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Chinese places in Rowland Heights

Stan | Sep 11, 200208:46 PM

I went to Rowland Heights, out in the eastern sprawl between Whittier and Pomona, which has a large Chinese community and chow to match. By bus you get there on the Foothill Transit 482 from downtown LA, and by car you take the Fullerton Road S exit from route 60. I walked around and into shops and restaurants etc, and found the greatest concentration of interesting places in a funky shopping center called Hong Kong Plaza, which is on the SE corner of Colima and Batson, a block east of Fullerton.

The number one cool thing about this place is its *classic* Chinese restaurant names: Supreme Dragon, Three Family's Village (that's how they spell it), H. K. Fish Ball, Fortune Restaurant, Happy Panda Bistro, and Hainan Chicken (a Malaysian place), among others.

There are lots of Chinese bakeries in the area, and several of them have moon cakes. I got two of them, a small one over at J. J. Bakery (1756 S. Nogales St, 626 581 1678), which was okay, and another from Yi Mei Deli (18414 Colima Rd, 626 854 9246), which was better, and had enough egg yolks in it to clog my bloodstream instantaneously. Yi Mei Deli also has bao you can take home and steam. At the same address, Diamond Bakery (626 912 5380) also has moon cakes that look good. The friendliest supplier of moon cakes, though, was Royale Bakery (18455 Colima Road, 626 810 1212), though I didn't get a chance to taste them.

I originally went out there looking for a specialist in exotic Taiwanese chicken dishes called Chicken Garden (which I thought was located at 18406 Colima Rd, 626 913 0548), but as far as I can tell it's not there any more. Hong Kong Plaza consists of two buildings, one much older-looking than the other, and the space at the very back of the older building is where I inferred Chicken Garden must be. But it was empty and roofers with a smelly tar truck were working on it. Too bad.

So instead I ate at Supreme Dragon (18406 Colima Rd #E&F, 626 810 0396), whose name is hard to argue with. They had at least two menus, one of which was entirely in Chinese. I pointed at the Chinese menu at random, and ended up with a quite good bowl of noodle soup into which one dumped a plate of what might be described as kung pao liverwurst. That's probably not the Chinese name, but it probably communicates the general idea. It was good, though I never got used to the weirdness of the meat, which I am told is some kind of pork.

Then I went over to the also excellently named Leisure House (18438 Colima Rd #31, 626 965 6118), where I got an outstanding and very cool-looking $5 glass of mandarin orange tea. The most interesting thing about Leisure House was the food. They mostly serve tea, but it was lunchtime and many of the people were eating lunch. Though looking at the menu it seems like a random collection of common Asian dishes, in practice it's something much more unusual. Although the dishes sound Asian, in fact they are served more like European dishes, with separate piles of meat, vegetables, and starch (rice not potatoes). What was odd was watching people try to eat European food with chopsticks. Think about it: the meat in Chinese food is usually chopped into pieces; the meat in European food is usually not. Have you ever tried to eat a pork chop with chopsticks? It's hard. Some people had plastic forks and knives, but that doesn't make it much easier. Yet they didn't seem bothered by this.

Okay, that's my report. I'd be interested to hear of any other experiences that people have had with Chinese food out in the sprawl.

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