The first U.S. city with an Asian population majority, Monterey Park has been referred to as "the Chinese Beverly Hills" and "the first suburban Chinatown." When it comes to doing a food crawl, it will obviously skew heavily to Chinese cuisine. Indeed, a top 10 could consist solely of Chinese restaurants, but that would be missing excellent representatives of other Asian cuisines, and so much more.
Eateries dot the city thoroughfares of Atlantic, Garfield and Garvey. While the clusters around the intersections with Garvey are easily walkable, you'll probably want to take a car for outposts further east on Garvey or over the hill on Atlantic. Portions are large and prices low. Because of this, you'll probably want to bring friends and get a bit more walking in. For that, the Atlantic Times Square provides a strollable city centerpiece with additional dining options, shops and a place to see first-run Chinese movies. From dim sum palaces to late night Hong Kong cafés to tiny dumpling houses and everything in-between, you can find it in Monterey Park. Here are our picks for Top 10 eats. Turn the page.
10. Hoy-Ka Thai Noodle:
While Thai restaurants can be found around the SGV, it's generally been better to head to Thai Town. The exception to this rule is Hoy-Ka, which sits tucked into the back of Garfield Plaza. From their signature Hoy-Ka noodles to authentic boat noodles (in other words, blood cubes), Hoy-Ka ranks as the best choice for Thai cuisine in the 626. Did we mention the family connection to the Hoy-Ka in Thai Town? Enough said. 230 N. Garfield Ave., Monterey Park; 626-927-9629.
9. Wok BBQ:
Don't take the name too literally. It's not BBQ, but is instead served in a wok. Confused? The specialty at Wok BBQ is dry pots. Your choice of meats or seafoods, combined with vegetables (and a wide selection of extras) rest atop a shallow pool of broth and oil in a wok, the whole shebang placed atop a tabletop hot plate, where it braises merrily away. With frog or chitterling available for the more adventurous and choice of spiciness level (medium is plenty hot), you can add broth to turn it into a hot pot -- but why? 910 E. Garvey Ave., Monterey Park; 626-307-7176.
Starting at the cold table with a large selection of Sichuan appetizers, Yunkun Garden is solid. Several Yunnan-style items, such as the signature Crossing The Bridge Noodles, are available and worthwhile, but dishes from the neighboring Sichuan province dominate the large menu. Like spicy food? The "wild chili" dishes take a hellish blend of fresh, dried and pickled peppers to create XXX-rated pepper on pepper action. Water-boiled dishes, spicy with spicy, dan dan mian and Chung King fried chicken cubes are among standouts at this underrated restaurant. 301 N. Garfield Ave., #D, Monterey Park; 626- 571-8387.