BEST SAN GABRIEL VALLEY SZECHUAN (2009)

Yunchuan Garden

You know you're in for an adventure from the moment you set foot in Yunchuan Garden, a Monterey Park stronghold of Szechuan cuisine. In front of you is the cold-dish counter, where, for $3.95, you can pick three items from about a dozen trays overflowing with chicken feet, thinly sliced pork chin and beef with beef stomach and seasoned tripe, among other Western Chinese delicacies. The specialty here, though, is the heat. The kitchen churns out plate after plate of steaming pork, beef and lamb blanketed with awe-inspiring quantities of diced red peppers. If you want to feel the brunt of what Yunchuan has to offer, skip the one and two-chili options and go straight for the full, three-chili glory of the chopped, hot pepper beef, a stir-fry seemingly designed to leave you in tears. The restaurant has a boisterous feel, and just about every oversized dish — that could easily serve two — is less than $10. Waiters mainly speak Chinese but seem happy to walk you through the menu as best they can. That's a good thing, because it's a dangerous one. 301 N. Garfield Ave., Unit D, Monterey Park. (626) 571-8387.

—Nicolas Taborek

Location Details

301 N. Garfield Ave.
Monterey Park CA 91754
626-571-8387