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Restaurants & Bars 2

Southern Mini Town restaurant - review

Hailyn | Jul 3, 200512:49 AM

A week or so ago, someone posted a message asking about this place, in the mini-mall at the northwest corner of Las Tunas and Mission. It's in the same space where Green Village used to be, before they moved to the Focus Plaza on Valley.

The name in Chinese is Xiao Nanguo (Little Southern Country), which also happens to be the name of a really great and popular chain of restaurants in Shanghai. No relation, apparently; this shameless copying of the names of restaurants in China is pretty popular here (Merrylin, Lou Wai Lou a/k/a Chang's Garden, etc.)

The food is indeed Shanghainese, and the specialities listed as "Nanguo Specialties" appear to be the same ones that the Xiao Nanguo restaurants in Shanghai are known for.

Anyway, I went there tonight for dinner with my family. We started with a round of small, cold dishes, according to Shanghai custom. We had Jade Celery (segments of celery with all the tough strings removed, lightly marinated in sesame oil and salt), Kao Fu (marinated wheat gluten with shredded tiger lily buds and shitaake mushrooms), Drunken Chicken (an excellent rendition of this), and Vegetarian Goose (bean curd sheet rolls filled with marinated pressed bean curd threads and mushrooms).

Then we ordered: xiaolongbao (known to New Yorkers as soup dumplings), scallion noodles (a Shanghai classic -- long, resilient noodles sauced only with sauteed scallions and scallion oil), seaweed fried yellow fish (this is the same as the laver-moss fried fish popular at Green Village, served with pepper salt for dipping), sauteed shrimp, garlic-sauteed pea shoots (da dou miao), braised pork pump, and a bamboo, bean curd sheet knots, pork, and bok choy casserole (yan du xian -- really a soup, with rich, milky white broth). Everything was great, especially the scallion noodles and xiaolongbao and fish. The yan du xian wasn't as flavorful as it could have been, though. The portions were generous. All the tables were filled, with mainland Chinese. We'll definitely return.

833 W. Las Tunas
San Gabriel
(at northwest corner of Mission and Las Tunas, in the same mini-mall as Newport Seafood and Golden Deli)

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