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Chinese Cuisine

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Homeland meat cake (#15), Beijing Pie House - JIM THURMAN
  • Jim Thurman
  • Homeland meat cake (#15), Beijing Pie House
Meat pie lovers who live in the Eastern San Gabriel Valley and Pomona Freeway travelers — rejoice. Beijing Pie House has opened a location in the City of Industry. Known for its xian bing, meat pies likened to hockey pucks or doorknobs, the original location in Monterey Park quickly became a favorite upon opening in late 2010.

The new outpost, which opened in mid-February,  is upstairs in Four Seasons Plaza, a newish spot, which counts Monja and Magic Restroom Café among its roster of restaurants. The space, formerly occupied by Michelle's Pancake, is much roomier than the cramped original. The interior is dominated by a glass partition slightly above table level along the right side of the restaurant. Behind the partition, workers prepare all manner of meat pies, dumplings and wontons on full display. On the left, a flat-screen TV is tuned to Chinese-language programming. Perhaps you'll catch a Chinese drama while munching on a meat pie.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Chengdu Taste, Alhambra. - FARLEY ELLIOTT
  • Farley Elliott
  • Chengdu Taste, Alhambra.
The Chinese Cuisine Festival: A Bite of Los Angeles, which runs 10 days from March 7 through March 16, finally gives the San Gabriel Valley its own version of restaurant week. Organized by Chinese student marketing platform, ICON Union, the festival brings together 13 restaurants across the SGV featuring a diverse range of regional Chinese cuisines.

For the festival, the 13 participating restaurants will serve up specials, value combos and secret menu items. Some will offer smaller portions to allow diners to sample more dishes while others will have prix fixe meals. Chengdu-style, Hunan-style and Beijing-style are among the regional cuisines represented and items such as hot pots, dry pots, roast duck and appetizers are among a wide assortment of available featured dishes.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chinese Cuisine

Ming Yuen: Chinese Peruvian Food in El Monte

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Mon, Jan 13, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Lomo saltado - CLARISSA WEI
  • Clarissa Wei
  • Lomo saltado
Ming Yuen is an Asian fusion joint in El Monte, but it's a far cry from the Americanized platters of kung pao chicken and chop suey that typically come to mind when the word "fusion" is invoked. Chef Jose Tam and his family, Chinese in descent, are restaurateurs from Peru, where there's a significant Cantonese-Chinese immigrant population.

The family-owned restaurant specializes in Peruvian Chinese food. Peruvian classics such as arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) and estofado de pollo (chicken stew) grace the menu, but the dishes are prepared with a Cantonese twist - or, as Peruvians call it, chifa-style. The word chifa is a play on the Chinese words chi fan (to eat rice).

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014

Apps

The Waygo App: Translate Chinese Menus + Tattoos

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Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 5:00 AM
Din Tai Fung's menu translated with Waygo - SCREENSHOT OF WAYGO IPHONE APP
  • Screenshot of Waygo iPhone app
  • Din Tai Fung's menu translated with Waygo
If you spend any amount of time eating Chinese food in the San Gabriel Valley - as maybe you should, since you do, after all, live in Los Angeles - and are not fluent in the language, you may struggle a bit when some or all of the restaurant's menu is only in Chinese. In which case, there is a terrific app for that: specifically designed to "translate any Chinese menu or sign," Waygo is available for the iPhone (the Android version is coming soon), with the trial version of the application allowing up to 10 free translations per day. Or, you can upgrade and get an unlimited number of translations for $6.99. Given how much fun you probably will have with this, it'll probably be worth the seven bucks.

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

Chinese Cuisine

3 Great Scallion Pancakes in San Gabriel Valley

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Fri, Dec 27, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Scallion pancake at A & J Restaurant - C. CHIAO
  • C. Chiao
  • Scallion pancake at A & J Restaurant

A Chinese scallion pancake bears little resemblance to the American breakfast classic that shares a part of its name: It's a savory pancake shaped from a water-based dough rather than a batter. The decision to eat one, pan-fried in no moderate amount of oil, is a tacit agreement to set aside any reservations about your calorie intake. A substantial part of what makes a scallion pancake so satisfying is the liberal use of fat, which will caramelize the outside to a crackerlike crisp that gives into a chewy interior flecked with fragrant, chopped green onions.

You'll more likely find scallion pancakes at Chinese restaurants with a mianshi, or dough-oriented delicacies, menu. This means you probably won't find a scallion pancake at, say, a Cantonese seafood restaurant. What separates a great pancake from a decent one can often be determined from how it's pan-fried, so that the taste of oil doesn't overwhelm the flavor. The pancakes generally are fried to order and meant to be eaten piping hot on the spot. We chose three of our favorite versions in the San Gabriel Valley.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Chinese Cuisine

Chinese Sausages + Where to Find Four Regional Versions

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Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Sausage in Shandong Style at Beijing Duck House - JIM THURMAN
  • Jim Thurman
  • Sausage in Shandong Style at Beijing Duck House

When you think of sausage, Chinese cuisine is probably not what immediately comes to mind. Germany, obviously, then probably Italy. But China has an incredibly rich history of sausage-making. Chinese sausages tend to be much sweeter than sausages familiar to American palates and, as you might expect from a country so large and diverse, there are many regional variations. Here's a breakdown of where to find some regionally-specific sausages in San Gabriel Valley restaurants, listed alphabetically by province.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

Chinese Cuisine

3 Great Lamb Noodle Soups in the San Gabriel Valley

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Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 10:21 AM
Lamb noodle (#6), Shaanxi Gourmet, Rosemead - JIM THURMAN
  • Jim Thurman
  • Lamb noodle (#6), Shaanxi Gourmet, Rosemead

With a chill in the air, it's the perfect time of year for some soup. In the San Gabriel Valley, a steaming bowl of lamb soup with noodles is perfect for brisk days and nippy nights. A common item at restaurants featuring food from northwestern China, here are three great versions of lamb noodle soup around the SGV, all of which can be found along a less than two mile section of Valley Boulevard.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Xiao long bao at Din Tai Fung - R.E.~/FLICKR

Xiao long bao, or soup dumplings, are sort of like tacos: There's really never a time when you're not in a mood for one, or five. Which begs the question of where you ought to go when the mood strikes, a decision that depends somewhat equally on the vicissitudes of traffic and, as you may have discovered the hard way, which soup dumpling restaurants happen to be open when your craving hits. Thus, a flowchart.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Chinese Cuisine

Where to Get Chinese-Style Turkey in the SGV

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Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 9:30 AM
Turkey, Sam Woo BBQ - CLARISSA WEI
  • Clarissa Wei
  • Turkey, Sam Woo BBQ

Among the many options you have for this year's Thanksgiving turkey is heading to the San Gabriel Valley, where you can enjoy a Chinese take on the most American of holidays by ordering a Chinese-style turkey. Imagine roast duck or soy sauced chicken, only done with a turkey. The turkey first goes into a soy sauce–based brine and is then roasted. Instead of stuffing, sticky rice is served on the side. Depending on where one goes, the rice may have some combination of dried shrimp, Chinese sausage, mushrooms, egg or cilantro mixed in. Some feature a sweetened oyster sauce–based gravy.

We've compiled a list of places where you might get one. Might, because some have limited numbers of turkeys available and they're going fast. Most places require orders to be placed at least a day in advance and some do not take orders over the phone. We suggest phoning, paying a visit and placing your order as soon as you can.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

long xiao bao, Din Tai Fung - A. SCATTERGOOD
  • A. Scattergood
  • long xiao bao, Din Tai Fung

As you probably know, Din Tai Fung, the glorious dumpling palace that specializes in soup dumplings, or xiao long bao, recently opened in Glendale. And not just anywhere in Glendale but in the über-mall of the Americana at Brand. It's the third branch of Din Tai Fung to open in Los Angeles -- the other two are both on Baldwin Avenue in Arcadia -- and the fourth in America. If you're counting, that fourth Din Tai Fung is in Bellevue, Wash., and there's a fifth outpost opening soon in Seattle's university district and plans for yet another branch of the restaurant in South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. As if you needed more reasons to live on the West Coast.

What you think about the new Din Tai Fung depends a lot upon your view of malls, specifically the enormous upscale versions of them, with Apple genius bars and Kate Spade shops and actual concierges, where this time of year fake snow falls miraculously from the sky while Frank Sinatra sings his specific mall repertoire.

You may not be a mall person. Or, more accurately, the kinds of malls you like may be the grungy strip malls of the San Gabriel Valley, in which you can park yourself right outside, slide into a booth without a wait and eat your dumplings about 10 minutes later, your tea poured by the same person who poured it last week. We won't argue with that, but we thought we'd come up with five solid reasons why you might want to give the new Din Tai Fung a try.

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