Das Ubergeek’s Adventures in the SGV

When en route to a famed noodle joint, what better way to whet the appetite than with a bowl of spicy Szechuan noodles? So thought Das Ubergeek, heading into Chung King restaurant in Hacienda Heights (no word on whether it’s related to the restaurants in San Gabriel and Monterey Park). This Chung King also goes by the name Mr. Swiss. It’s apparently code for “generic Americanized Chinese food like orange chicken,” and our hero was having none of it. After some berating of the waitress, dan dan noodles, chopsticks, and teacups (you know, for the tea in the teapot) were successfully procured. And the noodles ($4.25) are good, very good—swimming in chile oil, dotted with peanuts and scallions.

Over at Malan Noodles, he won the heart of the waitress by writing a Chinese character on his order form and was treated to samples of scallion pancake (overdone) and duck doused in what seemed like ginger oil (very good). The house specialty, beef noodle soup ($5.50 small, $5.95 large) is excellent: toothsome noodles that soak up all the flavors of the long-cooked broth. The beef is a bit smoky, and there are plenty of greens in there. Watching the noodles being made is a show in itself: In 30 seconds, a lump of dough turns into an insanely long noodle.

For dessert, Phoenix Food Boutique is a great place to browse—and serves as a cheap trip to Hong Kong, this modern, minimalist-style teahouse. Desserts and small delicacies are everywhere. Junjong or yuanyang (“the blend of tea, coffee, condensed milk and milk that is what keeps the youth of Hong Kong going”) is great but completely eclipsed by the shaved ice, the best he’s had: very fresh fruit, finely shaved ice with condensed milk, and tiny pearls of barely tasteable tapioca. Junjong is $2 and shaved ice $5.

There are a lot of Phoenix permutations; the Food Boutiques serve up Taiwanese and Hong Kong–style fast-food type dishes and snacks, Phoenix Dessert is dessert only, and Phoenix Restaurants are full-blown restaurants with more formal dishes than the boutiques but without the desserts, explains ipsedixit.

Chung King/Mr. Swiss Restaurant [San Gabriel Valley]
15840 Halliburton Road, Hacienda Heights

Malan Noodles [San Gabriel Valley]
2020 S. Hacienda Boulevard #B, Hacienda Heights

Phoenix Food Boutique [San Gabriel Valley]
1709 Nogales Street, Rowland Heights

Phoenix Food Boutique [San Gabriel Valley]
Pacific Square
31 E. Valley Boulevard, Alhambra

Phoenix Food Boutique [San Gabriel Valley]
1108 S. Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia

Phoenix Food Boutique [San Gabriel Valley]
712 W. Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel

Phoenix Food Boutique [Eastside]
456 S. Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena

Board Link: REVIEW: Noodling Around in the East SGV

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