reported the news earlier in August, but the hexowl team says the takeover officially happened August. 500 N Atlantic Blvd Ste 121
3. Alhambra: O Young Rock Pot‘s second outlet proved to be extremely short lived. In less than six months, it quickly shuttered, prior to beer license transfer completion. Hunan Fire N Spice (Coming Out of Your Butthole) opened in August. So far, the Yelp reviews seem very pleasant, but there’s still no news of a second Cha Cha Chili reopening anywhere. 640 W Valley
4. The Freezin [sic] Point, a “rolled” Thai-style ice cream shop, has opened next to the Daikokuya in Monterey Park. SGV is so trendy, just like Asia. I won’t be visiting cause who knows what mysterious milk this place is using? 111 N Atlantic Blvd Ste 244 Monterey Park
5. Rowland Heights: Lafunz Hot Pot‘s name in Chinese is actually Old House. Old House is a Chengdu style hot potting joint that’s getting a lot of traction from the local Sichuan’ers. Sadly, it is not in West SGV, but in Rowland Heights. The interior design is by JIS Bros, which has designed many of the “hipper” Chinese restaurants in the last 3 years, including MIAN. 18406 Colima Rd Rowland Heights, CA 91748
6. Monterey Park: Previously reported reconstruction of Seafood Village, my fave Chiu Chow seafood joint in all of SGV (because it isn’t lobster driven) and isn’t a gajillion miles away via local roads, is finally boarded up. The fire that took down the restaurant was pretty horrific, and the rebuild will probably last into 2017. 684 W Garvey Ave
7. Monterey Park: In a complex mostly known for nail parlors right across the parking lot, a Hawaiian shaved ice parlor opened in August. It’s great to see an independent store opening (albeit in an extremely inconspicuous location) when that particular stretch of Atlantic Blvd is being slammed with chains (Panda Express, Blaze, etc). The Shave Shack: 2085 S Atlantic Blvd
Since I’m independent again, unlike Gawker, it should be “OK” to comment on other restaurant/food news pieces. Hopefully I will keep a running tally:
- I’m pretty sure beef shank and/or SPAM in your jian bing aren’t “traditional”. You won’t find the 2 meat ingredients at most breakfast crepe stands in China.
- NYT’s piece on Oceana false fish labeling report is really fascinating but… Are we just talking about fish that are served at restaurants? Or are they only testing processed fish filet? I mean, when you go to 99 Ranch / H-Mart / fish monger, you see a cat fish in the tank, and it’s a catfish. You see a whole golden pompano on ice, it’s a golden pompano (per below). You see a belt fish, it’s belt fish. Things might get tricky with escolar, grouper, tuna, etc. But man, when I buy milk fish, I know it’s milk fish cuz it looks (and tastes) just like milk fish. Is the whole globe stupid or am I just not getting it?
- LA doesn’t lead the cocktail culture, at all. Chicago, and Boston, and probably even Austin are ahead. Two leading factor: 1) DUI 2) 2 A.M. last call. Also, goddamnit, how can you be a proper Cocktail Town when there’s a drought and bartenders don’t automatic serve you a glass of water? Finally, when one of the top cocktail “bar” doesn’t actually have an actual bar for patrons to sit at and ruminate on how unworthy Pappy actualy is…