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

Our Times Cafe brings more Taiwanese; Sichuan Kungfu is Real; Ramen Ichiraku takes over SST; Kingfu opens in Arcadia, MOAR

So many restaurant openings, so little time…

our times cafe Alhambra

1)Alhambra: Our Times Cafe has taken over Saladfarm. The swift switch brings a quaint, brick-walled Taiwanese inflected cafe to the middle of Main St, but away from the hubbub or the movie theatre corners. 301 W Main St

sichuan kungfu fish

2) Arcadia: Sichuan Kungfu Fish, a Sichuan pan roast spicy seafood joint, is opening its first LA restaurant at the Arcadia Mall soon. The first North America outlet was in the Toronto suburbs, the most famous outlet of this huan-style restauarnt seems to be in Shanghai. There are already several pan roast fish potting places in town, but this one’s got the punny Chinese name and the Chinese monies. 400 S Baldwin Ave

Taco TUESDAY ‼️.99¢‼️Taco TUESDAY .99¢/Bigger Tacos/Fish Tacos .99¢ is BACK For a Limited Time⌛️⏰⏱ Taco Hunting is ON…Join the Race ????‍♀️???‍♀️????‍♀️????‍♀️???‍♀️????‍♀️?? Avoid Lines Phone?Orders Welcome 323-264-8233 Fish Taco Express 5144 E. Beverly Blvd, East Los Angeles, CA 90022. Lo Bueno, Se Vende Aparte! ??????????????? Esquisitamente "Fish Taco Express". ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️ Los Mejores En Este Lado De La Frontera. ??????????????? The Good Stuff, Is Sold Separately! ⛵️⛵️⛵️⛵️⛵️⛵️⛵️⛵️⛵️⛵️⛵️⛵️⛵️⛵️⛵️ Exquisitely "Fish Taco Express". ???????????????The Best On This Side Of The Boarder. ??????????In Front of Ralph's 330 N Atlantic Blvd Monterey Park, CA 91754 Emerson & Garvey 4pm-11pm

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3)Monterey Park: (sorry for the emoji train in that IG link) East LA’s popular Fish Taco Express is now operating a taco truck, parked by Kembo Foods. As of now, operations is sporadic, so follow them on facebook or IG. Ralphs Monterey Park

4) Rowland Heights: Beijing Tasty House opened a trendy new second branch a couple of months back, and the duck 2-way is priced at a very reasonable $46. The Eastern SGV locals have been very supportive of the restaurant’s march towards East. This location has long hosted various Taiwanese cafes, but it looks like the fu-er-dai rolling into Diamond Plaza in their Aventadors have finally found a new place they enjoy. 1380 Fullerton Ste #105

ramen ichiraku

5) El Monte: Hacienda Heights’ popular ramen restaurant San Sui Tei could not make it a go in El Monte for even a year. It has been taken over by Ramen Ichiraku. The theme is.. Naruto? Menu remains largely the same. 10343 Garvey Ave

im roi

6) Montebello: Im Aroi takes over Nawa and the new owners have breathed new life into the old space with a new, more diverse (and dare I say: more authentic) menu. Perhaps someone can do the same to the intensely gross Canton Cafe down the street. 525 N Garfield

7) West Covina: Now this is a bit crazy. West Covina received it’s first Ktown style pochangmacha in the form of Ajumma. There’s spicy fried chicken (comes with gloves and there’s also loaded bulgogi fries. This is in the strip mall behind the Edwards movie theatre. 360 S Glendora Ave St #3

spicy charm

8) San Gabriel: Spicy Charm is back open after a quick redo. I literally have no idea what’s going on here since they weren’t closed down by the health department, and there was no actual “remodeling”. That said, they have a coupon on Dealmoon, and the user feedback has been absolutely brutal.

9) Azusa: Bon Appetea, the cute little Taiwanesey tea house in Downtown Alhambra, has opened a full blown sit-down in Azusa of all places. The place is called Cafe Bungalow by Bon Appetea. 992 E Alosta

Ritter’s Opens, Round 3 Pho is Amazing, DIY “Fresh” Hot Pot hits Alhambra, MORE

So many restaurant openings so little time…

1) Ritter’s SKC, originally planned to open Dec 2015, opened last week and has been mobbed. That is all. 1800 W Valley Blvd

No 1 LA BBQ Monterey Park

2) I am LOVING No 1. LA BBQ, which apparently is NOT the same as NO 1 Charcoal BBQ (also in Monterey Park) and is open not opened by the team who owned No  1. Noodle House (below). They’re running a free beer special right now — I have no idea what the minimum is — and they’re doing lamb kidney which is freaking delicious.

No 1 LA BBQ Monterey Park

There are gribenes skewers, but it’s poached, then grilled, so it’s not just “crispy”, and there’s a crazy delicious fried stink tofu with sesame paste which pairs so so well with Budweiser (which is offered at buy-2-get-1 $10 pitcher). Expect a really rowdy atmosphere full of drunks of both sexes and all ages. 429 W Garvey Ave 

Round 3 Pho, Rowland Heights

Round 3 Pho, Rowland Heights

3) Round 3 Pho shop opened up in Feb in Rowland Heights, which is really far and so no one who reads English, or sees this on fb will ever visit, but man, this place, from the family (son & daughter?) of the Pho Ly family is blowing my damned mind:

Ga&bo tenderloin pho combo with all 3 Hainan chicken rice sauces??!?!? Who's the genius behind this? ~Month old pho ga shop from the fam of Pho Ly Thuong Kiet. #海南雞粉. #sgvlife

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Pho bowls here start at $10, and are massive. And it’s like the Vietnamese found the Chinese (through dating, or whatever) and merged 2 of the single best “one-dish” foods of the 2 culture: Hainan chicken rice, and pho made with American filet mignon. 1738 1/4 Nogales St

Earth Kitchen Alhambra

4) Alhambra: Earth Kitchen is in the middle of construction and should be opening shortly. These guys STOLE MY IDEA: build your own hot pot. 235 W Main St Unit B

No 1 Noodle House East LA

5) No 1 Noodle House has opened in… East Los Angeles of all places. What the hell? Did the Chinese student attendance increase that much at East LA College? Are the Chinese owners thinking the Mexicans looking fish tacos next door will mistakenly walk into a place that sells Xi’an shredded potatoes? Of note: stick to the knife shaven noodles here despite the “hand stretched” noodle sheets attractiveness.  5161 Pomona Blvd

phat birdz East LA

6) Speaking of East LA, a new artisanal fried chicken shack is coming to a wooden shack across King Taco. The new fried chicken is called “Phat Birds” but the original sign is still showing Kickazz Wings, which was suppose to open in 2015. Phat Birds has been hosting multi-course pop-ups through Feastly but the cost may be prohibitive high to some (at $35/pp+); per restaurant IG, opening should be coming shortly. 4701 E 3rd St

Spicy Charm San Gabriel

Closure sign:

Spicy Charm San Gabriel

7) San Gabriel: Spicy Charm opened early March and immediately closed March 16, probably due to health department violations. This literally marks the quickest opening and closing of an SGV restaurant in the last decade. The restaurant seems to be serving shareable Sichuan dry / hot pots ala H.O.T. Spicy Kitchen because, well, “Sichuan” “hot pot”. 529 E Valley Blvd 138-B

8) Monterey Park got a new churros truck parked in front of (North) Ralphs Supermarket, just south of Atlantic Square. The truck is named Ridges, and the focus is on topping churros. This truck seems OC food scene inspired; I have no idea what that means. h/t Wandering chopstick.

Chi Cali Monterey Park

9) Monterey Park: the local Best Western (just north of 60 freeway, close to the new massive Monterey Par Market) has a new Mexi-American sports bar. For those in the South of the city, this means no driving to Mr. and Mrs. Wings. Chi-Cali has a huge new banner announcing new happy hours as well. 434 Potrero Grande Dr

10) Alhambra: previously reported Baja Cali Tacos opened last week and the natives have gone ape for the fish tacos. 2001 W Valley Blvd

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:

taiwan sausage bei1) 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.

taiwan sausage bei pork rice

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

Ritter's Alhambra

2) Alhambra: Per the chef, Ritters SKC is targeting a Mid-March opening; they are currently still in hiring and training mode.

dong lai shun San Gabriel

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

ah may rosemead

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

northern cuisine hacienda heights

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

Para empezar ??se está poniendo bueno el asunto

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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

baja cali alhambra

7) Alhambra: Baja Cali Fish & Tacos gets a new gas main, but is waiting for health inspection. SO CLOSE!  2001 W Valley Blvd Alhambra

pho ltk el monte

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

jumping 1 ton baldwin park

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

dickeys alhambra

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.

house of mandarin noodle temple city

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

the poke joint

14) Alhambra: The Poke Joint just opened on Main St on Presidents Day(?)ish. That’s great. 6 W Main, Alhambra

boiling crab 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

Teto Cafe

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

labobatory, San Gabriel

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

Mancora Alhambra

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.

Ritter's Alhambra

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

golden brown chicken

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.

ho kee

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

Drink of choice, Old Fashion. Always. Well that or just shots… @monkeybarla

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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

best noodle house Rosemead

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.

Northern Cafe

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.

A photo posted by TC (@sinosoul) on

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

Hot Star 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:

Two Peck Taipei

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

Yu Ming Alhambra

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

Spicy Crab San Gabriel

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

Golden Brown Chicken

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.

Amour Bistro San Gabriel

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?

Shinano Monterey Park

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

626 Lobster Rosemead

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

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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:

Gold Tea San Gabriel

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

dec 2016 garvey fire

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.



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