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The Baked Catfish at San Gabriel’s Famed Phong Dinh Returns, and More SGV News

Plus a relocation in Rowland Heights, and a closure in Temple City

Sau Can Tho Vietnamese Kitchen in Rosemead
Jim Thurman

Welcome to Meanwhile in the SGV, a regular collection of San Gabriel Valley updates from Eater’s roving reporter, Jim Thurman. This month, the return of a class San Gabriel dish, a shutter in Temple City, and a hip new spot in Alhambra.

Rosemead: Since Phong Dinh closed, its devotees have suffered from baked catfish withdrawal. But thankfully now they’re back, albeit under a new name: Sau Can Tho Vietnamese Kitchen in Rosemead. In addition to their famous whole baked catfish, a typically extensive menu includes some exotic meat dishes.

While hidden from street view behind Diep Thanh Thanh, the new space is much roomier and brighter than their last location on Valley in San Gabriel, a building that has since been demolished. 8450 Garvey Ave., Suite 230

P&R Taste

Rowland Heights: After a short break to relocate, P&R Taste has re-opened a few miles to the east. The lone SGV restaurant serving a couple of specialties from the southern Chinese city of Hangzhou, the new location is in the plaza on the northeast corner at Colima and Fullerton. It replaces Pho Huynh. 18347 Colima Rd.

San Gabriel: What’s in a name? The Memory Restaurant has changed ownership and menu, but retains the name. What was a whole fish restaurant has become a Sichuan-style eatery run by the owner of Alhambra’s The Legendary. Look for a smaller, more focused menu of some of the same Sichuan dishes available at the somewhat touted Alhambra sister site. 227 W. Valley Blvd., Suite 128 C

Arcadia: At one time, Tasty Garden was the king of SGV Hong Kong cafés. The local chain expanded to several bustling locations before some issues led to a sell-off. Now, what was the second Tasty Garden has become a third location of The Noodle. With an emphasis on breakfast combos and lunch specials, a large menu of Hong Kong/Cantonese fare remains, though lacking many of the more interesting Tasty Garden items.

For one, the popular Hong Kong waffle is conspicuously absent, and the dessert display case at the back has been replaced by a BBQ meats counter. The late night hours are also gone, as 11 p.m. is closing time. Meanwhile, a few restaurants continue operating as Tasty Garden, despite receipts giving different names in the end. 1212 S. Baldwin Ave.

The Noodle

City of Industry: An eastern branch of Ludingji Noodles has replaced Remy’s Noodle Palace. Serving Yunnan-style rice noodles with a choice of soup base and meat, the first outlet of the Chinese chain opened last July in San Gabriel. 18211 E. Gale Ave.

San Gabriel: What’s in a name, part two. The October report noted the Focus Plaza restaurant known as Northern Chinese Restaurant would continue under that name, despite ownership and menu changes. Well, no more. The restaurant now goes by Cindy’s Noodleland, the name of its Arcadia sister restaurant (another operates in the former Liang’s Kitchen in Monterey Park). Of course, the overhead signage still reads Northern Chinese Restaurant. Regardless of signage or name, the menu features some of the best Shaanxi and Henan-style lamb and noodle dishes in the SGV. 140 W. Valley Blvd., #209

San Gabriel: An early arrival in the wave of mainland Chinese chains in the SGV has shuttered. Chuan Ren Bai Wei didn’t survive, despite being a Sichuan-style restaurant during the SGV Sichuan boom, though it did last a bit more than three years. The replacement is Pho Mai, a Vietnamese restaurant with a fairly large menu beyond pho. 6420 Rosemead Blvd.

Pho Mai

Alhambra: New downtown is Next Republic Artisan Kitchen, a stylish spot serving tapas, Asian fusion and New American fare from Jason Tsai, the man behind Monterey Park’s Macchiato and The Bleu House in Hacienda Heights. 119 W. Main St.

Temple City: The Temple City location of Seafood Village is closed for “renovation.” A sign posted in the window points prospective diners to their Monterey Park and City of Industry locations. 9669 Las Tunas Dr.

Alhambra: Hot pot place San Pang Zi Ma La Tang has closed. The space, a former acupressure clinic, is now Rice Kitchen, which features plates of meat or vegetables served alongside rice. 1402 E. Valley Blvd.

Temple City: A small selection of Taiwanese favorites make up the menu at the new Lodeka. This means meats like pork chop, beef shank and Taiwanese sausage served over rice, or with noodles in a soup. There are also “tea snacks” like popcorn chicken. 10689 Lower Azusa Rd.

Lodeka in Temple City