Many a packing lists and bills of ladings pass before my desk daily. Not a few of them are from say… China… where there’s apparently some odd conspiracy at the official “Corporate Name Translation” bureau since there’s always a company proclaiming they are the next “New Briliance”.

Last week, 10+ of us found bits of Chinese brilliance on the lazy susan of the rejunevated Lake Spring, taken over back from the previous Jewish owner approx. 3 months ago. Highlights: the 2 pork pumps (pork hock and pork noisettte), Shanghai style string eel, the crunchy taro stir fry (with beer! yes, the ultimate anju: taro chips and BEER!), the garlic scallops, the shrimp 2 way (wait what? the left set of shrimpies had a spinach sauce? how tres chic! is this chef into haute cuisine or what???), etc.

TOTAL miss: tea smoke duck – dry, tough, lacked tea smoke; we totally got upsold and should’ve skipped this order. jiu nian (wine brew). just inedible man… boy did I feel stupid ordering that after pumping up this dish to be my ultimate child hood Saturday mornings. Jiu Nian shouldn’t be thickened with starch. It should be soupy, with fine bits of egg dropped, and only slightly thickened by rice ball stuffed with sesame seed paste, if any. Our rendition was like egg drop soup served up in Lower East Side Manhattan to old Jewish grandmothers. I had to dump in soju to pump up the “brew” part of the “wine brew”. *confused*

Also, t’was extremely weird the first round, which consisted of 6 dishes or so, was so spot-on.

Yet the second round, including the duck and the dessert jiu wine and the completely bland “fish roe sea cucumber” were such failures.

nonetheless, it is clear, at least according to the co-owner/hostess/insert-title-here, Jenny, the new chef has been studying Shanghainese banquet/haute cuisine. the “crabby yellow crystal mix” is actually made of chopped sole whipped with thickened egg drop, resembling crab’s innards, but not quite. the shrimp 2 way had excellent presentation, as well as the steamed pork hock (think slow steam for 8 hours-10 hours, nary a spice, just pure porcine goodness, but way, WAY better than anything coming out of a Filipino deep fryer).

the wok is burning with life at the renewed Lake Spring. after years of downhill alerts on Chowhound, it is time to give this joint a second try.

Lake Spring
219 E Garvey Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91755
(626) 280-3571
Lake Spring Shanghai on Urbanspoon



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  • what camera/lens are you using?

  • TonyC

    cheapo XT, 28mm f2.8. the white balance is a “bit” off 😉

  • Nice pictures. I rarely see Chinese food photographed so well. It makes the food look even better than I remember.

  • Those are some fine pictures you took Tony. Good times!

  • great top picture!

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