Chinese

Chengdu Taste hit #46 on the top 75 best restaurants in LA inside Los Angeles Magazine’s May 2014 issue. That is pretty impressive considering the list doesn’t have many Asian restaurants and none from Alhambra. SGV is officially on the map! Prepare to wait anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour for a table. The Boiling Crab wait times can get a bit boring, but the wait is definitely worth it. We almost gave in to go to some cafe, but out patience was rewarded greatly. Chengdu, China is the capital of Sichuan province in southwest China and is a huge food city. I am happy to know that a little piece of it made it out to Alhambra. Score!

Mung bean noodles are slippery, taste like nothing, and has a consistency of hardened jello. It was the perfect vessel and blanks slate of all things flavor. This seemed to have been a favorite among diners as far as starters go. The house made chili sauce wasn’t as spicy as I thought it would be. Bite on the wrong pepper, and your mouth is in for a real surprise. The mixture of oil, Sichuan peppercorns, chili peppers, and a handful of other ingredients made this such a tasty dish. A little sweet, spicy, and tangy, this was a fiery component that was a little teaser of what was to come.

The cumin lamb is probably the most popular dish at the restaurant, and I could see why. The dish is generously coated in cumin and chili peppers. The lamb was tender to the point of almost the texture of ground meat. Some pieces were slightly fatty which was very unctuous in flavor. Some were saltier than others, and fatty too — not complaining really. It’s just the luck of the draw. These cumin lamb bites were incredible and would probably order them at every visit. I had a pile of toothpicks at the end of it all — a large pile.

The boiled sliced fish in hot sauce was a doozy. Albeit quite salty, this chili on chili molested dish was interesting and honestly delicious. The fish was delicate and quite mild in flavor. The soup/sauce that it swam in was quite the contrary. The heat from this dish is like no other. Hot wings and sauces like Tabasco give a little pinch on the tongue kind of heat. Red sauce from King Taco or green sauce from Mario’s is more of a mouth full of fire. This dish though, was more of a tongue numbing feeling. The sensation was interesting, and at a certain point, I was worried I was reacting to an allergy. The Chinese peppercorns really do a good job in numbing your tongue. It tingles and the feeling leaves you a bit on a high level.

The double cooked pork fried rice was a let down. Not that it didn’t taste good, and not that it was cheap. I just felt like I could make this at home. Honestly, the dishes we ordered would have went well with just plain white rice. This fried rice though, had nice slices of pork belly. I guess it wasn’t all for nothing.

The last dish of boiled vegetables, meats, in a Sichuan style special hot sauce was interesting. It was similar to a Korean budae jjigae that includes almost anything in the fridge and pantry into a pot of soup. This hot pot had duck blood, intestine, stomach, beef, and Spam. I can live with the duck blood, intestine, and stomach, but the sight of the Spam made this feel like home. The intestine had a nice texture but the funk level was higher than usual. The duck blood had a nice soft texture and subtle flavor. I didn’t really like the soup base for this. It didn’t have that kick in the face heat or bold flavor. This would be pretty nice on a cold winter night. It was warm, comforting, and that Spam just hit the spot.

The lines are long, and everyone in the area and maybe beyond want to eat at Chengdu Taste. After my experience here, I can see why. The flavors are powerful and daring. The spice levels are out of this world! I had such a good time dining here.

Chengdu Taste on Urbanspoon

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As someone who fancies authentic Chinese cuisine form the SGV, I don’t know how I ended up here. Maybe it was the intrigue, or the feeling of homesickness. Ultimately, I just wanted something completely different. I really don’t remember the last time I ate Chinese food or even a bowl of noodles in Vegas, if ever even. It’s always burger this or pizza that, and don’t even get me stated on the number of steakhouses. I took a chance on Noodles at the Bellagio, and I was pleasantly surprised. The prices were definitely not SGV cheap — the “Vegas Tax” essay evident. In the end, I was happy for my changing up the system.

After the Raku agedashi experience, I find myself ordering more and more. As an appetizer, and to be somewhat earthy, we decided to order the agedashi tofu. Theirs were fired in little nugget forms. The texture was quite nice. The warm pockets of hot tofu were silky smooth. Dipping it in the light soy sauce blend was all I needed. Nothing beats the agedashi at Raku, but this little appetizer did just fine.

Comfort food for me is either something really fatty and cheesy, like mac and cheese or a nice loaded quesadilla. Otherwise, comfort food comes in soup form. It has to have meat inside of course. The wanton soup at Noodles was surprisingly delicious. The broth was the star. I wasn’t sure if it had MSG in it or not, but the deliciousness of the broth indicates that it indeed did. The broth was warm, umamic (yes, there’s that word again), and quite savory. It wasn’t necessarily salty, but it had a nice quality to it. The wontons were nothing short of spectacular. Fatty and meaty, the shui mai like dumplings gave this soup bowl some substance. Even the noodles had a nice bite to them. This bowl of wantons and noodles was surprisingly the real deal.

We were on a protein frenzy, so we ordered the BBQ pork and duck. This to me was a mistake. The pork was overly sweet and jerky like. Too much crust and not enough actual tender meat made it difficult to enjoy. The duck, though nicely tender was a bit of a miss. It didn’t have that fatty/salty characteristic I’m familiar with duck. It was mild and a bit boring.


We ordered a bowl of congee to go with our meat. The congee itself was good on it own. The bland taste and blank canvas made it go well with everything. This was indeed a comforting bowl. For dessert, we ordered Thai tea. Milky, and somewhat strong, it was enjoyable — nothing worth mentioning further though.

All this Asian food and I started to wonder why we ate here. I mean, I could have this back home in the SGV, and it would be legit — it would be the good stuff. Why did I just spend almost double the amount for something that wouldn’t even hold a candle to the good stuff? Maybe I was feeling a little home sick. Or maybe I just needed to give it a try to see if I can really find SGV in the heart of Vegas. For a second though, I did forget I was even seconds away from the casino floor. That’s gotta count for something. Basically, I went to Vegas to step away from the SGV, and went to Bellagio’s Noodle to step away from Vegas.

Noodles on Urbanspoon

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Like most good restaurants, Din Tai Fung has humble beginnings. In 1958, Bingyi Yang and his wife, workers of a former oil company decided to start their own oil business. After much hardships and trying to make their business grow, they expanded in the 1980s by selling steamed dumplings. Word got out of their delicious dumplings and gained popularity. They soon stopped selling oil and became a full fledged restaurant. Today, Din Tai Fung is an international legend. On March of 2000, they opened up their first Din Tai Fung in California. From then, they opened multiple restaurants around the world, including Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Japan, among others. To me, Din Tai Fung in Arcadia was a place to go for the best Xiao Long Bao — juicy pork dumplings. There always is a wait, unless you get there really early. My wait this time was only about 15 minutes. Score!

First and foremost, we started off with the juicy pork dumplings (XLB). The reason why DTF XLB is superior to others’ is because of the quality and taste. The soup inside is quite perfect. It has the perfect amount of saltiness and pork flavor is unmatched. Not only is the soup good, but the skin does a great job holding everything in. It doesn’t rip or break, and to me, this is the most important factor why the DTF XLB is the best. The worst is when steamed dumplings have a wet bottom due to the steaming process. I love how the ones at DTF are dry all around, yet filled with an amazing soup inside. They are perfect in every way. All other XLB does, and will get compared to the ones at DTF.

We also had to try the shui mai. Being one of my dim sum favorites, I ordered this just to see if it far superior to other shui mai. Also, the presentation with the shrimp on top was spectacular. The flavor was good, and the skin was better than most. After one though, I was already sick of it. I kept finding myself going back to the XLB.

I am an avid fan of beef noodle soup. I wanted to find something that was just as good as the XLB. Though the noodles in the beef noodle soup were good, the broth wasn’t exceptional. It was more oily than it should and the depth of flavor was just not there. My favorite place to get beef noodle soup is still Ding’s Garden in Rowland Heights.

With all this meat, we decided to get a vegetable dish. The green beans were really good, considering they were vegetables. Yuck! All kidding aside, they were snappy, crisp, and tasted really fresh. It wasn’t too oily, and the pure taste of the green beans really shined through.

After our meal, I ordered a taro bun and red bean bun to-go. I did find these quite nice. The mellow flavor of the bun and subtle sweetness of the bean was great. This would have been perfect with a honey green tea from Ten Ren. Of the two though, I think I liked the red bean the best. As a Korean, the red bean just spoke to me more.

Eating at DTF is always a good time. The XLB is a must. Honestly, I do feel at times DTF is a one trick pony. Not to say that their other food items suck, but that the XLB is that superior. Everything is made from scratch and the attention to detail is of most importance. With a rich history and a passion for good food and superior service makes DTF stand out from the rest.

Din Tai Fung ??? Branch 1 on Urbanspoon

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You are hungry, and you don’t have much money, I know. Same here. A trip to Subway seems too blah, and to tell you the truth, that stuff is too healthy. Eating that submarine sandwich, hold the mayo and cheese, one can feel their heart pumping more efficiently. No. You want something fried, deep fried. You want that gold and light crispy battered protein. If its fried, it has to be salty too. It’s a perfect recipe for high blood pressure. Don’t worry though — it’s delicious. Mama’s Lu in Monterey Park is just the place for this stuff. Serving up good Chinese food, fried is the way to go here.

Spicy salt is the best invention ever. Salty and spicy, the salt pepper chicken wings is every man’s dream. Chicken wings, salty, fried is all we really need in our diet. Their batter is crispy and the flavor is just perfect. Though a little chicken fatty, cutting the fat with a little hot sauce does the trick.

Their spicy salt pork chops are just as delicious. Though it was a bit on the salty side, the batter and crisp of the fried exterior is perfect. The meaty pork goodness on the inside was a bit skimp, but that just made room for more fried batter crunch. It is a tough decision to choose between the pork chops and the chicken wings, so ordering both was the correct protocol.

The beef wraps are a Chinese food staple. I guess I should say, the green onion pancake is. With tasty meed inside, this was even better. Filled with cilantro as well, each bite had a lot of flavor. The beef in its sauce was rich, as well as the fried dough wrapping. The cilantro gave it a nice flavor to balance it all out and helped cut the richness.

It isn’t every day I get to eat Xiao Long Bao. I don’t eat is as much as I should. Dumplings wise, I eat more of the pot stickers and Korean Mandoo kind — pan fried mostly. The Xiao Long bao (pork dumplings) was quite juicy — the steaming process helped keep all the juices in. I never been to the legendary Din Tai Fung in Arcadia due to obvious reasons (I hate waiting). I am sure they make dang good XLB. Mama’s Lu was decent, but I guess one thing they can work on is the dough.

Mama’s Lu is one of my favorites in the SGV. Fried everything is the motto, and a little Xiao Long Bao to keep things fresh. There is a wait most nights, and it is cash only — like all great Chinese restaurants. The atmosphere is cleaner and friendlier than most. A lot, if not most of the items are quite inexpensive, which is another plus. I would love to bring my friends and family and just have a complete feast on the cheap. Until DTF’s lines die down, Mama’s Lu will hold me over until then.

Mama's Lu Dumpling House on Urbanspoon

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Where have you been to where the food comes out quickly, and is tastier for that? Never. It is safe to say that the speedier the service, the crappier the food. Dim Sum Express is exactly what it is, and is exactly what you expect. Quick food, which is more convenient than fast, brought to you by a fairly small food stand with a pick up window. The food is alright, nothing great.

Shui mai is what everyone gets for dim sum. Theirs was nothing special, and to tell you the truth, I expected better. Their bbq pork bun was along the same caliber as well. Maybe it was the “hole-in-the-wall syndrome” where I thought it would be great because of that, but it was mediocre. Their combo chow mein was good and plenty but not memorable. Even the fried pork chops were a miss. Though tasty and spicy, the crispy factor of these deep fried slabs was not there. Maybe I ordered everything wrong here, but for whatever it was, my lunch was just not what I expected.

I can go to an actual dim sum restaurant and get the same stuff for a similar price. The only difference is, it would be more pleasurable. What we have here is exactly what I mentioned in the beginning. We are paying for the “express”, and not the food. The convenience of just walking up to the window, ordering, and eating is just too much of a sacrifice. I wouldn’t mind waiting a little longer for something much superior to this.

Dim Sum Express on Urbanspoon

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When Chinatown comes into a conversation, and the topic of lunch or dinner pops up, you can’t help but thing of Yang Chow. And when you think of Yang Chow, you can’t help but think of Slippery Shrimp. Chinatown can be a scary place to some, but smack dab in the middle of Chinatown on Broadway, is Yang Chow. Inside, it seems like a typical Chinese restaurant, and it is. The furniture and layout is very old school as it should. It’s a classic. The walls are scattered with pictures of local government icons and famous people. The restaurant opened in 1977 and has been a popular Chinese hotspot since.

Of course I ordered the Slippery Shrimp — It’s what they are known for. The shrimp was kind of smaller than you think, but the flavor was  massive. The batter was light and crispy. It was a bit on the sweet side, but the hot sauce that they had there balanced out the flavors nicely. Eating it with the white rice was simple and delicious — It was all I really needed.  Slippery shrimp and rice was like comfort food for me.

We ordered the Chicken Lo Mein as compliment to our shrimp, though I would have been happy with just white rice. The noodles were thick and the chicken was plenty. Again, I put some hot sauce chili oil over the noodles to give it some spice. Most times, noodle dishes can get greasy and oily. It was a great noodle dish.

Yang Chow is a Chinatown icon. The place is a popular spot for locals and visitors. It all started with five brothers who wanted to start a restaurant. Yang Chow was the name of their home town. How fortunate of us to have them bring their home town into Los Angeles.

Yang Chow on Urbanspoon

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Ocean Star – One Of Many Dim Sum Spots In The SGV

by Franklin on December 2, 2011

Dim sum is Chinese food served in bite size portions.  Kind of like tapas plates, but Chinese food. The interesting part is that it is only served in the mornings and lunch times.  You will see ladies push metal steamer carts around with stacks of yummy deliciousness.  Often times, you will find some interesting (weird for some) foods — chicken feet and tripe to name a couple. Ocean Star in Monterey Park is affordable and is busy as heck on the weekends.  Their dim sum is comparable to the good ones in Los Angeles.  Here are some of the items on the menu:

The chow mein is a thinner noodle, and it comes out room temperature.  Theirs was less oily which I like.  It was a nice complement to the other side dishes.

 

The clams were sauteed in some kind of hoisin or black bean sauce.  It was fresh for the most part, and tasty.

 

The egg rolls were filled with cabbage and carrots.  Yes, a vegetable egg roll, but still good dipped in soy sauce.

 

These dumplings were delicious.  They are packed with vegetables and pork, and the outside dumpling part was nice and chewy.

 

Without a doubt, the most popular dim sum item is pork shui mai.  They are like meat balls with shrimp surrounded by a wanton wrapper.  They are one of my favorites.

 

Shrimp shui mai are whole shrimp, covered in wanton skins.  It is steamed, which leaved the outer wanton skin smooth, yet sticky.  Each bite was perfect with a little soy sauce.

 

These are shrimp in fried wanton.  The shrimp inside were meaty and the wantons were very crispy and crunchy.  Perfect, dipped in soy sauce and vinegar.

 

I always like to end my dum sum with mango pudding.  It isn’t too sweet and the texture is so nice after a nice meal.  It doesn’t quite taste like mangoes, but they are still delicious.

 

Ocean Star is one of my favorite dim sum restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley.  The price is right, thought they did raise their prices recently.  The servers are somewhat helpful and well organized. This place is perfect for big groups, banquets, and small gatherings.

Ocean Star on Urbanspoon

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I love Chinese food.  I think America loves Chinese food.  That is probably why there are so many Chinese restaurants around town.  I’m not talking about Panda Express, or China Wok, Chinatown Express — the list goes on and on. When I think of Chinese food, and think of meat, I always look to Sam Woo.  Duck, pork, chicken, they have everything.  Roasted whole duck hang by their necks on display.  That might be a bit much to some, but to me, that’s lunch. I always come here for the duck and BBQ pork.  I sometimes get the sausage and the pork loaf too.  Get that with a little rice, and I can eat for days.

Sam Woo makes some good duck.  The skin was salty and fatty, the meat was tender and flavorful.  Did it taste like chicken?  No, it tasted like duck, obviously.  All kidding aside, it did have the texture and mouth feel of chicken, but a bit more fattier in taste.  And more fat means more flavor.

I personally like pork to be on the sweeter side.  Apples and pork chops, pineapples and ham, maple glazed bacon.  See the trend here?  Pork is just better on the sweet side.  The BBQ pork her was just that — sweet.  They make it in huge slabs, and chop it up per order.  It had this really sweet glaze over it that made it stand out.  The sweetness worked really well with the pork.    It tasted amazing!

Chinese food at those fast food joints is good, but is nothing like this place.  Sam Woo gives it that extra care and quality in everything they make.  It is authentic, as real Chinese food should be. Every time I need a meat fix and in the mood for Chinese, to Sam Woo Barbecue I will go.

Sam Woo BBQ on Urbanspoon

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Monterey Park has a large Chinese population.  Fortunately, that means there are a lot of great Chinese restaurants to choose from. At the newly built Atlantic Times Square, a lot of Chinese restaurants popped up, and one in particular is the mini chain, Tasty Garden.  The Alhambra location was ranked #7 in Los Angeles Magazine’s Top 10 Chinese Restaurants in the May 2011 issue.  Quite a feat if you ask me.

Upon entering, the decor and furniture really catches your eyes. Purple couches, glistening orbs, and giant TVs playing Chinese music videos really set the mood. I liked the trendy setting and comfortable atmosphere here — usually, one is sacrificed for the other. Another thing I liked were the prices. Of their two menus (one Chinese food, another of American influences), most of the entrees were really affordable. With lots to choose from, my party had a difficult time choosing what to order.

As you may already know, my family can eat. We had French style fillet minion, walnut shrimp, calamari, and chicken chow mein. That with some white rice, all amongst 4 people. Yeah, we can eat for sure. I have to say, I’m not usually a fan of walnut shrimp, but it was tasty here — fried perfectly with a good crisp. A bit sweet from the sauce and I loved the candied walnuts. The French style fillet minion was a bit weird. The taste was kind of sweet and peppery. The weirdest part was the texture. It was tender, but in a fake way. I don’t know if that was the “French style”, but it was just different — tasty, but different.  Imagine the texture of chicken, but it was steak. My favorite would have to have been the fried calamari. The batter was light, and the seasoning was perfect with salt. Simple and delicious.

The bill in the end was really cheap, and we were all really full. The interesting part was the receipt — it was written all in Chinese. Anyone who reads Chinese, care to translate?  I didn’t really mind, but I thought it was kind of interesting.

This is a nice spot to bring a couple of friends or a large family. The food is really good and affordable. The inside is really refreshing and clean, something you don’t see in many Chinese restaurants.

Tasty Garden (Monterey Park) on Urbanspoon

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This cafe was a new addition to the Atlantic Times Square shopping center.  The food here is very casual, as is the atmosphere.  The inside was very clean (something you don’t see everyday in Chinese restaurants in Monterey Park).  They had flat screens everywhere which was good for days my Los Angeles Lakers play.  Prices for entrees are really affordable and it is always a relaxing time here.  The icing on top is that they offer a free drink with every entree.  That is a great deal!

My favorite thing here is their chow mein.  Do you like chow mein?  Do you prefer the thick kind or thin kind?  I prefer the thin kind and Cafe Express does it wonderfully.  Something simple as chow mein was so delicious here.  It didn’t even have meat in it — just soy sauce chow mein.  Grabbing some with my chopsticks and eating it plain was a treat. This dish is simple as it gets, and as good as it gets.

I also tried the squash casserole.  It was a great vegetarian dish, as it had nicely cooked squash and mushrooms.  Squash is something I don’t eat often, but this time around seemed like a good time.  It was very hearty, though not my favorite of the bunch.  This vegetarian meal calls for some meat, thought I didn’t get any this time.  As you know, I am a carnivore at heart.

My go to meat dish would be their calamari.  It is so good, and the best there is.  It seems to me that restaurants take on the calamari differently.  Some fry the rings, some fry calamari nuggets,  but this place uses real squid.  The batter is very light.  My favorite is the spicy salt they sprinkle on these fried morsels.  The dish was so flavorful.

Eating at Cafe Xpress is always great.  Clean environment, good cheap food, and lots to choose from makes this place stand out from the rest.  I guess that’s the beauty about eating at cafe’s because they offer so much variety.  Despite having lots to choose from, I will stick with my chow mein and calamari.  Eating good food, watching the Los Angeles Dodgers, cheering for my Lakers, all in the comfort of Cafe Xpress.  That is the good life.

Cafe Xpress on Urbanspoon

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Upon reading the post title, you’re probably wondering what the heck this is.  Well, the story is, about 2000 years ago, the Emperor invented the Long Xutang candy.  He got maltose cut into sections and extracted them into fine filaments of thread-like candy and wrapped them together.  At the time, it was only served to the elite and royalty.  The finished products looks like a cotton ball with literally thousands of hair like strands.  Hence, the name — dragon beard candy.

As I was walking into a Chinese convenience store / boba shop, I was captivated by a video loop of how this candy was made.  The candy maker had some kind of dough (maltose), and kept on stretching it (kind of like how the Chinese make noodles).   He did this over and over, and over until he had so many string like strands. The candy maker handled it with lots of corn starch or some kind of powder to prevent the strands from sticking to each other. It was interesting and I just had to try some.

The texture and feeling was a bit weird in the mouth.  The white “beard” part melted in the mouth, kind of like how cotton candy does.  The center had some candied peanuts of some sort, thought there are other flavors to choose from.  The candy tasted good, but I could not get over the texture of it.   It was quite an experience.  Check out the video to see how it is made.

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Noodle Planet – Easy Noodles, Easy

by Franklin on March 3, 2011

Everyone has their go to sushi restaurant or Chinese restaurant — I certainly have a go to Pho restaurant whether I am in Los Angeles, or Orange County.  Sometimes, choosing a place to eat isn’t that easy.  We all do the “narrowing down” game, and realize we are in the mood for Asian food, but can never narrow it down to one.  This is where Noodle Planet comes in.  They offer a variety of Asian dishes, ranging from Vietnamese, Chinese, to Japan and Korean.

I am so fortunate to have one nearby.  My family and I ordered a lot of stuff we haven’t tried — We already know the spicy spaghetti and pad see ew were good.  We ordered chicken wings, crispy chow mein, and fried rice.  Yes, they do have rice dishes at Noodle Planet.  We also threw in an order of pad see ew and egg rolls just in case our new trials failed.  Luckily, everything tasted great.  The crispy chow mein was kind of difficult to eat at first, but once the seafood mixture softened up the noodles a bit, it was delicious — the texture was something I have never had before.  The egg rolls we ordered were like no other.  Normally, the egg rolls at restaurants are filled with cabbage, or heavily ground beef based — these, on the other hand had a meaty texture, but also had some sort of seafood taste to them — this was a good thing.  As usual, the chicken wings were great, especially with the addition of the fried rice — I must say, I am a sucker for marinated fried chicken and rice.

My conclusion?  This place is good for groups — you can choose from almost any Asian noodle dish.  Its cheap (cash only) and they have big portions.  The quality of the food is great for the price and you are always left satisfied.  They have locations in Monterey Park and West Los Angeles.  Looks like they got Eastern and Western Angelinos covered.

Noodle Planet on Urbanspoon

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Earthen Restaurant – Down to Earth Chinese Cuisine

by Franklin on February 24, 2011

Los Angeles is full of Chinese restaurants.  You got your bottom of the barrel $1.99 combo plate in Chinatown.  You also got your “broke after dinner” places like Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills.  Regardless, Chinese food is good.  It’s salty and oily (usually a good indication of something yummy.  Earthen Restaurant located in Hacienda Heights, CA is the best of both worlds. Their menu has all of the making as the bottom of the barrel(ers), but does it in a clean and refined manner.

We started off with the green onion pancakes.  They were not too oily — crispy on the outside, nice and chewy on the inside.  Putting some hot sauce or soy sauce on it made it a pretty good appetizer.  For our main dish, we had the seafood noodle dish and the kung pao shrimp.  The noodles had a bunch of different kinds of seafood on it — it almost had more seafood and toppings than noodles.  The best part was the kung pao shrimp.  Shrimp is perfectly delicious when it is not over cooked, and the chefs at Earthen know how to cook.  It was a little spicy and savory and it was perfect with some white rice.

Our experience here was very pleasant.  Next time, we will have to try something non-seafood.  I hear good things about their house chicken and pot stickers.  Be on the look out for that post.

Earthen Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Happy Chinese New Year!

by Franklin on February 9, 2011

Phoenix Dragon

Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later.  I had the pleasure to experience the celebration first hand.  As me and my girlfriend were sitting at Phoenix Food Boutique in Monterey Park, we were bombarded with loud drums and dragons.  They walked into the restaurant, into the kitchen, and started dancing to the music.  The whole experience was pretty amazing.  I felt like I was in the middle of a Chinese new year festival.

I had the pleasure of having dessert here.  From the looks of it, this place seems more ideal for dessert instead of having an actual meal here.  They have assortments of cookies and pastry looking things that were all new to me.  One thing that really stood out was the fruit tapioca drink.  They put a mixture of watermelons, mangoes, strawberries, and other fruits into cold milk.  Then they add tapioca balls.  The whole mixture is amazing.  It is not too sweet, not too fruity.  It is perfectly refreshing in every way.  I also tried their pecan cookie pies.  I call them cookie pies because its not quite a pie, and its not quite a cookie.  At any rate, there are a lot of different things I want to try next time I get a chance to come to Phoenix again.  There are various locations in the San Gabriel Valley;  Monterey Park, Alhambra, and Rowling Heights are some of the cities where you can find this place.

I normally would not post something that is a chain, but just the amazing experience I had here compelled me to post on Phoenix.  If you are in the area, definitely check them out.  Try a few new desserts.  I will soon come again and try the durian dessert.  Be on the look out for that post.

Check out this quick video I took of the Chinese New Year dragon inside the restaurant below.

Phoenix Dessert on Urbanspoon

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