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Ding’s Garden Officially Aggressive, Main Street Gets Yet Another Seafood Bar, Bonchon Returns to LA, Chibiscus Goes Into Supermarket

So many restaurant openings, so little time. And, happy Chinese New Year!

bonchon alhambra

Alhambra: Big news, Bonchon is coming back to LA (county). Yes, that’s right, as part of the weak attempt at Koreans to battle for SGV land grab (as they’ve done from Hacienda Heights to Diamond Bar), the Koren fried chicken chain is opening next to Vietnam House. Things look pretty close to completion, and this place actually has a beer license unlike the original Bonchon. Seriously, you can’t be a chimac without beer. It’d just be “chi”, you know, how the Koreans abbreviate “chi”cken. 710 W Las Tunas Dr Ste 2

chibiscus ramen alhambra

Alhambra: Chibiscus is opening ramen / fusion shop number three inside the 99 Ranch on Main St. This is, of course, great news as the relatively new 99 Ranch is the cleanest and its deli counter sells Taiwanesey railroad biandan in actual wooden vessels. No clue how good/bad this ramen chainlet is though. 345 E Main St

qiwei kitchen alhambra

Alhambra: Qiwei Kitchen is opening to the left of Chibiscus in the same supermarket mentioned above. This is the second outlet of Qiwei (though in reality, third “attempt” since there was previously a Qiwei in San Gabriel). It’s safe to assume the food will be mostly the same, which is to say: Wuhan dry pots of sorts. I have no idea how they’ll serve dry pots from such a small space in front of the 99 Ranch, but rest assured the Chinese will make space out of nothing. 345 E Main St

urban seafood and bar

Alhambra: In February’s edition of “What was Alhambra City Council Thinking”: Urban Seafood and Bar will open at the old Tasty Dumpling House space shortly. Type 47 has already been approved which means Main Street will get yet another full bar with hard liquor (I can’t believe I’m actually complaining about this). Yup, this spot is only 0.5 mile away from Big Catch Seafood, a part of M2K’s seafood efforts which also includes EMC — ugh, so gross by the way. How will they even begin to make back their hard liquor license they purchased when there are three (or more) type 47 liquor licensed restaurants within half a mile? 621 W Main

scala alhambra

Alhambra: Scala Stonegrill, a Chinese -owned “Japanese” beef and seafood BBQ restaurant, is set to open this year? Maybe? The restaurant received a batch of stones from Australia last month and is currently hiring. 1411 Garfield #104

sanpangzi rice kitchen alhambra

Alhambra: Sanpangzi is goners after about 7 months. It’d just installed actual signage less than 6 weeks ago. It’s too bad this malatang — apparently all the rage in Sichuan last year — joint took so darn long to open (kinda like Cook’s Tortas) and the spicy Sichuan casserole never caught on (unlike Cook’s Tortas). 1402 W Valley Blvd.

pho orchid alhambra

Alhambra: New Noodle Guy has died and Pho Orchid is the new guy. By the way, that’s 7 Alhambra listings in Feb. Last month was all about San Gabriel, this month is all about Alhambra. Next month, when Ba Shu Feng and Lameizi #2 open, it’ll be all about Sichuan in San Gabriel, again. 1411 S. GARFIELD AVE 104

Pasadena: Ding’s Garden opening it’s sixth? Eighth? Bajillionth? outlet in Pasadena, across the PCC, at a building that used to be a book store, next to a Korean owned taco shop that’s supposedly turning into a ramen shop?  Ding’s Garden and Tasty Noodle House are currently in a heated battle for Chinese carb supremacy in LA. I like Ding’s Garden, a lot, thought it’s understandable Tasty Noodle House, with its Beverly Grove location, is making Westside wannabe Chinese food lovers wet themselves. h/t wandering chopsticks. 1535 E Colorado


lai's ramen monterey park

Monterey Park: Lai’s Taiwanese ramen opened in the Southern edge of the city in November. This was really curious as ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of la mian, and Taiwan is well known for beef noodles soups, a beef “ramen”, if you will, but Lai’s decided to name itself a “ramen” shop instead la mian / noodle soup. Often in Japan, ramen shops self-advertise as “Chinese” noodle restaurants. See signage at Kotyo’s Shinpuku Saitan, one of the originators of the Kyoto-style ramen. Ramen is Chinese food:

Shinpuku Saitan Kyoto


Anyway, I haven’t tried this place yet because a member of the family was obsessed with the Chinese “ramen” at MF Noodles, which, by the way, was really tremendous, possibly the “b”est ramen in all of WSGV while it existed. Now that MF Noodles is closed, we would’ve switched noodle shops except Lai’s Taiwanese ramen has flipped to Ruihua Pho after only 2 months. I don’t even know what’s going on any more. MF Noodles took forever to open, and lasted all of 5 months; Lai’s was flipped in less than 3 months. Lai’s signature dishes, per above, were Taiwanese “ramen” and soy milk. WHAT. IN. THE. ACTUAL. F**K?

See what I did there? Tied together the opening and closing of 2 Monterey Park noodle shops? Both owned by Chinese! Anyone? Hello? 2099 S Atlantic Blvd Ste A

tasty dining el monte

El Monte: the second Tasty Dining, which opened in the El Monte Holiday Inn in November, is running a peculiar promotion. Spend $300 on your dining bill and receive 1-night free stay at the Holiday Inn. I’m assuming because there is karaoke services and beer and wine, Tasty Dining is expecting some niubi groups to host a Chinese New Year party so ridiculous the partygoers all end up beyond drunk therefore opting to sleep upstairs in the Holiday Inn. Or something. Also, do you earn IHG points when you get that free room? If you spend $600 do you get 2 rooms or 2 nights? This is cray, I hope someone redeems this offer and reports back. 9920 Valley Blvd

Sichuan Invasion of SGV Continues: Wu Ming, Kungfu Chef Opens, Ah May Gone, Xiang is New and Big, Ba Shu Feng Will Be Fancy.

There have been a ridiculous amount of restaurant openings and closings in SGV since December:

xiang cuisine monterey park

Monterey Park: Xiang’s Cuisine opened last week in a massive 5000-sqft space across the hallway from Ocean Star seafood. This is a Hunanese restaurant that specializes in all things spicy and does not seem to be a homegrown Chinese brand. G’luck with that giant space, folks. 141 N Atlantic

kungfu chef san gabriel

San Gabriel: While in Chengdu, some folks who dabble in the restaurant industry kept telling me Sichuan enterprises (especially Chengdu brands) will continue to aggressively open restaurants in LA despite the slowdown in the EB5 spigot. And they weren’t joking. Let’s start with “Kungfu Chef”, which grand opened on Jan 24, and is a franchise of the Sichuan brand apparently considered “Top 20 Sichuan specialty foods”. The “specialty” referenced here is charcoal fired dry pot, which obviously isn’t happening at this small space, but there are a well sorted list of known Sichuan dishes. A rather unremarkable Thai restaurant used to be here, and now the plaza is finally 100% Chinese. 227 W Valley Blvd 108B. Two more Chengdu brands follow below:

wu ming hot pot san gabriel

San Gabriel: Wu Ming hot pot, yet another rather massive Chengdu hot pot chain with 100+ branches, opened its first US outlet this month after 15 years of developing its domestic brand. Look for decor that rivals Meizhou Dongpo, and tableware that competes with Haidilao for fancifulness. The restaurant group is apparently rather proud of its LA development, which was in the works since last summer. Do not forget your Alipay account as this is not hotpot for the thrifty: expect about a $40+ per person spend level . 529 W Valley #168.

sheraton san gabriel

San Gabriel: Sheraton is open(!!!) which means the 2 associated restaurants should be open as well. EST steakhouse is indeed open, but Ba Shu Feng, another Sichuan restaurant juggernaut, is set to open shortly. The Chinese tuhao will be very glad they finally have a SPG category-5 (though priced more like a 4) to stay at with their U.S. mistress instead of the old “shithole” of a Hilton in San Gabriel. This will be the nicest of the 4 new hotels to open up in San Gabriel and Monterey Park in the next couple of years. Next up: the race between Monterey Park’s Courtyard by Marriot and San Gabriel’s Hyatt Place is on, with Hyatt Place a couple of floors taller right now. 303 W Valley

ba shu feng san gabriel

Of note, there was a Sichuan restaurant in San Jose that the Chinese characters for Ba Shu Feng as its Chinese name, but changed names recently (probably after they got a cease and desist?). Szechuan Chili is in no way related to the upcoming OG Ba Shu feng in San Gabriel, which looks to be of flagship-store quality based on the rendering. The official opening date has yet to be announced, but hotel clerk has given the time to be “about two more months”, thereby missing the crucial Chinese New  Year banquet bookings.

lao tie alhambra

Alhambra: Yu Ming is no more. Lao Tie, per its Chinese want ad, is a “music, beer” pub that specializes in shaokao, aka meats on a stick. The soft opening was last week, and the restaurant is offering 15% off until end of February through dealmoon. This opening is important because the beer license has been in place since Cha Cha Chili opened, and Cha Cha has always ordered somewhat interesting kegs. i.e. Lao Tie is the ONLY Chinese shaokao joint serving Stone IPA and other non-INBEV beers. Chinese beer heads rejoice! 640 W Valley Blvd Ste A

ah may RIP rosemead

Rosemead: Ah May was sold as well and the closure hit me pretty hard. Next up: yet another nondescript Vietnamese restaurant. This is really tragic, by the way, as the Burmese scene really struggled to stay relevant in 2017. The food was bordering on great, and was an important injection to the WSGV culinary scene. I regret not giving it the coverage it needed. Sorry Ah May. For those looking for OG Burmese food, you still have Yoma in Monterey Park, the El Monte place, and the backyard place in WSGV.  8526 W Valley #106, Rosemead

Alhambra: Honey Badger Noodles has been rebranded into California Hot Pot. Alhambra planning commission really needs to get its shit together. This is only 3 blocks away from Earth Kitchen which is struggling to gain traction despite being a great concept. Honey Badger Noodles opened well with “artisanal” house made noodles swimming in thoughtful, Asiany stock that wasn’t swamped with MSG. But last year, it deteriorated into a hot mess with sloppy noodles, bland stock and slow service. 555 West Main Street, #A


new century lobster rosemead

Rosemead: Chiu-Chau-y Newport Seafood/Boston Lobster knock off New Century Lobster has replaced the once lauded Shaanxi Gourmet. This is the plaza helmed by Tip Top Vietnamese sandwich up front. Those looking for killer hand made noodles along the 10 freeway can switch straight to China Tasty next to the bowling alley. 8518 Valley

San Gabriel: Amour shuttered last year and now a “Legendary KBBQ” restaurant is taking over. 250 W Valley

new happy family monterey park

Monterey Park: Happy Family apparently has a new owner. Reopening date was listed as 1/20. 171 S Atlantic

Of note: A Korean restaurant opened in Chinatown last week. Mr. Chang is really smart and has been pandering to those LA folks in love with NYC star chefs. #SoLA.

Hot Red Bus Closes, Budda Belly Plops, More Beer at Ohana Brewing! No1 Charcoal Moves, Gi Gi isn’t a star, MPK Gets First Gastropub! Etc. Etc.

So many restaurant openings, so little time.

Alhambra: Hot Red Bus suddenly announced closure on Oct 6 via Facebook. You will be missed, I know ownership was trying to grow their family and sadly, the somewhat tragic Baja Fish Taco (of Alhambra) has apparently bought out the business. It makes sense as the fryers and grease pit is already in place, as is the hard-to-come beer license in Alhambra. Me? I’ll stick to East LA fish tacos. 31 E Main St

Brew Kitchen Bar

Monterey Park: Brew Kitchen Bar soft opened October 18 (even though the picture was taken way too long ago and shows “Coming Soon”). This looks to be a hometown effort as all the partners on the ABC (Beer and Wine only; it’s darn difficult to get a new hard liquor license in Monterey Park these days.)  are Cantonese/Chiu-Chow. MPK desperately needed a pub where fams can gather, where there is working A/C (I’m looking at you Ravello), where there are good drinks (And I’m looking at you Venice Room). Just be weary of all the cops trolling Garfield Ave as well as the 60 on-ramps. There have been many time periods where there were frequent sobriety checks in the immediate vacinity. 2328 S. GARFIELD AVE. UNIT A

Alhambra: Ohana Brewing‘s Andrew Luthi confirmed on Oct 22 that the tasting room is finally allowed to pour “full pours”. No more little ketchup cup sized “tasters” before you buy a growler fill. The tasting room is still not allowed to have seating per the ABC, but Luthi has renovated and the space will be more conducive to friendly gatherings. I am very, very, VERY excited about this. 7 S 1st St

Alhambra: Budda Belly opened last week, taking over the defunct Dip’s Grill. The food look… perturbing. Apparently the asking price for Dip’s Grill was 250K. G’luck to the new tenants, I hope they didn’t actually pay a quarter mil just to take over a failed restaurant. 39 W Main St

No 1 Charcoal BBQ Monterey Park

Monterey Park: Charcoal No 1 has relocated to Chandler. This is the same ownership team as the old restaurant on Garfield which spent over a year waiting on its beer license. 112 N Chandler

Monterey Park: Fang Wei BBQ has been sold. 133 W Garey

Gi Gi Monterey Park

Monterey Park: Gi Gi, a Taiwanese “tea house” with nary a boba milk tea menu, opened early in October. The Yelp reviews are sucking, and for a good reason. An early visit yielded one of the worst restaurant meals in SGV of ’17. G’luck to these folks as well. The location already has bad jiu jiu and the food along with horrific service isn’t help. 122 W Garvey

White Prawn Alhambra

Alhambra: White Prawn took over a dying hot potting place. It is also a hot potting place. Even though the namesake is a sea creature, this place actually serves spicy meat hot pots. It was crazy how long the old place lasted; this one is on instant death watch, as is the other “new” potting on Valley next to 101 Noodle Express. 46 W Valley

Lameizi San Gabriel

San Gabriel: Lameizi, yet another Sichuan style hot pot place, is taking over the failed Chengdu Pot. The first Lameizi (read: hot chick) opened in Rowland Heights. SGV is a hot potting town, through and through. There are simply more hot pot – type (including dry pot, including mao cao) restaurant being opened and flipped and reopend than any other cuisine. 1530 S San Gabriel Blv

Taiwan Sausage Bae is shuttering; Ding’s Garden Returns to Valley Blvd, Taiwan Rock is a pink food truck, LAB88 is SGV’s first Asian gastropub, Younique is Done,

So many SGV restaurants, so little time:

Taiwan Rock 1 Taiwan Rock 2

Monterey Park: Taiwan Rock recently started parking in front of Ralphs, joining the likes of Kembo Food Truck and other Mexican, as well as Chinese, food trucks. This one is painted bright pink and features a well-hung LCD menu with rotating items and sadly, it’s mostly focusing on fusiony kitschy dishes such as Taiwanese grilled chicken burritos and Taiwanese sausage tacos. Let’s hope to more items like the Chiayi chicken rice. 330 N Atlantic

longo seafood rosemead

Rosemead: Longo Seafood Restaurant has opened at 7540 Garvey Ave. Typically, I ignore 7540 Garvey just because in the last 10 year it has been: Sun City, Crown Palace, King Palace, New Sunshine, ad nausea. However, the name warrants a mention simply due to its perfect match to Longo Toyota, where 90% (#fakenews) of all WSGV population purchase their first car. The Cantonese seafood joint also imported their own furniture from Guangdong province, so it’s safe to say the food should be relatively authentic.

Com Tam Kieu Rosemead

Rosemead: Com Tam Kieu grand opened September 27, not sure how exactly it is related to Ninh Kieu down the street, but the Com Tam Kieu on San Gabriel Blvd is spelled exactly the same way, and the registering agent of the restaurant name is located at the first Com Tam Kieu on San Gabriel Blvd In addition to the large plate of broken rice topped with Vietnamese grilled protein, there are also grilled fish cha ca and noodles. Even better, looks like family decided to apply for beer and wine license! Com Tam Kieu is located at the old Pho Bang, which took over Pho 54 which no longer has an LA county outlet.  8450 E Valley Blvd #111/112


Rowland Heights: TWSB is shutting down after this week. This purely Taiwanese food truck was so legit for 9 months, but cited staffing trouble as the reason for closure. Not sure how many other Taiwanese joints are using imported Taiwanese sweet and spicy sauce, but, we will miss you lots Taiwan Sausage Bae. Ownership is currently looking to sell the business. If I had any time at all, I’d be buying this truck and parking it right in front of bad Korean-owned noodle places in Ktown, like that pathetic place serving up doctored instant ramen.

San Gabriel: (way late on the reporting but…) Ding’s Garden opens a whopping 5th branch, surpassing 101 Express as the most successful Shanghainesey joint from Los Angeles, this is right after . The food tastes basically just like Rowland Heights, and the beef roll is way better than Earthen’s. In fact, it’s probably one the best version around in this stretch of Valley Blvd now that Flavor Garden has gone down hill. It’s certainly better than the hot mess served at 101 Express. 400 E Valley Blvd

lab88 el monte

El Monte: LAB88 has taken over the Vounge and has completely transformed the interior as well as the menu of the previous lounge (Vounge). It now resembles a Ktown Asian fusion pub with soju cocktails and a daily happy hour from 6-8pm, grand opening was Sept 8, but it looks like ownership didn’t actually change? 10602 Lower Azusa Rd

hometown Cafe Monterey Park

Monterey Park: Hometown Cafe replaces Younique. Nothing to see here folks. Literally just another flip of a Cantonese Western-style cafe, except it isn’t! The menu added a ton of Sichuan dishes, and it’s really now a Sichuan restaurant that’s serving impostered Cantonese food. Don’t forget the free underground parking. 220 W Garvey

healthy kitchen East LA

East LA: No 1 Noodle House has been replaced by No. 1 Healthy Kitchen. Despite multiple peeks inside, it is still impossible to determine what exactly is being served; it seems the menu is soup/pot based. No 1 Noodle didn’t last 6 months which it makes it the shortest restaurant survivor of 2017 so far. 5161 Pomona Blvd, East LA

Spicy hot pot craving well satisfied! Now you can find authentic Chinese hotspot in Ktown – SinoPot???? Grand open this Saturday! #fighton #uscproud #nom

A post shared by Jing Chiu (@ijingchiu) on

And an out of town zinger: Sinopot, a crazy looking Chinese hot potting place, grand opened in Ktown on September 27. Ktown never had a legit hot pot place (short of faux/bad Koreanized-Japanese shabu shabu), so this one is a game changer of sorts. Also, Sinopot is an important place because it shares the word prefix with this very blog site. 3785 Wilshire Blvd.

Noods on noods! Give these Spicy Noodles a try tonight! ????

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One more out of town zinger: Paper Lantern Dumpling just brought Mama Lu’s xiao long bao to Irvine. Eat the dumplings, stay for the ‘gram. To get the most of the SGV heritage (Mama Lu’s son), order all the dumplings before thinking about anything else. Some say dumplings “go with Coke”, others much prefer chrysanthemum tea.  2730 Alton Pkwy Suite 101, Irvine

Pho LTK/Yummy BBQ 2/Bomb Chicken/Nothingness Opens, Pistachio Kitchen/Phong Dinh closes, MORE!

So many SGV restaurants, so little time …

Pho LTK, Monterey Park

Monterey Park: Pho LTK has re-opened its Monterey Park branch at the site of the still newish Pistachio Kitchen. After being completely wiped out by a fire last December, Pho Ly Thuong Kiet first opened up in San Gabriel, but eventually found itself way back to Monterey Park. The new digs are far nicer than the old Monterey Park location, and the menu seems rather similar. Currently, the beef pho is on sale at 15% off. (h/t Wandering Chopsticks580 E Garvey Ave

Ludingji Noodles Alhambra

San Gabriel: Ludingji Noodles, which definitely is NOT related to Ludjingji duck house of Beijing, has quietly taken over the Lu Gi (equally unrelated to LDJ) hot pots. The brand, which is supposedly representative of Yunnan province, actually has an HQ in Inner Mongolia. The noodle breed here are actually not called “mian” in Chinese, but ‘rice threads”. Do not expect girthy nor wide sheets of noodles here. Also do not cheap and quick sub-$10 noodles ala pho. These crockpots rice sticks are more multi-ingredient one pot meals. 539 W Valley

Noodle Street 108. Monterey Park

Monterey Park: Noodle Street 108 has opened at the GW / SF Plaza. No idea what style of noodles its serving as there was no menu yet. 421 N Atlantic Blvd #108

Bomb Chicken, Monterey Park

Monterey Park: Bomb Chicken has opened. This is the second Korean fried chicken joint to open in Monterey Park in a month, but it seems actually Korean owned. It takes over a sushi joint (Tomo Sushi) helmed by a chef who apparently lived all the way in Studio City. Previous to that it was a Thai-Chinese donut shop. In the mornings, there are STILL seniors who camp out at the tables despite the lack of coffee and donuts. 2300 S Garfield #A

Nothingness Huo La La San Gabriel

San Gabriel: Nothingness Restaurant, the English name of the “new” Huo La La, which has no financial ties with the “old” Huo La La (which is somehow still has shuttered) has opened at the location of the old Peking Restaurant. I’ve never been a fan of the cooking at the original Huo La La, which took over one of the Chung Kings that Mr. Gold loved so much a decade ago. 288 S San Gabriel

yummy bbq 2, monterey park

Monterey Park: Yummy BBQ 2 is the Chinese BBQ shop taking over the old Har Lam Kee noodle space. This is Yummy BBQ’s second branch, and yes, it’s a skewers shop. 169 W Garvey #A (one of the most auspicious addresses in all of Monterey Park).

Monterey Park: Papparich has closed. It’s easy to blame this on an overpriced build-out and an equally overpriced lease.

Hot Pen Jing, San Gabriel

Alhambra: China Pot King has been replaced by Hot Pen Jing. Yes it is another “Dual Flavor” Sichuan hot potting joint. 1558 N New Ave

San Gabrel: Phong Dinh, the Vietnamese exotic meats and baked catfish restaurant, is gone. It was doing great until it moved to the new location… Cest la vie. (h/t Wandering Chopsticks107 E Valley.

Running Chicks / MF Noodles / Northern Chinese Cuisine Opens in SGV, Hulun Beir Opens in Old Town Pas, and More

Housekeeping: had to switch site host last month due to… finances, which lead to extreme laziness, hence no updates all of July and most of August. At least the site is now much speedier, so here we go again:

Running Chicks Monterey Park

Monterey Park: Running Chick is open. Yelp reviews aren’t too keen, but the wings here are enjoyable, especially because they’re still offering free delivery over $15, all the way to 11 PM. This works really well for some people; usually the drunks.

San Gabriel: Ludingji Noodles has replaced the rather foul Lu Gi hot pot. The house made noodles here are reflecting the current uprating of noodle houses all over SGV. Look for $10 bowls of fen in various varietals. I’m skipping this one. This closure marks 2 non-Sichuan hot pot restaurant’s death in about as many months. Do not worry though, because more are coming. 539 W Valley Blvd

MF Noodles(photo pulled off Yelp)

Monterey Park: M F Noodles made a quick swicheroo and is now serving a Taiwanesey noodle and Japanesey (is this racist? Sorta?) curry katsu and ramen. This space, probably due to seriously crappy parking, has become rather unlucky after the death of Pearl’s. Godspeed to the fusiony menu that reminds me of Japanese occupation of Taiwan. Also, does MF stand for MotherFucking Noodles? Surely it must.

Northern Cuisine Cuisine San Gabriel

San Gabriel: Northern Chinese Cuisine, not to be confused with “Northern Chinese Restaurant” down the street, nor “Northern Cafe” in Monterey Park, nor “Northern Cusine” in Industry, has opened upstairs at Focus Plaza. It replaces Happy Tasty, one of the few Wuhan specific cuisines in all of SGV. The handful of Wuhan locals seem upset, but the new restaurant is serving up some rather well executed NE Chinese food. Thumbs up to the food, but not the usual garbage parking. 140 W Valley Blvd #209

Pho Ga District

Rosemade: Trung Nguyen is dead. You never ate there anyway, cause it was too hard to pronounce. Good thing the new replacement, “Pho Ga District” is about as white as a chicken noodle soup place gets without being Jewish. I haven’t been, but it’s probably only as good as Pho Ngoon 3119 N San Gabriel.

Clay POQ

(pics by dealmoon)

Rowland Heights: an interesting fusiony potting restaurant has opened. Clay Poq focuses on a dish that’s a cross between Boiling Pot and Tasty Dining — yes I did just link to a white guy reviewing Chinese food. 1745 Fullerton Rd

A mini bus serving Hot Star giant fried chicken patties on Atlantic. There's always been one or two food trucks along here in front of the Ralph's but now there are five of them, all run by Chinese immigrants. liang pi, rou jia mo, kim bap, spiral potatoes, skewers, etc

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Monterey Park / Downtown: LAT reporter Frank Shyong and I both noticed on the same day that Hot Star, the Taiwanese giant fried cicken cutlet chain, has gotten itself a school bus. Some days it’s parked along Kembo on Atlantic, just outside of Ralph’s. That said, there are also a fish taco truck, and a al pastor truck, neither operated by Chinese. Maybe they just weren’t there when Shyong visited.

Come and give yourself a taste oh heaven ???? #Hulunbeir ????55 w green st, Pasadena

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Pasadena: Old Town Pas is somehow attracting a very odd mix of Chinese restaurant. Hulun Beir, apparently a Mainland Chinese Mongolian-style hotpot chain, just opened. Its first outlet was in the Boston area, and instead of going anywhere with significantly Chinese population, it chose Old Town, and it chose to be on the same block as the well known Boiling Point. 55 W Green St

This is a shortened post, as there are still about a handful of other note-worthy openings/closures. Will hopefully post them up next week.

Montebello gets Ground Up Coffee, Seafood Village Roars Back after Fire, Earth Hot Pot is Cool, El Monte has a Mad Chicken

So many restaurants, so little time. Actually, I take that back. The last month and a half has been REALLY slow, IMNSHO.

Ground Up Coffee Montebello

Ground Up Coffee Montebello

Montebello: Ground Up Coffee has opened just south of J&S. They have a SHINY La Marzocco Linea that looks brand spanking new. Sadly, they’re starting their ‘spro program with LA Mill, which obvs I distain, but they’re also in a partnership with a neighborhood roaster who’s roasting their custom orders. These guys are both local, graduated from Schurr, one of the gents was apparently at posh hotel? Anywho, lovely lovely effort by folks from the SGV. Locals have bemoaned the lack of decent coffee — Ground Up has nitro cold brew on tap — since de Cafe baristas closed, so this shop fills a nice little niche. This place is open by 6AM and there’s parking in the rear! 871 N Garfield Ave.

Cafe Floret San Gabriel

San Gabriel: Cafe Floret has opened taken over Regent Coffee. This is a combo flower shop slash coffee shop. It’s even cuter than Regent Coffee, but do NOT expect them to open early for coffee if you’re an actual working stiff who lives nearby. 1841 S. San Gabriel

San Gabriel: Brother’s Chinese Food, unrelated to Brother’s BBQ in Ktown, has been intermittently parked in front of Good Fortune Supermarket. It’s a food truck/trailer with Chinese BBQ and some snacky Mainland inspired noodle bites. The trailer is run by 兄弟 ,  brothers, but not really brothers and they seem to stop serving pretty early in the evening. 137 S San Gabriel

Seafood Palace Monterey Park

Monterey Park: the beloved, burnt down New Seafood Village Seafood Palace is finally back online after a few months of remodeling work. Yay. That said, why bother eating MSG-drenched seafood at any of the Boston/LA/Newport/Maine/Saigon Seafood Cantonese shops when you can have this mf’er at Hip Hot Restaurant just up the street? 684 Garvey.

Bao Kitchen Monterey Park

San Gabriel and Monterey Park: SGV is getting more and more Chinese food trucks. Real Chinese food trucks, run by non-ABCs. Bao Kitchen failed, it was flipped to Formosa Taste, which used to park at Kembo’s space. Now that Kembo’s back, Formosa Taste has been flipped into Shaanxi food truck. Yes, LA has a friggin Shaanxi food truck, replete with liangpi, meat burger, and other snacks. 226 N Atlantic Blvd

Earth Kitchen Alhambra

Alhambra: Earth Kitchen, now open, and is pretty awesome. But people hate it, especially the ABCs who don’t know WTF is going on. Earth Kitchen is kinda also doing it to themselves by calling mao cai “hot pot”. The local Canto population gets “hot pot”, they don’t get “mao cai” because they ‘ve never been to Mainland China outside of Guangdong province. There’s no burning  fire ala Boiling Point and people get pissed off. I, for one, think it’s a great concept, except they really need to deepen the soup with stock, not just chicken bouillon powder. 235 W Main

Monterey Park: MPK Sushi has closed. ABC license is still active, and there’s no telltale sign of a restaurant sales yet. Very odd.  2000 S Atlantic Blvd.

Monterey Park: Tomo Sushi has closed.  It didn’t last a year. Sushi joint deaths isn’t a trend yet, but we’re just waiting for Taihei to bid adieu. In the mornings, there are still grandpas sitting outside the benches even though the donut shop has been gone for over a year. 2300 S Garfield

Monterey Park: Xinjiang BBQ has opened at that corner space in the same plaza as Dean Sin World. I do not even GAF enough to stop by for a photo cause the corner is completely curses. I mean, it’s another Chinese skewers place, which seems to have decent ingredients, but.. NO BEER. Just die already. 306 N Garfield.

Mad Chick El Monte

El Monte: There’s a chicken and rice “concept” inside a bakery. It’s called “Mad Chick“, and it’s all sorts of random. 11850 Valley

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