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Restaurants & Bars 2

Green Village

Stan | Jun 1, 2002 10:00 PM

So I went to Green Village (140 W. Valley Blvd #206-207, San Gabriel, 626 288-6558). I heard about it from J. Gold, who said that you had to get into the Chinese-only section of the menu to eat well, but that the people were friendly and willing to translate. Sounds good to me. I asked them to translate the three dishes under "casseroles" that were in Chinese. They promptly convened a conference, and at length they managed to produce a translation for the first dish, namely eel with chestnuts. That's all I needed to hear. Bring it on!

Almost as an afterthought, though, I also ordered the steamed pork dumplings from the dim sum page at the back of the menu. They arrived first, and when I popped the first one into my mouth, I discovered to my maximal discomfort that they were soup dumplings. (I could have seen this by close-enough visual inspection of them before I started grabbing for them, but I was a greedy pig.) As I involuntarily spat the scalding (but very flavorful) soup all over everything, the waitress kindly explained, "Those are soup dumplings. You have to eat them carefully." Thanks for letting me know. Having been instructed by uberhund Chino Wayne in a recent post (URL attached below), I got out the thoughtfully-provided soup spoon and attempted to load each dumpling into the spoon and delicately poke a hole in it to extract the soup before eating. This worked about half the time, and I eventually ended up pouring the soup into my spoon off the plate below the steamer. It was good.

Having been defeated by the soup dumplings, the eel with chestnuts arrived. Very cool. It was cooked in a heavy, sticky brown sauce with mushrooms and some other ingredients that I couldn't identify (and didn't have the nerve to ask the waitresses to translate), including a small red pitted fruit that was sweeter than an olive but not as sweet as a cherry. The eel was easier to eat than eel sometimes is; you could put each piece in your mouth and pretty much suck the meat off the spine without encountering any danger from other bones. Some of the eel pieces were quite recognizably the eel's head, though, which might weird some people out.

Pretty darn successful. The restaurant itself is reasonably nice in its decor etc, certainly a notch above your average hole-in-the-wall place where top-notch chow is often found. And because it's in the "Chinese shopping mall" at 140 W Valley Blvd in San Gabriel, lots of other chow attractions are right next door, including a large Chinese Islamic place whose scallion bread has been celebrated here. There's also a 99 Ranch Market, a Sam Woo or two, and (my personal discovery) an ice cream place downstairs from Green Village that also serves carrot juice and the like along with the standard boba type drinks.

The bus line that goes by there is the 76, which you can catch at the NW corner of Pershing Square downtown.

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