Tuesday, July 12, 2011

SGV food trip

After my baby brother’s epic San Gabriel Valley food trip, I wanted to take a food trip too. Then when Danny of Kung Food Panda offered to be my SGV guide, I immediately took him up on the opportunity.

Not only is Danny a SGV chinese food expert, but his recommendations to me have always been spot on. I brought along my two brothers and the Future Husband. Rounding out our group were Rosa of Catty Critic and her unborn baby.

JTYH
9425 Valley Boulevard
Rosemead, CA 91770

Our first stop of the day was for lunch at JTYH, after I told Danny my love for knife cut noodles.

Knife cut noodles are noodles shaved with a knife. They are usually wide and thick, with uneven edges. I love the chewy texture.

Since it was our first stop and everyone’s stomachs were empty, we ordered a full meal here and only sampled at our other locations. Danny took care of the ordering.

Up first was a complimentary cold appetizer of long beans, diced into small pieces. The crunchy beans had a pickled flavor to them and they were fun to munch on while we waited for the rest of our food.

Spicy wontons. I’ve been having a run of disappointing spicy wonton dishes, but I actually enjoyed the ones here. Despite sitting in the hot chili sauce, they wontons didn’t feel too oily.

Up next were some dumplings. And because I didn’t take notes, I can no longer remember the filling. I do remember liking them though.

Beef rolls. Beef rolls are slices of marinated beef and beef tendon that are wrapped up in a savory chinese pancake. The version here was really big.

The pancakes were stuffed with meat and some shredded lettuce. The inside of the rolls were slathered with a sauce which overpowered the meat. If I hadn’t experienced 101 Noodle Express’ famous beef roll, I think I would have enjoyed this more. I did like the size though and I really enjoyed the fact that the pancake here was not oily. I’ve had so many oily beef rolls that I was starting to think I didn’t like beef rolls.

Next came the Mooshu “Cat Ears” dish, something I was quite curious to try.

It’s not actual cat ears. Instead, the noodles are shaved into small pieces, which I guess are supposed to resemble the shape of a cat’s ear.

Looking at it, I wouldn’t automatically think they look like cat ears, but I did really enjoy the dish. I think it may have been my favorite from this place.

Next we had a seafood noodle soup with the knife shaved noodles.

The knife shaved noodles here were pretty tasty.

We also got a bowl of beef noodle soup, also with the knife shaved noodles.

The beef broth here had a nice flavor, but it was also very light. Much lighter than the Taiwanese versions I’ve grown up on.

Our final dish was a cold noodle bowl. Cold noodles are usually served cold (duh), with a sesame peanut paste and some other ingredients. Ours came with some shredded lettuce and shredded chicken. It’s a popular dish to eat on a hot summer day.

We actually polished off almost all the food here except for a few bites. Then off we went to our second destination.

Dai Ho
9148 Las Tunas Dr
Temple City, CA 91780

When Danny mentioned this Taiwanese restaurant he likes to go to, I immediately wanted to visit. Dai Ho is a small store, opened only through lunch. The owner is sometimes referred to as a “Soup Nazi.”

The store has some strict signs like no reading newspapers.

Based on Danny’s recommendations, we ordered the beef noodle soup and the minced meat dry noodles.

Beef noodle soup.


This is definitely one of the pricier beef noodle soups I’ve had at $9.00 a bowl. However, you could definitely taste the richness of the broth. What a difference from JTYH’s. This is the kind of stuff I grew up on.

Minced meat dry noodles.

I have to confess, I’ve never been much of a fan of this dish.  Same with my brothers. But we all loved the version here. I’m craving it right now just writing this post. The meat is quite flavorful, and goes perfectly with the plain noodles accompanying the dish.

After this experience, I tried ordering the dish at other places, but it just wasn’t the same.

They also offer an assortment of cold dishes. Perhaps for our next visit…

Half & Half Tea House
120 N San Gabriel Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91778

The line was out the door when we arrived, showing how popular this tea house is. Fortunately for us, it appears that almost everyone was waiting for a to-go order, so we were able to slip in and get a table.

The drinks here were quite large, reminding me of the tea houses in Taiwan. They also use a honey boba, which I really loved.

Ever since this trip, FH has been complaining his boba has no flavor. I told him we’d have to go to SGV if he wants his honey flavored boba.

The most popular drink is the Caramel Icy Milk with honey boba and pudding, which I didn’t take a picture of. This is a mango smoothie my brother got.

I got a lychee smoothie which I enjoyed.

FH had the Icy Milk with honey boba and pudding which I liked a lot too.

I basically liked all the drinks here. The servings are big, the boba is chewy and sweet. Now I can see why this place is so popular.

 

 

Dean Sin World
306 N Garfield Ave#2
Monterey Park, CA 91754

Dean Sin World is one of my favorite stops in the San Gabriel Valley. The tiny store is easy to miss. The owners make delicious homemade dumplings. I love how juicy their dumplings are and the chewy, homemade skin. I always stop by here for frozen dumplings to take home. Ever since having the dumplings here, I stopped making my own.

The owner gave us some complimentary red bean pastries to start our meal.

We also ordered some potstickers. The pot stickers are long, about 1 1/2 times the size of a boiled dumpling. And the juice flows when you bite into them. Yum.

We also got some pork soup dumplings (Xiao Long Bao).

Because Danny is such a frequent customer and has introduced many people to Dean Sin World, the owner didn’t charge us for our meal.

After this, we parted ways with Rosa and Danny, but first Danny provided us with a great plan for the rest of our visit.


We took a little break from food to experience some massages. I don’t know how I didn’t know about this before, but all over SGV are signs and shops for $15 “foot massages.” But they are actually full body massages, which last an hour. For $20 ($15 + tip), this is quite a bargain.

Of course there is no private, soothing room. Instead, the stores have rows and rows of lounge chairs that can lay horizontal. You walk in and are ushered to a chair. Your feet soak in a warm tea bath. Then they start massaging you. First, the shoulders, then the back. Your arms, your legs, your feet, neck, head, everything. It was such a relaxing experience. I need one of these places here in San Diego. It’d be a great end to the week.

101 Noodle Express
1408 East Valley Boulevard
Alhambra, CA 91801

We stopped by here briefly for their famous beef rolls, which we ordered to go. They have multiple locations, including one now in Irvine. The rolls here are huge, like a giant burrito. The meat is marinated and flavorful. If you dine in,  or get an order to go, be sure to ask for the green cilantro chili sauce.

They only provide it upon request, but it really enhances the flavor of these beef rolls. The cilantro chili adds a little spice without being overpowering.

PaPa Walk
227 W Valley Blvd
Ste 148-B
San Gabriel, CA 91776

We desperately wanted some snow shaved ice, but a trip to Rowland Heights for Class 302 was too far.

So we headed over to Papa Walk. Their ice isn’t as good and it costs a lot more, but it’s better than no snow shaved ice.

Snow shaved ice is a favorite dessert for my family. It is a Taiwanese form of shaved ice that was introduced a few years ago, taking shaved ice to a whole new level. Blocks of ice are frozen with condensed milk and then shaved into very fine sheets. The condensed milk prevents the ice from melting as fast, and adds a creaminess and softness to the ice, making it taste more like ice cream rather than chunks of ice.

My favorite flavor is regular snow shaved ice topped with mangos and mochi pieces. There are also other toppings and other flavors of ice like green tea, mango, milk tea.

Mango snow shaved ice.

Milk tea snow shaved ice.

We had one final destination, Pearl Kitchen. However, our wait had been quite long at Papa Walk and we needed to head back. It’s too bad though because once we started home we were getting hungry again and my brothers mournfully thought about the potential delicious fried pork chop we were missing out on. We’ll definitely have to go back to try it.

We had a lot of fun, and it was great to hang out with Rosa and Danny. Hopefully we can meet up with them again soon.

 

10 Responses to “SGV food trip”

  1. 1

    Cliff — July 12, 2011 @ 9:17 am

    Pa Pa Walk’s actual cut mangoes > Class 302′s icky canned mangoes!

  2. 2

    Ruby — July 12, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

    Yes, there is a lot of foot massage shops in bay area, almost one in every plaza. Perhaps you should consider moving back to Bay area.

  3. 3

    An — July 13, 2011 @ 8:22 am

    Man. I miss SGV. We live too far to go regularly now, but after this post I’m thinking we should make the 2 hour trek.

    • Kirbie replied: — July 13th, 2011 @ 8:25 am

      It’s about 2 hour drive for me. =) We go about once every two months usually and will just eat all day to make the trip worth it and bring a lot of food back in our cooler.

  4. 4

    Misa — July 13, 2011 @ 9:01 am

    As I sit here drooling (because it’s lunchtime where I live). I’m thinking, “Even the mediocre restaurants you’ve been to would be awesome to have here (Alabama).” LOL Also I love mangos and the mango snow shaved ice pictures are killing me!

    • Kirbie replied: — July 13th, 2011 @ 9:19 am

      Aww. I guess I should feel lucky then. And here I am always complaining about SD. The mango snow is really delicious. They need to make it everywhere. This place is a two hour drive for me so I don’t get it often.

  5. 5

    Kung Food Panda — July 13, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed the trip and I hope you’ll try Pearl Kitchen next time around!

    There are a lot of great gems in the SGV, so I hope we’ll get a chance to eat again on your next visit. But as I said, move to LA :)

    BTW, I think what FH had was their most popular drink, but without the caramel. It’s actually their Caramel Icy Milk with honey boba and pudding. There’s no tea in the drink at all.

    • Kirbie replied: — July 13th, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

      I’m tempted to move..Oh darn, I got the drink name wrong? Lemme change that on the post.

  6. 6

    Gastronomer — July 17, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

    damn, you guys ate well! yay for exploring sgv eats. and yay for danny being such a great tour guide :-)

    • Kirbie replied: — July 17th, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

      Haha. Danny was awesome! He didn’t even eat after the first stop and boba because he had a dinner thing that evening. He was such a good sport for just hanging out and watching us eat.

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