Only in the past few years have I come to realize how ignorant I am to Chinese food. Being a native to Chicago, Ive never really had an opportunity to eat much Chinese food other than the Cantonese American food found near any major business district as well as dim sum.
After reading countless recommendations on the amazing food to be found in Monterey Park and its neighboring cities, however, Ive decided to take the plunge and uncover the food on my own one restaurant at a time.
Some of my notes so far:
Mei Long Village really good version of Shanghai steamed dumplings, and the best version of Shanghai spareribs Ive ever had. Other dishes include: mixed seafood casserole, which was almost flavorless, filled with too much cabbage and not enough seafood; steamed baby bok choy; house special pan fried noodles, which were tasty with lots of vegetables, although a tad greasy; Orange Beef, addicting flavor but a bit overcooked. Would definitely go back to try other things on the menu, which lists over 200 items.
Din Tai Fung terrific, most delicate version of Shanghai dumplings. Also love the Shanghai rice cakes and the hot and sour soup. The service is really abrasive and the waits are almost unbearable. Twice Ive been there at around 8:30pm and wasnt seated for at least 30 minutes because of the wait and they literally gave us 2 minutes to order our food and was virtually wiping off our table as soon as we put our chopsticks down. The crowds and the service are off-putting enough that I prefer Mei Long Village for my Shanghai fix.
Dumpling House really good version of homemade dumplings and cheerful, accommodating service. Their onion pancakes are better than the ones Ive had at Mandarin Deli. They dont have pan-fried dumplings, which I prefer to their deep fried ones, which my SO loves. Their wonton soup is notable, but I have to admit that I like the Chinese Korean food better at Mandarin Garden Restaurant in Koreatown.
Heavy Noodling tried their mushu cat ear, as recommended by Jerome, and I love these. The firm and chewy texture of the pasta-like dough is amazing. I also tried their pork wonton soup, which was not a particularly good version, IMHO. I cant wait to try their other noodle dishes because they all looked so appetizing.
Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle tried their meat stew rice flat noodle soup and braised seaweed. I honestly did not like the flavors of either of these dishes at all. The soup had an overwhelming taste of duck that lasted on my palate all day. The seaweed has an intensely muddled flavor that I did not care for at all. I would not return I think its just a bit too funky for me.
Next on my list are Luscious Dumpling and 101 Noodle Express.
If there are any other must-try places, please let me know!
Mei Long Village
301 W. Valley Blvd. #112
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Open 7 days: Sun-Th 11am-9:30pm, Fr-Sat 11:30am-10pm
Din Tai Fung Dumpling House
1108 S. Baldwin Ave.
Arcadia, CA 91007
Open 7 days: M-F 11am-2:30pm, 5pm-9:30pm, Sat 10:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-9:30pm, Sun 10:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-9pm
5612 Rosemead Blvd.
Temple City, CA 91780
Closed on Tuesday
153 E. Garvey Ave.
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Open 7 days: 11am-3pm, 5pm-9:30pm
Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle
140 W. Valley Blvd., #208
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Open 7 days: 11am-10pm