As a household without cable, running after The Gorbals or The Farm, while exciting, seems a bit tangential and away from the roots. After covering every top restaurant listed on “Urbanspoon’s” HOT LA list, it’s time to get down with the nitty gritty in the SGV.
Do not be psyched by the name of this restaurant. There’s nothing new about New Chong Qing, even if it’s named “#1” on the biz card. The servers confirmed the original restaurant is Ding Pangzi in the Xiao Mau / ABC Plaza on the NW corner of Garvey and Garfield. For 2 days, I racked my brain trying to remember to which restaurant New Chong Qing is related. Clearly the staff couldn’t have been speaking of Ding Pangzi, but they were. Eschew Ding’s Restaurant that only serves breakfast food, look 2 doors to the right and ask for the menu. Voila, New Chong Qing’s mommy restaurant found!
Grand Opening: 7/23
Despite what the masses are eating, the fish hot pots are not the only worthy items on the menu. Don’t be sheep, dig deeper. Chong Qing is a special provincial city within Sichuan province. Sichuan and Hunan cuisine are making huge inroads in the W. SGV dining scene despite influx of Vietnamese and Teo Chow population.
Eating this stuff if you’re balding. Eat this stuff if you’re suffering menopause. Eat this stuff if you want to bed a hot young Central Mainland Chinese maiden speaking with a thick regional accent. Eat this stuff if bigger boobs are in need. Eat this stuff if you want to induce labor of your 12 lb baby. Feeling plugged up from too many burgers but don’t want to try Master Cleanse? Eat this stuff.
There’s J Gold’s proverbial Chung King, then there’s New Chong Qing that dries their own red chili pepper on top of trash bags in the parking lot. Call this “artisanal” Sichuan if you will. I won’t, cause I shit on the word “artisanal”.
The New Chong Qing makes the best Szechuan cold noodles at the less than $5 price point. There, I said it. BEST. Feel free to slash your wrist with emo urgency now. The spicy and sour cold mung bean noodle is tops. Various peppercorn & herbal flavors pack a wallop, yet the chilled noodles somehow refresh while numbing your oral cavity. It’s a bit of an odd experience, akin to tasting a savory ice cream for the very first time.
New Chong Qing’s style of SZ food harkens the rice loaded cuisine of yesteryore, before the advent of shitastic noodle houses all over SGV. Any moron can boil some chicken for soup base and cook some instant noodles. A proper dragon wok breath for stir fry cooking done at Chong Qing can’t be recreated with the fancy yet simultaneously useless domestic Viking 15,000 BTU burners. Try 170,000 BTU +++ . At these temps, Puff the kitchen dragon spews instant wok breath. This breath smells like peppercorn infused with cayenne peppers, a wiff of which will choke, and tear you up, like a good bout of erotic asphyxiation.
Below are 2 examples from said kitchen: braised fried “ma la” chitlin, Kung Pao Kidney. The “braised” (fried) chitlin from strip mall joint located at the end of a walkway is the finest in the vicinity. It is better than JTYH’s skimpy version, it is more plentiful than Lung Lung’s exemplary rendition.
The menu doesn’t end at the wok fire. The single best dish from any Sichuan restaurant in ’09, including items from Xiang Wei Lou and Hengyan Chili King, is below: Pearl Rice Steamed Pork. Chinese name: feng zheng (rou) [ed: been notified by both Infinite Fress and others – see comment this is NOT short ribs]. In late ’07, Szechuan Best (now Loving Hut) opened on Main Street in Alhambra. They carried a mighty fine pearl (rice) steamed pork over taro. Here at New Chong Qing, good ol Idaho potato is used, but the overall effect is just as pronounced: soft moist pork caressed by fat, not too dry, not too wet, just enough spices, steamed through bamboo basket, with the starch at the bottom soaking up spiced lard. This isn’t your “regular” braised pork belly from Animal. This dish kicks any Animal’s ass.
As Fall finally hits LA, and your stomach lining can no longer treat the capsaicin, come back for the sour fish head hot pot that will instantly warm your digestive and exhaust tracts. And how classy is the decor? The New Chong Qing uses empty IKEA frames as art. This is Art Center
inspired found object “design” right in San Gabriel Valley, without the valet guy.
New Chong Qing
120 N San Gabriel Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91775
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