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Monterey Park Is the Chinese Skewers Capital of America, and More from SGV

Plus northern Chinese cuisine rebounds

Skewers from Shao Kao BBQ
Lucas Peterson

Welcome to Meanwhile in the SGV, a regular update of San Gabriel Valley updates from Eater’s roving reporter, Jim Thurman. This month: Northern Café keeps expanding, a Vietnamese eatery opens a second location and a restaurant closes and re-opens with the same English name.

Monterey Park: The former home of long-time breakfast spot Har Lam Kee will become Yummy BBQ. This will be the second Yummy BBQ location, joining one in San Gabriel’s Sunny Plaza. It also means there are at least six dedicated skewer places within a one mile radius, along with several other restaurants that serve them. Monterey Park surely is “The Chinese Skewer Capital of the United States.” 169 W. Garvey Ave.

Jim Thurman

San Gabriel: In San Gabriel Square, Northern Cuisine Restaurant closed and has been replaced by…Northern Cuisine Restaurant. The new owner/operators have chosen to keep the same English name despite wholesale menu changes. The new restaurant is run by the folks behind the Monterey Park Liang’s Kitchen and Arcadia’s Cindy’s Noodleland, and features the same Shaanxi and Henan-style menu used at the other restaurants, including some of the best lamb and noodle dishes in the SGV.

The previous restaurant featured Dongbei and Northern Chinese dishes and opened just three months ago. This marks the third restaurant in the space in 2017. 140 W. Valley Blvd., Suite 209

Jim Thurman

Temple City: Another Northern Café has opened. The burgeoning chain now has six locations, including Westwood and Beverly Grove. The menu is consistent with most of their other locations, with dumplings and beef rolls part of a pan-Chinese menu. It replaces a Golden House. This is Northern Cafe’s third SGV location. 9608 Las Tunas Dr.

Jim Thurman

Monterey Park: Continuing the trend of Chengdu-style Sichuan restaurants, Meet with Chengdu has opened in the former Wok Crab space. Much of the menu will look suspiciously familiar to anyone that has eaten at the acclaimed Szechuan Impression (e.g. Golden Soup, Bobo Chicken, etc.). 910 E. Garvey Ave.

Jim Thurman

San Gabriel: China based hot pot chain Shancheng Lameizi will be opening a West SGV location. Purveyors of spicy Chongqing-style hot pots, their first SGV location, which opened in a former Burger King in Rowland Heights, debuted to long lines a year ago. It replaces another Chinese hot pot chain, Chengdu Pot. 1530 S. San Gabriel Blvd.

Rosemead: Vietnamese restaurant Com Tam Kieu has opened a second location, just 1.4 miles from their San Gabriel Blvd. location. Known for their broken rice (com tam) plates, the extensive menu is similar to the original location and features a wide range of Vietnamese cuisine. It replaces Pho Bang. 8450 Valley Blvd.

Jim Thurman

Monterey Park: New to the GW Supermarket plaza is Noodle(s) Street 108, which as the name might imply, serves a small menu of noodle bowls one might find at a street stall. These include dan dan noodle soup and Zha jiang noodle soup. 419 N. Atlantic Blvd., Suite 108

Jim Thurman

Monterey Park: Hong Kong-style Younique Café has closed after a six-plus year run. Its replacement is Hometown Café, a Sichuan restaurant with a menu that retains many of the HK/Cantonese/Western-style items. In its early days, the waitresses attire and modern décor gave Younique Café a James Bond/Austin Powers feel. 220 W. Garvey Ave.

Rosemead: The latest in a long line of Cantonese seafood restaurants to open in the same space is Longo Seafood Restaurant. Previous tenants are too many to mention, but the most recent was Crown Palace. 7540 Garvey Ave.

Rowland Heights: In the area that was once known as Otterbein (look that up for some fascinating local history), Friendly Hipot has closed and will be replaced by a ramen & musubi house. Friendly Hi-Pot was a build-your-own hot pot/dry pot place that opened in October 2016, when it replaced the eastern branch of dumpling and bao specialist Qingdao Bread Food. 19255 Colima Rd.

Jim Thurman