Giang Nan is glorious—you’ll eat like kings, for an unbelievably low price, says Das Ubergeek. It’s definitely a Jiangsu place. For those of you unfamiliar with the myriad regions of China, this is the stuff that often gets called Shanghai food—soup-filled dumplings, mounds of pork shank, and other luxurious delights. Giang Nan is a good substitute for the much-beloved, but currently missing-in-action, Green Village.
Giang Nan’s xiao long bao (a.k.a. soup-filled dumplings or juicy dumplings) are some of the juiciest Das Ubergeek has had. Lion’s head meatballs are delicious. And “house special de-greased and braised pork knuckle” is beautiful—a big piece of pork shank, salty, sweet, and falling off the bone. “It was so fragrant that we could smell it before it came out,” says Das Ubergeek. “The waitress, who was already boggling over a white guy, a black girl and a Latino guy eating with chopsticks and ordering in Mandarin, dropped by to say, ‘That’s your meat you smell.’”
Red-cooked tofu is incredible. “For those of you who aren’t up on your eastern Chinese cookery, red-cooking is the use of a soy-based sauce to braise food,” explains Das Ubergeek. “When you’re done with it, you reduce part of the braising liquid to coat the food, and the remaining part is saved for the next red-cooked dish. After a while it develops a very rich, deep flavour.”
And chicken with chestnuts is a true revelation, says Das Ubergeek. “It had a deep, unctuous, somewhat gingery sauce, rounds of chicken on the bone, cooked so tenderly that even the cartilage was pleasant to eat, plus buttery, soft chestnuts and whole garlic cloves, served in a clay pot.”
They do a great version of yellow croaker with green moss, says mpken, basically fried fish fillet sticks with seaweed in the batter. Casseroles are a bargain, too. africanizedkiller recommends their eel dish.
Das Ubergeek suggests you go with a Chinese speaker. While the staff is quite friendly and can handle English speakers, a lot of the specials are posted on the wall, in Chinese only.
Giang Nan [San Gabriel Valley]
306 N. Garfield Avenue #12, Monterey Park
Board Link: REVIEW: Giang Nan, Monterey Park