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Los Angeles Area Chinese

Canton Gourmet and Bakery ... serving, of all things, Northern Chinese specialties, incl. Xian Bing (餡餅)


Markets & Stores 24

Canton Gourmet and Bakery ... serving, of all things, Northern Chinese specialties, incl. Xian Bing (餡餅)

ipsedixit | Nov 7, 2010 10:23 AM

I searched the archives and found only veiled references to Canton Gourmet, so here goes with my prelim review of this place.

Canton Gourmet specializes in Xian Bing (餡餅), which are basically Chinese meat pies. A round empanada, if you will, or perhaps a quesadilla.

About the size of a large hamburger patty, Xian Bing is typically filled with some sort of meat, wrapped in unrisen dough. It's first pan-fried and then finished off by covering the pan and steaming it for a little bit. The optimal result should be a crunchy, yet subtly chewy skin. There should be a nice crust, but the middle of the wrapper should still be a tad white (or al dente, if you will). Oh, and for those XLB devotees, there's soup inside these things!

At Canton Gourmet they have an assortment of Xian Bing, although there other Northern dishes like noodles, incl. a rather pedestrian looking beef noodle soup and a lamb noodle dish. Also on tap are XLB and wontons of different varieties.

But the raison d'etre to come to Canton Gourmet is for the Xian Bing. There's beef, pork, lamb and 3 flavors (shrimp, pork and beef, as well as eggs), and quite a few others I'm forgetting. There's 12 total.

Overall these are very good, probably some of the better ones I've had recently. It's a very rich dough, you can taste the oil, but it isn't exactly greasy -- at least not greasy in a manner that you might find offensive in any way. The beef and lamb (the two we tried) could've used a bit more seasoning, but that's sort of nitpicking. The fillings overall were nice and juicy (I'm guessing a good bit of shank and perhaps even oxtail went into the beef filling).

Some of the cold and pickled dishes were noteworthy, incl. the seaweed as well as the duck tongue and daikon (where they get the daikon nowadays?).

(As an aside, the owner related to me a rather interesting anecdote of how he finally finagled his fortuitous phone number. For those who appreciate Chinese numerology, you'll appreciate his efforts.)

846 East Garvey Ave
Monterey ParK
(626) 288-3818

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