Insatiable Girl

ROWLAND HEIGHTS: Class 302

Posted in food, los angeles, recommended, restaurants by sue on January 23, 2011

1015 S Nogales St
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
626 965 5809

Price: Cheap
Rating: Yummmmmm.
Directions: Get off at Nogales on the 60
Reservations: Not accepted
Must Get: Shaved snow (any flavor)

I’ve been going to this place since it opened a few years back, but I guess in the recent years they added shaved snow (xuehuabing 雪花冰) to their menu. Prior to this trip, I never had shaved snow before, but according to my friend Howard, it was something that was popular in Taiwan 20 years ago. It’s like shaved ice, but BETTER because they use frozen milk as their base, instead of water.

When Ally and I went, they were out of mango, so we just had their red bean shaved snow with rice cake and added chrysanthemum jelly. My stomach is grumbling just thinking about it. It’s the best shaved ice/snow that I’ve ever had, totally worth all the calories! The only downfall was that there weren’t enough toppings. By the time we got through with half the bowl, we were already out of all the red beans, rice cake, and jelly. (Note to self: Get extra rice cake for all future visits. Yum!)

I’m definitely going back again this week for the mango or green tea shaved snow.

(It’s been a while since I had the food here. I remember thinking it was alright, but not particularly noteworthy. I remember I used to get this one dry noodle dish with chicken. If I try the food again, I’ll update this post.)

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SAN GABRIEL: Liang’s Kitchen

Posted in food, los angeles, recommended, restaurants by sue on January 21, 2011

227 W Valley Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 281-1898

Price: Cheap
Rating: Great
Directions: Get off at Del Mar Ave on the 10
Reservations: Not accepted
Must Get: Spicy wontons, beef roll, oxtail, beef noodle soup

This is now my new favorite Taiwanese spot in LA. The food here is pretty amazing. I loved the spicy wontons. The beef roll was delicious, but could have done with more cilantro inside. I got their oxtail noodles (pictured above) which I loved because it was garlicky, but I think I would rather get a side of oxtail and their beef noodle soup next time. I didn’t have their beef noodles this trip, but I had a sip of Ally’s broth and liked it. The only disappointing thing we got was their scallion pancake which lacked scallions! There were barely any in the pancake, so the flavor was just not there. Ally, John, and I went late, so there were plenty of empty tables, but I hear the wait is usually long. And the servers were really nice. I’m bringing my momma here next time!

p.s. They have locations in Rowland Heights, Arcadia, and Irvine too.

SAN GABRIEL: Half and Half Tea House 伴伴堂

Posted in food, los angeles, not recommended, restaurants by sue on January 13, 2011

120 N San Gabriel Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91775
(626) 309-9387

Price: Pricey
Rating: Still overrated
Directions: Get off at San Gabriel Blvd on the 10
Reservations: N/A, but there are seats/tables
Must Get: Nothing

I decided to give Half and Half another shot since I did not have their specialty drinks the first time, so at this trip I had their Taro Honey Boba Milk Tea, half sugar, less ice. Even at half sugar, the drink was still really sweet. The sugar masked all the tea flavor which still was not great tea and I could barely tell the difference between their honey boba and regular boba from other places. The only way I’d come back here again is if someone really wanted to try it, but I would probably stay away from their tea and order their Taiwanese snacks instead.

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CITY OF INDUSTRY: Half and Half Tea House 伴伴堂

Posted in food, los angeles, not recommended, restaurants by sue on January 13, 2011

17575 Colima Rd
Industry, CA 91748
(626) 810-8778

Price: Pricey
Rating: Eh… It’s overrated
Directions: Get off at Fullerton on the 60
Reservations: N/A, there are barely any seats
Must Get: Nothing

After two attempts at trying this place but leaving due to the long, long wait, I decided to give it a shot one day when I was early to meet a friend for dinner down in LA. I went before nightfall, so there was no line here at all. I got my drink and was out of there within 5 minutes, compared to the twenty minutes Debbie and I had attempted to wait one day only to give up because we were in a rush. Anyway, is the line and wait warranted? Heck no. Their green milk tea was horrible. It didn’t even taste like tea. It was worse than my own attempt of making green milk tea by just adding milk and sugar to the green tea I boiled at home. And the cup sizes?? What idiot designed that? If you are going to have to-go cups in LA, please make sure they fit in the cup holders in cars. It’s only the smart thing to do. Instead I had to tilt this cup to the side and worry about it spilling all over my car. Ugh, such stupidity.

Anyway, if you’ve been here before, you’re probably thinking well, she just got the wrong drink. Read my next post. I went to the one in San Gabriel the day after to try their “specialty” drinks with the honey boba too. (Spoiler alert: it still sucked.)

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HACIENDA HEIGHTS: Tasty Noodle House

Posted in food, los angeles, not recommended, restaurants by sue on January 12, 2011

1611 S. Azusa Ave
Hacienda Heights, CA 91745

Price: Cheap
Rating: Horrible
Directions: Get off at Azusa on the 60
Reservations: Unneccessary
Must Get: Nothing

Their spicy wontons were not good. The sauce left a weird after taste in my mouth, but I imagine the wontons themselves would be decent. They’re a pretty decent size and filled with lots of veggies.

The pork chop noodles were a joke. The broth reminded me of used hot pot soup, a bunch of flavors that just didn’t really go together. I had to douse my noodles in soy sauce and chili sauce to give it some edible flavor. The pork chop itself was more breading than meat. Worst part is it really needed that ketchup that came on the side.

My brother said their pan-fried dumplings were decent though, but I doubt I’ll come back to find out.

Do not bother trying this place. Save the $10 and an hour of your life.

ROWLAND HEIGHTS: Phoenix Food Boutique 鳳城

Posted in food, los angeles, recommended, restaurants by sue on January 9, 2011

www.phoenixfoodboutique.com
18166 Colima Rd
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
626 965 8688

Price: Cheap
Rating: Great
Directions: Get off at Fullerton on the 60
Reservations: Not Accepted
Must Get: Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings, Green Milk Tea, Mango and Coconut Mochi Rolls, Coconut and Taro Jello

I am in love with this place. I’ve been a number of times in the past, but I did not appreciate it until I moved back to LA. The stuff here is great. I usually stick to their tea and dessert, but I got their House Special Fried Noodles and their Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings the other day. The noodles were alright, nothing special, but their chicken wings were amazing– not oily, perfectly crisp, and just the right amount of flavor. We finished the first order so quickly, we had to get another even though we had just eaten two hours before.

I’ve had green milk tea from a number of places in the area this past month– Ten Ren, Tea Station, Phoenix, Half and Half, some random restaurants– and I have to say Phoenix is now on the top of my list. The tea flavor is really strong and it’s not too sweet. (I always get half sugar, less ice at every tea shop by the way.) Now that i’ve discovered their tea, I’ll have to stop going to Ten Ren, a shop I’ve been an avid fan of since I was in high school.

But if the tea is great, their desserts are out of this world. I can’t think of another place in SGV (San Gabriel Valley) that makes desserts like this place or in New York or Taiwan for that matter. Everything I’ve had here has been amazing, from their pre-made desserts to their hot made to order ones. They aren’t too sweet, but they’re really flavorful. As mentioned above, their mango coconut mochi rolls and their coconut taro jello are my favorite. They can be found in the glass counter when you walk in.

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ROWLAND HEIGHTS: Ding’s Garden 大合滷味

Posted in food, los angeles, restaurants by sue on January 9, 2011

18922 Gale Ave
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
626 810 0600

Price: Cheap
Rating: Good/Great
Directions: Get off at Nogales on the 60
Reservations: Not accepted
Must Get: Shanghai pan-fried buns

The Shanghai pan-friend buns (shengjianbao 生煎包) here are some of the best ones I’ve had in a while. They weren’t too doughy, had just the right amount of meat, and they were cooked thoroughly. Their spicy wontons (hongyou chaosou 紅油炒手) were pretty decent. The sauce was good despite the lack of peanut-ty taste I’ve grown accustomed to from the ones I’ve had in Taiwan. They were a bit on the small side though, the amount of meat in each wonton was probably the size of a nickel.

I didn’t try their other dishes, so I don’t know if they’re any good, but based off those two dishes, I would come back and try something else. They offer boba (bubble for you New Yorkers) milk tea (and green milk tea!) for $1 if you order a noodle dish. Their boba green milk tea wasn’t bad. I’d definitely get that again for a buck.

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Hacienda Heights: Four Seas

Posted in food, los angeles, restaurants by sue on January 8, 2011

2020 S Hacienda Blvd
Hacienda Heights, CA 91745
626 330 3088

Price: Cheap
Rating: Good/Great
Directions: Get off at Hacienda Blvd on the 60
Reservations: Unnecessary
Must Get: Radish Cake with Egg, Egg pancake

I love Taiwanese breakfast. I miss going downstairs from my apartment in Taichung, sitting and wasting an hour in the morning by eating breakfast and studying Chinese. Or going to Yonghe (an area in Taipei) with my dad who orders a billion dishes because he hasn’t had them in ages. Ah well, Four Seas is a decent substitute.

Their radish cake with egg (luobogao jia dan 蘿蔔糕加蛋) is my favorite thing to order here, up next would be their egg pancake (danbing 蛋餅) but unfortunately their egg pancake comes plain and not with the variety of toppings they do in Taiwan. The soy milk here is pretty good, but early warning it comes without sugar so you have to add your own. I’ve seen people send it back thinking they got the wrong order only to get the salty soy milk which really is not what they ordered! Their fried dough (youtiao 油條) is not good though. It’s extremely oil, probably the oiliest fried dough I have ever had which is saying a lot. It’s not crispy or flaky which is what I love about youtiao. However, I haven’t found a place in LA that does a good job with it, so I guess if you are desperate, this will do. (There used to be a really good one when I was in junior high/high school. Sigh.)

They have an extensive menu, so if those dishes are not your typical Taiwanese breakfast, just give Four Seas a shot, I’m sure they probably have it. There’s no English menu here though, so make sure you go with someone who can speak/read Chinese, preferably Mandarin. The only things listed in English are the already prepared food sitting in the front of the restaurant.

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ARCADIA: Din Tai Fung

Posted in food, los angeles, restaurants by sue on January 7, 2011

www.dintaifungusa.com
1108 South Baldwin Avenue
Arcadia, CA 91007
626 574 7068

Price: Cheap
Rating: Great
Directions: Get off at Baldwin Ave on the 210
Reservations: Not Accepted
Must Get: Pork Soup Dumplings!!!!

DTF is a Taiwanese institution. It has locations in Taiwan, Japan, China, Korea, Malaysia, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and obviously the US. With so many branches, it’s no surprise that the food here is delicious. It is my absolute favorite place to get pork soup dumplings (xiaolongbao 小籠包), it beats out Joe’s Shanghai and Shanghai Cafe in New York in a heart beat. Hands down, no questions asked. That being said, it’s unfortunate that the one in Arcadia (LA) is still not as good as the ones in Taipei, but it has definitely improved throughout the years.

Besides their soup dumplings (they also offer a crab version, but I prefer pork), they are also known for their steamed chicken soup. I personally don’t think it’s amazing, but my parents love it. If you come here, pass on their noodles and their spicy wontons. Not good. (If you want Taiwanese style beef noodles 牛肉麵, head out to A & J in Irvine. My family has been going to this place for years.)

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HOMEMADE: Dan Zai Mein

Posted in food by sue on December 16, 2010

So now that you know how to make Taiwanese minced meat, here’s a recipe for Dan Zai Mein. Just heat up some noodles (I suggest you buy fresh noodles which can be found in the refrigerated section of an Asian market; do not buy dried noodles!) and the minced meat in separate pots/containers. After the noodles are ready, put them in a bowl and then cook some spinach in the same pot. After the meat is reheated thoroughly, add scoops of the meat and soup (from the meat) in the bowl with noodles. Then add the cooked spinach and cook some shrimp in that same pot if you want as well. After the shrimp is done, add it to the bowl with all the other ingredients. Since the soup from the meat will probably be too salty, you can add some hot water, soup from the noodles (I suggest scooping some out before you cooked the spinach and shrimp in there), or add chicken broth. Chicken broth would probably make it taste much better, but I think hot water is good enough. And then, you know me, I always top it off with some cilantro and green onions.

If you’re looking at the egg (soy egg, lu dan, 滷蛋, whatever you know it as) in the picture and wondering how to make it, it’s quite easy but you’ll have to make it while you are making the minced meat. Just add hard-boiled, already de-shelled eggs in after you add the water and the shallots. After 30 minutes, there will be some flavor on the eggs. Personally, I think this is when the flavor is perfect, but my parents prefer it more saturated with soy sauce. If you want heavily flavored, just cook everything longer. 45-60 minutes should do it.

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