Dear Mr. Gold:
I'm in the City of Industry. And I'm starving.
—Evan K., L.A.
There are worse places to be hungry than Industry. But while the area has many decent restaurants, it's generally too far to drive for a casual lunch. If you don't live in Whittier or Covina, you are unlikely to pass up the Monterey Park stalwarts for a crack at Hong Kong Palace in Rowland Heights, no matter how gooey the rice rolls may be; or to ignore the perfectly delicious Chung King fried chicken at the San Gabriel branch of Shufeng Garden in favor of the slightly better version at the Colima Avenue original. The salted soy-milk breakfasts at Four Seas are wonderful; the hot pots at Spicy Girl are very good but possibly not worth the journey — unless you happen to be in the neighborhood anyway, as you are.
But the hand-pulled noodles at Malan, just down the hill from the massive Hsi Lai Temple complex, are special, and it's been impossible to find cha chian mian like this since the Monterey Park branch closed a few years ago. While the noodle shop Earthen is superficially identical to the Mandarin Delis you may have been visiting for decades, its scallion pancakes are a step or two crisper, the shandong chicken a bit more garlicky, and the pot stickers a tad juicier than anything I've found in the San Gabriel Valley. Don't forget to get an order of the fluffy, steamy fish dumplings, which are almost refreshing in the context of all the fried food.
EARTHEN: 1639 S. Azusa Ave., Hacienda Heights. (626) 964-1570.