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Where To Eat Now 

Wednesday, Apr 11 2007
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Page 6 of 6

Monterey Park/San Gabriel and vicinity Oriental Pearl Oriental Pearl may only be the fifth- or sixth-best Sichuan restaurant in the area. The fried chicken cubes with hot pepper don’t sing quite like the same dish at Chung King, where it is prepared with at least triple the amount of dried chiles, and the octopus with pickled pepper is pleasing in a direct, funky way but is somehow one-dimensional. The fried spareribs with prickly ash are far less numbing than one might wish. The spicy fried fish tai-an-style is on the mushy side. The array of cold dishes doesn’t even include fried peanuts, which some of us consider essential. But still — one of the great things about the San Gabriel restaurant scene is that the fifth-best Sichuan restaurant in the area is really pretty good, and after a meal of wonton in chile broth, Chinese bacon with leeks, and water-boiled fish, by which the Sichuanese mean fish boiled in almost pure chile oil, you will probably be very happy. 727 E. Valley Blvd., No. 128C, San Gabriel, (626) 281-1898. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Takeout. AE, MC, V. JG $Satay Fong The Hong Kong Plaza Food Court may not seem a likely site for a culinary epiphany ­— but if you were to get your hands on an order of mie, a dripping, ink-black skewer of grilled pork at Satay Fong, you might be inclined to disagree. Like any Indonesian fast-food joint worth its kecap, Satay Fong’s menu revolves around variations on the basic nasi rames combination platter, foam plates containing dabs of three or four dishes, a mound of simmered rice, and a plastic cup or two of one chile sambal or another – maybe the mysterious but powerfully delicious roasted green-chile sauce hot enough to make the reputation of any Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles. Hong Kong Plaza Food Court, 989 S. Glendora Ave., No. 18, West Covina, (626) 337-1111. Open Tues.–Sun. noon–8 p.m. Cash only. No alcohol. Takeout. JG $

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