I have been having a disappointing run of good-but-not-great chow experiences at chow-recommended places lately (Moishe's, R-23, Nyala, Shula and Esther, Green City, Wat Thai Buddhist Temple, dim sum at Sea Harbour). So I was especially pleased to have an excellent lunch at Bashu 12 Dishes (529 E Valley Blvd #168, San Gabriel, (626) 280-9399). At least that is what Miffy says the place is called; its name doesn't appear anywhere in Latin characters. Nor is the short menu more than sketchily translated, though it does have some laser-printed pictures.
I had a dish that was translated into English just as "pork". It turned out to be a bowl of cubes of pork with three kinds of flavorful mushrooms with ginger and anise in a brown sauce. The taste was completely unfamiliar to me, but it was so good. All of the pieces of pork came with big layers of fat on them, but it was easy to bite the fat off. It was the best thing I've eaten in a Chinese restaurant in ages.
Both Miffy's note and the LA Times articles said that Bashu 12 Dishes is a Chengdu place, but if I understood my conversation with the waiter it's actually a Xinjiang place. Does anyone know more? In any case they have fish swimming in tanks, so I want to get the spicy and sour steamed fish next time.