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San Gabriel Valley Is in the Middle of a Meat Skewer Takeover, and More SGV Intel

From noodles to booze, what to know about east of Los Angeles

Noodle Kitchen, Rowland Heights
Jim Thurman

Welcome to Meanwhile in the SGV, a regular update of San Gabriel Valley updates from Eater’s roving reporter, Jim Thurman.

This month: A Chiu Chow seafood favorite returns, the quintessential Hong Kong breakfast place adds an eastern branch, and more skewers with (and without) beer.

Monterey Park: Rising from the ashes Phoenix-like is Seafood Palace. Closed since a serious fire in December 2015, the Chiu Chow/Cantonese seafood specialist has finally re-opened after a lengthy rebuild and remodel. Diners might also know it as the place a group of visiting Michelin-starred Hong Kong chefs kept returning to, especially for the house crab. 684 W. Garvey Ave.

San Gabriel: Long-time Vietnamese spot Phong Dinh has closed on Valley. Word is they will have a new location, but can’t say where or when. Known for their baked whole catfish and game meat dishes (alligator, kangaroo, etc.), the restaurant was previously located on San Gabriel Boulevard where Pho Filet 2 currently sits, and at one point had a second location in Monterey Park. 107 E. Valley Blvd.

Monterey Park: Xinjiang BBQ has opened at the back corner of Garfield Gardens. As one might expect, this is a skewer joint. Named for the autonomous region in far northwestern China, look for all things lamb on a skewer, including testicles and genitals. Don’t look for pork or any alcohol, though. It replaces Ju Fu Lai Seafood, which opened earlier this year in a space that has seen at least five restaurants since 2014. 306 N. Garfield Ave., A-12

Alhambra: Yao’s Restaurant has closed, taking some interesting menu items with it. The an unusual SGV restaurant featuring food from the China-North Korea border region, Yao’s was the only place known to have corn noodles. Yao’s also had cold noodles, congees and skewers. The replacement will be Xin Lan BBQ, another skewers place, this one with beer. 1277 E. Valley Blvd.

Hacienda Heights: A second branch of SGV Hong Kong breakfast king Delicious Food Corner will soon open in Bixby Hacienda Plaza. Known for long lines and the accompanying parking woes at their twice-enlarged Monterey Park location, look for congees, rice noodle rolls, and breakfast combo specials. It replaces Tasty Bao, which earned some ink for its colored baos. 17170 Colima Rd., Suite H

Rowland Heights: One of the vendors at the 626 Night Market, Hugo Foods, has opened a brick and mortar location in the Pacific Plaza Food Court. Look for Taiwanese snack favorites, such as stinky tofu and popcorn chicken, plus a unique item: fish roe sausage. It replaces Little Yunnan, which opened in January. 18457 E. Colima Rd., Suite H

Arcadia: Speaking of HK/Cantonese-style breakfast places, Mr. Champion has opened. Look for a smallish menu of rice noodle rolls, noodles soups, porridges, and rice plates. 168 Las Tunas Dr., Suite 107

San Gabriel: On the coffee front, Regent Coffee has closed and been replaced by Café Floret, a combination coffee house/florist. Eater is told the new place will continue to use Regent beans, while the Regent owners concentrate on their recently opened Glendale location. 1841 S. San Gabriel Blvd.

City of Industry: One crawfish eatery out, one crawfish eater in, as BaLi Crawfish has replaced 7 Crawfish at the front of Four Seasons Plaza. Three crawfish options, two shrimp and baked oysters with a few add-ins and sides are the extent of a small, ultra-focused menu. 18518 E. Gale Ave.

Rowland Heights: In Diamond Plaza, Korean pork BBQ specialist Junkabok by Mokkoji has remade itself into Junkabok Ramen House, with accompanying menu changes. 1380 Fullerton Rd., Suite 104

El Monte: Completely invisible from the street, Crispy & Fluffed has opened. A small menu of pastries, ice cream, and drinks is highlighted by the unique option of having ice cream atop a pineapple (bolo) bun. 10418 Lower Azusa Rd.

Monterey Park: The informally known “dessert row” is down one with the closure of Kung Fu Soy, which featured desserts using grass jelly, aiyu jelly, tofu puddings, and shaved ices. 141 N. Atlantic Blvd., Suite 107

Rowland Heights: The opening of Noodle Kitchen - Shanghai Cuisine marks the first new Shanghainese place in the ESGV for a bit. A large, far ranging menu includes Shanghainese favorites such as shen jian bao, xiao long bao, and rice cakes. 18977 Colima Rd.