I haven't posted on any new finds in San Gabriel in a while, because there haven't been, because haven't been eating anything except Hunan Seafood Restaurant, over and over and over again.
I now have a way to express my affection for this place, and the Hunan style.
You know how Thai food is a balance of sweet, spicy, sour, salty? The salty flavor's supposed to match the spicy flavor, etc. etc.? Hunan has added "smokey" and "funky" as flavors to balance. Witness the fried lamb rib, which is the most outrageous degree of crunch, fermenty smoke, Sichuan-y numb-tingly, and salty. When I'm depressed, I go here, I eat this dish, and I feel the hand of some massive Hunanese god part the heavens, reach through my gullet, and grab me in my privates and shake me until I'm confused and happy.
There are many other great dishes here, but the one I can't stop ordering is the fried lamb rib.
Also: anything that involves Hunanese ham, which is actually huge hunks of deeply smoked pork belly.
Also: there are two cold chicken dishes on the Hunanese appetizer menu. Both are ludicrously good. One is cold, and comes swimming in a pool cold red oil sauce, and the other other is cold, and served with a bit of gingery sauce on the side. I think the gingery sauced one is the first one on the menu, and slightly more expensive? Both are fantastic - the intense taste of purified chicken. Cold chicken is the sushi of the Chinese - proof of highest quality and perfection of humble mind of cook. This is that, but spicy.