And now, a semi-regular update from San Gabriel Valley's vibrant restaurant scene:
1) San Gabriel: The opening of Chengdu Lao Zao this month has garnered major buzz from Sichuanese expats in L.A. Both the chef at Chengdu Taste and the restaurateurs behind Szechuan Impression have voiced their approval of this brand new Sichuan "old oil" hot potting experience which took over Hwa-Ro Korean BBQ.
"Old oil" is not gutter oil, but a long-simmered broth, packed with tallow, preferred by the Chengduer for the mouth feel and flavor. Currently, there is a crackdown in Chengdu city against "old oil" due to the fear of gutter oil, and the price of Chengdu-style old pot is set to rise as U.S. beef imports into China is still banned. Look for pork brain, bullfrog, and other authentic Chengdu potting ingredients at Old Pot. 227 W Valley Blvd, #138A
2) Alhambra: CremeBee, a HoneyMee knock-off, soft opened on Main St on July 4th. Luckily, Creme Bee touts better ingredients than HoneyBee by offering local raw honey and organic soft serve. 137 W Main St
3) Arcadia: Buddy Chicken and Boba will be coming into the Santa Anita Mall this fall. This is a well loved giant (nearly half-pound) fried chicken cutlet concept from Taiwan started by three unemployed cookware salesmen. Handheld chicken cutlets are popular street food snacks at Taiwan night markets and Buddy Chicken has over 500 outlets in China & Taiwan. Westfield Santa Anita, Unit 2105
4) Monterey Park: Pearl's, a 30-year old relic in the Monterey Park dumpling scene, has been replaced by tea fresh after an interior revamp. The tiny restaurant, which seats less than 20, now prominently features Hainan chicken rice in addition to typical Taiwanese fare previously hawked at Pearl's. With the recent opening of Grand Central Cafe, as well as the move of Man Chan — a Hainan chicken rice specialist — from Rowland Heights to San Gabriel, Hainan chicken rice is suddenly the hottest dish in west SGV outside of Sichuanese hot pot. 644 W Garvey Ave
5) Alhambra: With over 12 locations in California, Sharetea, a 23-year old Taiwanese boba milk tea chain with more than 200 global franchises, is opening its first West SGV location. Sharetea arrived on the US Coast first in the Bay Area, then recently opened in both Chino Hills as well as Cerritos, two Taiwanese strongholds in LA County. Look for freshly shaken milk teas brewed from Taiwanese tea leaves, plus customizable sugar and ice content. 709 W Las Tunas Dr
6) Monterey Park: Uni Boil has taken over Dong Du Hot Pot which didn't last a year. The soft opening was yesterday. This is the restaurant's second location. 500 N Atlantic Blvd Ste 127