An elegant Hangzhou-influenced restaurant headed by chef Henry Chang, whose restrained, earthy style became known to the local Chinese community at the old Juon Yuan in San Gabriel Square, Chang's Garden is well known both for its version of dong po pork, a dish favored by Chinese poets, and for the cooking's congeniality to wine. Novelist Nicole Mones has practically made a cottage industry out of Chang: She wrote about him in Gourmet, and his dish of pork ribs steamed in lotus leaves figures so prominently in her novel The Last Chinese Chef that it is practically a character of its own. And if you get a shot at the crisp rolled beef pancakes and candied lotus root stuffed with sticky rice, eel with yellow chives and whitefish fried into seaweed-enhanced beignets, you may become inspired too. There is a very nice simmered beef and tripe in chile oil, and splendid fresh Chinese bacon with garlic and chile. Vegetable dishes tend to be pretty good too. Try the pudding-like slabs of Japanese eggplant cooked down with garlic.

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