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Classic Taiwanese Diner Old Country Cafe Closes After 33 Years in SGV

Plus tons of other updates from San Gabriel Valley’s dynamic restaurant scene

Old Country Cafe
Old Country Cafe, Alhambra
Matthew Kang

Welcome to Meanwhile in the SGV, a regular collection of San Gabriel Valley updates from Eater’s roving reporter, Jim Thurman. This month a couple of long-time spots close, a return of some Malaysian dishes and more Sichuan and rice noodles.

Alhambra— The word venerable gets tossed around too lightly, but it truly applied to Old Country Café. After 33-plus years, the oldest continuously operated Taiwanese restaurant at the same location in the SGV has closed. Opened in 1984, the funky diner with quirky charm served home-style fare that inspired positive reviews and a warm, thoughtful essay. It’s unclear when exactly it closed but the last review on Yelp was in late March. Their Temple City location remains, with the same menu of Taiwanese favorites. With the closure, Lee’s Garden is the longest operating Taiwanese restaurant in SGV. 2 E. Valley Blvd.

San Gabriel— Another significant loss came with the closing of Shen Yang. With its large, diverse menu of Dongbei-style items, it was a notch above other northeastern Chinese restaurants. No word on its replacement. 137 S. San Gabriel Blvd.

Jim Thurman

Alhambra— New to the space that formerly housed night club/bar/restaurant Ambiente is Panasia. As the name implies, there’s a pan-Asian menu, though not all the usual suspects. Notable among the wide-ranging offerings are several Malaysian dishes, something not seen in the area since Papparich closed its Atlantic Times Square flagship. It’s also a short distance from the former site of long-time Malaysian restaurant, Yazmin. 45 S. Garfield Ave.

City of Industry— There’s no let up from the Sichuan invasion, as more spicy eateries continue to open in SGV. Latest in the East SGV is Flower Peppers Szechuan Bistro, which, based on a menu that includes Leshan beef soup, bobo chicken and toothpick lamb, is modeled a bit after Sichuan Impression. It replaces BBQ Up, a Korean and fusion barbecue that lasted just four months. 18268 E. Gale Ave., Suite B

Rosemead— The Hot Star Large Fried Chicken location on Garvey has thrown in its plastic gloves. In the last month, the proprietor had also been making fresh Shandong-style jian bing to order. Having already lost a Pasadena location, the Taiwanese fried chicken breast chain is down just one outlet in Rowland Heights. 7540 Garvey Ave.

Qin’s Garden
Jim Thurman

San Gabriel— Yunnan rice noodles and rice noodle soups are the specialty at Qin’s Garden. There are also some pan-Chinese favorites, such as xiao long bao and skewers aplenty. It replaces Brother Spicy Hot, which replaced the acclaimed Lucky Noodle King. 534 E. Valley Blvd., Suite 10

Arcadia— Though one can’t tell from a distance, You & Me Dining has replaced Super Kingfu Master. The new tenant is a sit-down Taiwanese restaurant previously located in Diamond Bar. Look for three cup chicken, pork intestines, and other Taiwanese favorites on a menu that also features plenty of Pan-Chinese items as well. 558 Las Tunas Dr.

Monterey Park— Japanese ramen and curry spot MF Noodle has closed after eight months. Those MF Noodles have been replaced by Ah-La Noodles, which features a menu of Shanghainese noodles, appetizers, and a few dim sum items. The space housed Pearl’s Restaurant for decades until it closed in 2015. 644 W. Garvey Ave.

Fensanity, Arcadia
Jim Thurman

Arcadia— 100% Fensanity has replaced duck part purveyor Jue Wei Kitchen in Arcadia Center. The focus is on rice bowls and bowls of rice noodles, or fen (get it?). Tan tan mian (their spelling) and wontons in chili oil also turn up on the menu. Jue Wei Kitchen retains their San Gabriel location. 655 W. Duarte Rd., Suite C

Rowland Heights— In the ever-changing Pacific Plaza Food Court, Wu’s Kitchen has gone down for the count. All spaces in the food court have now turned over in a little more than a year, save for stalwart Little Shanghai, which stays busy and keeps on a motorin’ along. 18457 E. Colima Rd., Suite C

San Gabriel— The space at the front of Hawaii Supermarket is now Green Kitchen. A pan-Chinese menu is highlighted by their Silly Signature Entrées (one being olive bacon fried rice). It replaces Mrs. Charming’s Drinks & Cake Boutique. 120 E. Valley Blvd.

Lucky 1 Restaurant
Jim Thurman

Rosemead— After sitting empty a couple of months, there’s a replacement for Shanghai Bistro. Lucky 1 Restaurant features a dim sum menu, making the tiny restaurant among the smaller serving dim sum. The non-dim sum menu skews Shanghainese, continuing the path of the last two tenants. 7637 Garvey Ave.

Rowland Heights— In the area once known as Otterbein, Huashi Garden, which featured Sichuan, Hunan, and Huiyang-style cuisine, has gone dark. The restaurant was one of a growing number in the ESGV open late. 19240 E. Colima Rd.