Welcome to Meanwhile in the SGV, a semi-regular update on the restaurant scene in San Gabriel Valley. This month, a couple of cuisines fade from the SGV, San Marino makes an appearance in the update, and the inevitable tea house and hot pot changes.
Monterey Park: Malaysian comfort food chain PappaRich has closed in Atlantic Times Square. Billed as their flagship U.S. location, this was their third attempt at cracking the L.A. market (previous attempts were in Pasadena and Koreatown). Their Flushing (NYC) location remains open. It also marks yet more turnover at Atlantic Times Square. 500 N. Atlantic Blvd., Suite 116
City of Industry: A recent Chinese trend that has already arrived in the SGV is cheese foam-topped teas. Continuing this trend is another well-appointed tea house, HeekTea, which derives its name from the previous name of a popular Chinese chain. Cheese foam-topped fruit smoothies and tiramisu foam teas are other menu notables.
The foam teas mirror nearby Tan-Cha (formerly Tancca), while cheese foam teas are also a specialty of Happy Lemon, which has outlets inside Sunmerry Bakery locations. Interestingly, a new Sunmerry is close to opening a couple of doors down. Coincidence? 18234 E. Gale Ave.
Temple City: Taking over the former Green Island space is Xiang Yuan Gourmet. A menu of dim sum, live seafood, and other Cantonese items comes alongside a selection of Hunan-style entrées. Are there two cuisines more diametrically opposed than Cantonese and Hunan? 9556 Las Tunas Dr.
Temple City: Organic Asian-fusion mini-chain Green Zone is currently in soft opening phase at Camellia Square. When that ends, the new location will become the first Green Zone to offer a breakfast menu, which will offer omelets, pancakes and Taiwanese breakfast favorites fan tuan and dan bing. 5728 Rosemead Blvd., Unit 106
San Gabriel: A menu with a focus on beef is rare for the SGV, but that’s the case with Ludingji, which serves Yunnan-style rice noodles in various soup bases with meats like brisket or spare ribs. An explanation is that beef is more common in Yunnan than in other provinces. It replaces one of the earliest SGV hot pot exponents, Lu Gi. 539 W. Valley Blvd.
San Gabriel: Literally just around the corner from Ludingji, it’s one Sichuan hot pot out, one Sichuan hot pot in, as Hot Penjing replaces China Pot King. Hot Penjing bills itself as serving authentic Chengdu-style hot pot. They’ll also serve skewers, of course. 1558 New Ave.
South El Monte: One of the rare restaurants serving Lao cuisine, A&J Asian Kitchen, is closed. The restaurant also had Thai and Vietnamese items, but it was their small menu of distinctive Lao items set them apart. No word on what’s coming in next. 9805 Garvey Ave.
Rosemead: Located in a strip mall between Valley and Garvey, Pho Ga District replaces another Vietnamese restaurant, Trung Nguyen. A 17-item menu sports pho, including the titular pho ga. 3119 San Gabriel Blvd.
San Marino: With the opening of Potato & Tea, San Marino finally has a tea house to call its own. They’ll serve a selection of teas, flavored fries, and snacks. 2968 Huntington Dr.
San Gabriel: Speaking of Tan-Cha, they’ve recently opened in Hilton Plaza, replacing Aurora Korean Dessert Café. As mentioned above, teas topped with cheese or tiramisu foam are the specialties. This is their second SGV location and first in the western SGV.227 W. Valley Blvd., Suite 118-B
Alhambra: Another hot pot place, San Pang Zi Ma La Tang, has opened in the bowling alley surrounding strip mall. Black tripe and spring rape are among the add-ins one can get for their hot pot. The space last housed an acupressure place. 1402 E. Valley Blvd.