Welcome to Meanwhile in the SGV, a regular report for San Gabriel Valley’s prolific and ever-changing restaurant scene. Reporting for the first time on Eater, roving reporter Jim Thurman finds all the latest highlights from America’s vibrant epicenter of Asian cuisine.
This month, a Koreatown favorite expands further eastward, a once touted restaurant resurfaces in Walnut and another regional Chinese cuisine turns up in San Gabriel.
Rowland Heights: Known for their sullungtang (beef bone broth) and galbijjim (spicy braised short rib stew) instagrammed by David Chang, Koreatown fave Sun Dong Nan has expanded to Rowland Heights. The opening marks their second SGV location, following San Gabriel, as the group takes over the space Boiling Crab vacated when they relocated across the Mandarin Plaza lot. 18902-A E. Gale Ave.
Rowland Heights: Diamond Plaza will soon be home to a second location of Beijing Tasty House. As the name implies, look for dishes from China’s capital city, something in surprisingly short supply in the SGV. No word on opening date, but the interior looks pretty far along. The space has seen a series of restaurants over the past couple of years, the last being a Hunan-style place that came and went so quickly as to almost become a thing of legend. 1370 Fullerton Rd., #105
Rowland Heights: Sichuan-style rice noodle specialist Noodology has opened in Hong Kong Plaza. The menu features 13 or 14 rice noodle dishes, skewing heavily to beef, such as Huaxi beef noodle. It replaces a ramen restaurant. 18406 Colima Rd., Suite D
San Gabriel: The man behind alcoholic boba and Boba 7, Elton Keung, now has his brick and mortar SGV tea house with the opening of Labobatory. Located next to Golden Deli, higher quality teas, boba prep and use of fresh fruit over syrups set it apart in the crowded tea house scene. Don’t look for alcoholic boba in San Gabriel, but Keung will continue to do pop-ups and hopes to get investors so he can open a full liquor boba cocktail bar later this year. 819 W. Las Tunas Dr.
Walnut: Over the years, Chuan Ma Noodle House was praised by many Los Angeles food scribes. It closed in Rowland Heights’ Hong Kong Plaza some time ago, but has resurfaced even further to the north and east as Chengdu Noodle House. The dan dan mian, homemade Sichuan-style sausage and spicy beef noodle soup that garnered the most acclaim are happily available at the new location. 810 N. Nogales St.
San Gabriel: Anhui cuisine is considered one of China’s eight great regional cuisines and one of the few not seen around the SGV. That changed when a small menu of Anhui-style items turned up at recently opened China Taste. Anhui cuisine is known for using braising and stewing cooking techniques and use of wild herbs. It replaces the wonderfully named Dezhuang Morals Village Hot Pot. 529 E. Valley Blvd., #108A
West Covina: The easternmost location of Hong Kong dessert specialist Premier Dessert has been replaced by Be Bee, which carries on with a similar menu augmented by a more extensive coffee and tea selection. The photogenic crepes and rice rolls, filled with fruits such as durian or mango, remain. Meanwhile, Premier Dessert still has their locations in Monterey Park, Arcadia and El Monte. 3646 S. Nogales St., Unit A
San Gabriel: Cantonese-style Ho Kee Café has opened in a building that has housed a wide range of restaurants over the past several years. The menu features porridges, chow meins, chow funs, rice dishes and Cantonese entrees. And, yes, there is walnut shrimp. 533 S. Del Mar Ave.
Rowland Heights: The ever changing Pacific Plaza food court lost its oldest tenant with the closing of the Four Seasons Steak House stall. Replacing it is Little Yunnan, which features a 13-item menu of Yunnan-style dishes, including the province’s signature Crossing the bridge noodles. 18457 Colima Rd. (inside Pacific Plaza Food Court)
Alhambra: In September, we told you about Hunan Fire n’ Spice. Well, that flame has gone out. Its replacement is Yu Ming Restaurant, which features a large Yunnan and Sichuan menu loaded with dishes familiar to anyone who has eaten at the Yunnan/Yunnan Garden family of restaurants. Are there Crossing the bridge noodles? Of course, there are. 640 W. Valley Blvd. #A
City of Industry: Northern Cuisine is slated to soft open on January 25. Photos in the window indicate some Dongbei-style items, such as guo bao rou, twice cooked pork. It replaces Sichuan eatery Kuan Zhai Alley. 17515-A Colima Rd.