Years ago J. Gold published one of his typically hyperbolic reviews of JZY Cafe. On Sunday, 12 May 2002, I visited this remarkable monument to Beijing style cuisine. From the iced sour plum drink to the black glutinous rice and taro dessert, every dish was perfectly executed.
JZY, or to give its full name, Jing Zhao Yin, is a clone of a small, beautifully realized gembox of a snack shop on Taipei's Lishui Jie, not far from that great palace of Shanghai dumplings, Ding Tai Feng. In addition to their poetic and classical names, JZY and DTF share a commitment to authenticity and refined quality very much in line with the Republic of China's longterm endeavour to make itself the true repository of traditional Chinese culture.
While the restaurant's specialty is light lunches (a six dollar lunch special is offered M-F 11-5), delicate bowls of perfectly prepared noodles, sweets and wontons, the menu also offers Peking duck (thirty dollars per duck, includes four additional small dishes, must be ordered one half hour in advance), mutton hotpot, fishhead hotpot and so on.
Do try the zha1 jiang4 mian4 (warm noodles with sesame sauce and julienned vegetables), the la1 pi2 (cold rice noodles with mustard sauce and julienned vegetables) and the ci3 mi3 lian2 zi3 zhou1 (purple rice--actually black glutionus rice--porridge with lotus nut).
Finding JZY can be difficult. It's in a San Gabriel mall, on the north side of Valley Boulevard, west of Walnut Grove, about a three minute drive east on Valley from San Gabriel Boulevard. The number is 1039. There is not much English signage for the restaurant, but it's the first establishment on the left side of the mall as you enter.
For readers of Chinese: jing1 (Beijing de jing) zhao4 (portent) yin3 (fuyin de yin).
Jing Zhao Yin
1039 E. Valley Boulevard (near Walnut Grove)
San Gabriel, California 91776
Open 11-10 seven days