A bowl of niu rou mian, aka beef noodle soup, aka NRM, arrives promptly. It looks just about perfect. It smells just about perfect. The spices ooze from the slightly muddled soup in the form of pungent molecules and permeates the 4 inches between my nose and the border of the bowl. I have a feeling this is gonna be fantabulus.
OK, so I fib, I know the bowl is going to be just as fantastic as last time.
The cubes of beef are zesty and spicy with nary any fat/tendon/grizzle. Noodles perfectly done (NOT al dente). It is the finest bowl of Taiwanese NRM, better than Pearl’s, better than Mandarin Noodle Deli, better than Kam Hong’s, etc. Granted, the entire enterprise is a wee bit heavy handed in the seasoning, but it’s nothing a pho lover (sans MSG) won’t appreciate.
Then, five plump, nearly translucent, sole fish and chive dumplings arrives. It’s taken a wee bit longer. Why? They don’t wrap it until you order it, just like Jack in the Box. I know of at least 3 dumpling joints doing the WWYO (Wrap When You Order) schtick now: Dean Sin World, Noodle House, and Kingburg. Noodle House’s dumplings and baos are just so bland that every customer ends up dousing the absorbent items with soy sauce. Dean Sin World’s raisen d’ete is the xiao long bao. Go for nothing else. Beyond the sole fish and chive filling, which has been discussed previously, there’s another secret weapon posing as filling. Discover it by yourself as there’s still time to fill a spot in the Top 10 dish of ’08.
Finally, the platter of pork and leek panfried baos lands on the table. Compared to the double-mushroom bao zi we just had the nite before @ Kam Hong, these just taste twice as good. Yes I know there’s MSG. In fact, I know exactly how much MSG goes into the fillings (sher): a few oz’s for 250 dumplings. Do the math. Uptake the MSG thru the filling, or uptake the MSG thru soy sauce, the choice is clear. I rather take the hyper-inflated porcine flavor than soy sauce any day, twice a day. These dark copper roundness of goodness took nearly 20 minutes. They are perfectly oily, perfectly panfried, with just a bit of au jus remaining, but not enough to be mis-categorized as a shue jian bao. (Pardon my pinyin – pinyin is for Communists. I purposely failed pinyin during college).
But wait, we’re not done. Kingburg’s a 3 headed monster, they’ll even do you up a perfectly brewed sour plum drink.
Taiwanese owner + Shandongnese chef = a reason for instant China re-unification.
NB: final reason why I enjoy this joint. KB’s owner knows the Taiwanese folks of NW SGV are fickle bastards, so he created
lovely cheap combos of noodle + 5 dumplings. Why taste only 2, when you can taste 3?
715 W Las Tunas Dr.
San Gabriel, CA 91776
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