Welcome to Meanwhile in the SGV, a regular update of San Gabriel Valley’s bustling restaurant and dining scene from roving reporter Jim Thurman. This month, another iconic SGV favorite has closed, a leading East SGV dim sum spot heads west, and Nothingness pushes back its opening again.
San Gabriel— Left homeless by the fire that gutted the Valley & New Center, Ludingji has re-opened in Sunny Plaza. The new location of the Yunnan rice noodle soup specialist is several blocks to the east. It replaces a skewer joint, Yummy BBQ, which lasted nearly three years. Yummy BBQ continues on with their Monterey Park location in an area that could be called “Skewer Row.” 529 E. Valley Blvd., Suite 108B
Rowland Heights— Yunnan rice noodles seem to be having their time. In addition to Ludingji, there is now another specialist in the East SGV called Mr. Rice. Thin rice noodles in soup are the fare here, often with beef. Yunnan’s signature “Crossing The Bridge Noodles” (listed as guo qiao rice noodle) is served traditionally, with the various ingredients added to the chicken broth at the table. It replaces the interestingly named hot pot place Clay Poq. 1745 Fullerton Rd.
Monterey Park— The replacement for beloved Dean Sin World is Mee Doh Ho. The tiny, remodeled space is now to-go only, with a pared down list of items. Many favorites still remain, such as the “crab shell” pastries, and a freezer case filled with xiao long bao, dumplings, and wontons. It’s unclear whether the Lu family is still involved, as attempts at clarification have resulted in conflicting information. 306 N. Garfield Ave., Suite 2
San Gabriel— The Memory Restaurant has become just that. Originally a Sichuan whole fish restaurant, the name remained as the restaurant became a satellite to Alhambra’s touted Sichuan restaurant The Legendary. The new tenant is Genghis Khan, a Korean seafood restaurant that specializes in spicy crab and features a menu remarkably similar to Mid-City eatery Ondal 2. 227 W. Valley Blvd., Suite 128-C
Rosemead— An interesting addition to the Vietnamese restaurant ranks has arrived with Red 9 Vietnamese Kitchen. Going against the expansive menus of some recent Vietnamese restaurant openings, Red 9 features a focused, 21-item menu. Most notably among those is a rare SGV sighting of bun ca, a flavorful fish noodle soup popular in Central Vietnam. It replaces Pho Queen Bee. 8766 Valley Blvd.
Temple City— Ye Loy Chinese Food was an anachronistic anomaly, serving Americanized Chinese food in an area surrounded by Chinese restaurants. Open since 1953, the owner stepped aside late last year. Early this year, acclaimed Taiwanese eatery BeBe Fusion was displaced from its Alhambra location via building sale. Now, the Ye Loy space has become the new home of what was BeBe Fusion, though the American name and signage remain as Ye Loy Chinese Food. 9406 Las Tunas Dr.
El Monte— After five years, Ahgoo Kitchen has closed. The restaurant, also known as Ahgoo’s, was renowned for their huge, onion-stuffed sesame onion cake and niu rou mian (Taiwanese beef noodle soup). The replacement is Tasty Dumpling Kitchen, which features a small, but varied menu. As Chinese food writer David Chan has pointed out, there are only three dumpling choices, which is odd for a place featuring dumpling in its name. SGV vets will remember the small space and address as home to Dumpling 10053, which Jonathan Gold once recommended. 10053 Valley Blvd., Suite 5
Monterey Park— Gui Lin Cuisine, one of the few restaurants that served the spicy, vinegary rice noodles from Guilin, China has closed after an eight-year run. The replacement is a build-your-own spicy Taiwanese hot pot eatery called Yin Tang Hot & Spicy. Diners select ingredients from various bars, then they weigh the whole caboodle, a la frozen yogurt spots. 138 E. Garvey Ave., Suite C
San Gabriel— When Eastern Spice started selling duck parts and jian bing at the window of a former Wienerschnitzel, it marked a near peak SGV moment. Eastern Spice has changed into The Better Food (try Googling that name). It hasn’t been determined whether this is a just a name change, but about half the original menu remains, including the spam filled jian bing. “Exploding chicken”, what looks to be fried chicken that oozes cheese, is a new item. 1811 S. San Gabriel Blvd.
El Monte— Situated in a strip mall that sat perpendicularly between two Arcadia streets, cozy Taiwanese eatery Night Owl Café USA was easy to miss. Known for their guo baos and bento boxes, they’ve moved to a new location that is even more difficult to spot, this one in a cramped strip mall that is again perpendicular to traffic. 9928 Lower Azusa Rd.