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Los Angeles Area Chinese New Year Chinese

Chinese New Year with the Hounds...

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Chinese New Year with the Hounds...

Dommy! | Feb 10, 2005 02:55 PM

After much planning by a wonderful hound, last night a LARGE group of L.A. Chowhounds descended on one of my favorite Chinese Restaurants, Tung Lai Shun in Focus square in San Gabriel.

This is what I call, the “OTHER” China Islamic restaurant… Having also been to the one on Garvey several times, by far, Tung Lai Shun is my favorite. Fluffier Scallion Bread, more consistent dishes… and their thick skinned dumplings RULE…

For Chinese New Year, our organizer had them prepare a TRUE banquet… The meal was WONDERFUL… but even better was meeting all sorts of new hounds and having them chat with you like OLD friends…

For our feast… we enjoyed…

- Cold Appetizer Plate: A HUGE plate of what is best described as Chinese chaurisire … Different preparations of Tofu, Chicken, Beef and Pork and a WONDERFUL bean sprout salad in the middle… We all just dove into this…

- Lamb Soup: A light crisp soup with wonderful clear noodles and slices of lamb… I usually get the Handcut Beef Noodle soup, which can be a little heavy on it’s own!! So this was a perfect choice to start the big feast!

- Fried Crab: This was a standout dish for me… and I don’t even like crab!! But this preparation had one of the most flavorful batters I’ve ever eaten! The batter was slightly spicy… very complex… it melded with the crab SO perfectly… not overpowering at all… The serving was HUGE… one of the true crimes of the evening… we probably left a piece or two untouched because there was just so much more yummy food…

- Beijing Duck: very similar to Peking Duck… but different flavors… This duck was wonderfully spiced clear into the meat. So the flavor was richer, more ‘ducky’ than the Peking Duck I had just a few days before… It’s so served with the THINNEST pancakes I’ve seen… The hoisin sauce on the table was strictly bottle stuff, but as I made duck burrito, I could so imagine something like this being served in an upscale Mexico City restaurant because of the richness of flavors… Peking duck is just too subtle for this girl…

- Lamb with Scallions: It looked pretty much like any typical stir-fry you’d order at a Chinese restaurant… but the sauce had a nice sweetness to it which worked well the lamb. Further, there were sliced raw chilies studded throughout… Hmmm… Some folks on a different table used this to stuff inside their Scallion Bread!! EXCELLENT idea… I got some left overs and that’s what I’m having for dinner tonight! :D Which of course brings me to the Scallion Bread:

- Scallion Bread: As I mentioned earlier, I find this version SO much better and lighter than the one at China Islamic… Perfectly warm bread, crusty outside, with just a LAYER of sesame seeds on top and on it’s side… inside, soft as a pillow, dotted with scallions… It’s supposed to be used in place of rice… so, you dip your rich curries and hot pots into this bread and just take a bite… Hmmmm…

- And the perfect dish to do this was… The Sea Cucumber: This dish most resembled the dishes I usually get. Big chunks of Sea Cucumber, in a rich thick sauce… for some of our group, this was their first experience with the spongy Sea Cucumber…and this was perhaps the perfect preparation to try it with…

- Fried Shrimp Balls! LOL! That’s just fun to say!! But a treat to eat… About the size of a large egg… I just took a bite and was in love. Crisp outside, firm inside. With a little bit of Hoisin… Hmmm…. I could eat just a meal of these…

- Pea Shoots and Black Mushrooms: I’m a total veggie lover, so when this BRIGHT green dish arrived at our table, I just wanted to dig right in… resembling baby spinach and tasting of ginger and garlic… this was a favorite for a lot of folks…

- Tilapia in Sauce: This was perhaps one of the most surprising dishes of the night… a whole fish, steamed with a light sauce, but when you bit into the delicate flesh… there was this insane smoke flavor to it… Not too distracting, but unexpected! This was the perfect example of the dishes, I wish I could find more in all restaurants… you get so tired with red sauce, mole, curry flavors in each dish… sometimes you gotta have a flavor bomb in there to awaken the palette…

- Finally, Red Bean Buns: steamy fresh from the oven, crispy but doughy shell, slightly sweet red bean mixture in side… I swiped the two we had left on the table and had them with tea this morning… hee…

Looking at what I wrote… WOW!!! Thanks so much again for the hound who planned all of this! Great restaurant (Very clean, nice place and they even waived corkage for us!) and great company is a GREAT way to start off the new year! :D

Tung Lai Shun
140 W Valley Blvd # 118c
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 288-6588

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