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Panda Express Opening in Monterey Park, Poke Craze Hits SGV, More

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Four hot pot restaurants open in SGV in two months.

And now, a semi-regular update from San Gabriel Valley's vibrant restaurant scene:

1) Monterey Park: The unthinkable is happening. Monterey Park, the city in America with highest percentage of Chinese-Americans is getting a Panda Express. The shopping center already hosts Chipotle and a Starbucks, and seemed destined to host every single new hip chain restaurant in Monterey Park. Councilwoman Teresa Real Sebastian has been actively soliciting "national brands" to Monterey Park since she joined the city council in 2011. She apparently approached Panda Express after Chipotle opened in the same plaza. 2086 S Atlantic Blvd

Private Party, Monterey Park

2) Monterey Park: Private Party. This is a hot pot joint that replaced Szechuan Hot Pot and BBQ. Street scouts mention the pot base is more Beijing and closer to shabu shabu than actual Sichuan hot potting. 111 N. Atlantic Blvd #349

3) Walnut: HJH Simmer Pot, a part of a massive chain from China, opened just in time to face El Nino head on. This is, obviously, yet another hot pot restaurant, but the focus is on the "three juice" soup base. 308 N Lemon Ave

4) Rowland Heights: Five Bread and Two Fish: The "Taiwnese Eatery" has opened at the old Dolphin Bay location after an interior refresh. There are no Christian knick knacks beyond the BFC sign "Bikers for Christ." The interior displays a modern rustic sensibility with a bit of Ikea tossed in. The menu remains eerily similar to Dolphin Bay, but the improved food quality (touting house made spicy chili oil) is Jesus approved. 19253 Colima Rd

China Pot King

5) San Gabriel: China Pot King will take over the old Wonderful space across 168 Market. This is a self-proclaimed Sichuan style hot potting venture, currently the hottest trend in China right now. Beer and wine license pending. 1558 New Ave,

Congee King

6) San Gabriel: Memory Restaurant is no more. The interior has been cleaned and flipped, and Congee King is apparently taking over. Plaza signage is up, but signage on the restaurant is still nowhere to be seen. 227 W Valley

7) Temple City: O Young Rock Pot's Chinese name is a punny riff on the Chinese word for "Youth", and also a homonym of a Chinese rock band. The food is Hunan inspired stews and slow-braised dishes kept in heated stone pots similar to Korean dolsot bowls. Rice is served separately. They also serve Jiangxi style herbal soups. 9461 Las Tunas Dr.

8) San Gabriel: Meixinyi, a Cantonese style bakery, bucked the trend of copying 85 Degrees and opened at the bottom of a mixed use building on Valley Blvd. Look for bolo buns and the like. 526 E Vally Blvd

Pokiholic Monterey Park

9) Monterey Park: Pokiholics is part of the poke wave that has also spread to SGV. After over a month of operations, it has garnered solid reviews despite not removing the now-awkward Mongolian BBQ grill top. 2201 S Atlantic Blvd

10) Hacienda Heights: The massive Guppy House lasted three years after the opening of 85 Degreees in the same plaza, but the boba milk tea and Taiwanese snackery is no more. 17188 Colima Rd

Chongqing Dezhuang

11) San Gabriel: Chongqing Dezhuang, a restaurant possibly associated with a Sichuan hot pot chain with over 300 franchises in China, has opened in place of Spicy Shrimp 2188. 529 E Valley Blvd