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Duck served three ways with classic accompaniments.
Roast duck presentation at Array 36.
Wonho Frank Lee

25 Essential Chinese Restaurants in Los Angeles

Where to find the best regional Chinese delicacies in town

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Roast duck presentation at Array 36.
| Wonho Frank Lee

Los Angeles’s tremendous Chinese food scene keeps getting better and better. In recent years, some upscale new places have opened serving some of the highest-end Chinese food in the U.S., though there is still a wealth of reasonably-priced strip mall finds from Alhambra and Rowland Heights. The San Gabriel Valley in particular boasts some of the strongest regional Chinese restaurants anywhere, so it’s worth digging deep and searching out those small mom-and-pop spots hidden away in food courts or behind the main streets. Here now, are 25 of the essential Chinese restaurants in Los Angeles.

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

Chengdu Taste

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After running a successful restaurant in China and working at Panda Restaurant Group in Los Angeles, Tony Xu opened Alhambra’s Chengdu Taste in 2013. Angelenos quickly took notice of the restaurant’s fiery Sichuan cooking. One of the restaurant’s signature dishes is the diced rabbit with “younger sister’s secret recipe.” Other must-try dishes include the Sichuan-style mung bean jelly noodles with chile sauce, mapo tofu, and toothpick lamb with cumin. There’s an additional location in Rowland Heights for those who reside further east.

Yang's Kitchen

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Yang’s Kitchen is a hip and modern spot that strives to source local, sustainable, and organic ingredients when possible. The daytime and dinner menus draw from Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, and Californian influences. Yang’s Kitchen sources almost all of its vegetables from the farmers market. All proteins (meat, poultry, eggs, dairy seafood, etc.) are humanely raised with sustainability in mind. Chris Yang, the restaurant’s chef-owner, spotlights small dessert businesses by selling their pastries at the restaurant. Besides the constantly rotating desserts on hand, top dishes include the roasted squash kale salad, braised pork with multigrain rice, cold sesame noodles, chicken liver mousse, smoked salmon hash, breakfast plate, and mochi pancake.

A plate of Chinese-style ribs.
Aromatic ribs at Yang’s Kitchen in Alhambra.
Wonho Frank Lee

Xiaolongkan

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Xiaolongkan, a well-known Sichuan hot pot chain in China, making in the United States courtesy of the restaurateurs affiliated with Chengdu Taste and Mian. Diners can opt for one, two, or three kinds of broth. There’s a sauce-making station and an area stocked with snacks, desserts, and fruits. Notably, the buffet features all-you-can-eat offerings such as chicken feet, chips, sweet porridge, sweet jelly, glutinous rice balls, and even snow fungus.

Xiaolongkan caters to those who relish ‘ma la’ numbing spice, which enhances the hot pot experience. In addition to the standard meat selections like beef, chicken, and lamb, the menu encompasses various offal options, beef with raw egg, rose petal meatballs, and even spicy crawfish.

T-Kebob

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T-Kebob is a Chinese barbecue skewer restaurant with a Korean twist. Open late until midnight, it offers a vast variety of meats, vegetables, seafood, and carbs to choose from. The restaurant’s unique rotating machine ensures a hands-free, ideal blend of smokiness and tenderness with even cooking. Favorites include the cumin lamb skewers, pork belly, oyster mushrooms, and corn. There’s also a slew of offal selections like chicken gizzard, heart, and even bull penis on a skewer. All skewers are accompanied by both spicy and non-spicy powders and sauces.

Jiang Nan Spring

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Jiang Nan Spring specializes in Zhejiang cuisine made with lots of seafood and seasonal ingredients. Jiang Nan translates to “south of the river” and refers to the areas south of the Yangtze River, including Shanghai. One of the most unique items on the menu is the traditional Chinese dish beggar’s chicken. This dish rarely appears on menus because of its complexity and lengthy preparation. Beggar’s chicken consists of marinated chicken wrapped tightly in layers of lotus leaves, parchment paper, and dough baked slowly on low heat. Other house specialties include stir-fried crab with rice cakes, braised pork belly, lion’s head pork meatballs, eight treasure rice pudding, and osmanthus glutinous rice balls.

Southern Mini Town Restaurant

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Southern Mini Town is a Shanghainese restaurant that only has a few tables. The potstickers and pan-fried bao are a must. The sheng jian bao (pan-fried pork soup dumplings) are fluffy and juicy. Other must-order dishes include winter melon soup, Chinese okra with salted duck egg, pan-fried Shanghai rice cakes, Shanghainese eggplant, pork kidney, and clam stew egg custard. The pork hock is a popular dish that falls off the bone and the fried fish with seaweed powder should not be missed. Don’t forget to finish the meal with the osmanthus sweet soup with black sesame dumplings for dessert. 

Southern Mini Town Restaurant.
Southern Mini Town Restaurant
Cathy Chaplin

Newport Seafood Restaurant

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Newport Seafood is an institution in the San Gabriel Valley. The star dish is the house-special lobster fished from tanks and stir-fried with heaps of chopped chiles, scallions, roe, and garlic. The family-style restaurant uses Chinese, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Thai flavors. Signature items include lobster, shaking beef, crab with tamarind sauce, and sashimi-style elephant clams.

House-special lobster at Newport Seafood.
House-special lobster at Newport Seafood.
Cathy Chaplin

Nature Pagoda

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Nature Pagoda is a tiny mom-and-pop that has been around since the ’90s. The entire menu is based on traditional Chinese medicinal principles meant to balance the body for optimal health. The quaint restaurant serves traditional herbal teas and medicinal soups, but the star is clay pot rice (bao zai fan), a Hong Kong specialty. The rice at the bottom of the clay pot is crispy, while the interior rice is moist and steamed with ingredients like mushrooms, bamboo shoots, Chinese sausage, pork ribs, and salted fish with ground pork and tofu. All clay pot rice dishes are made to order, so prepare to wait.

Auntie Kitchen

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Auntie Kitchen is one of the most reliable restaurants serving traditional Cantonese fare. There are three locations, and the newest in San Gabriel offers the most extensive menu of the three. Though it’s known for its Cantonese barbecue, Auntie Kitchen even offers the Hainan chicken rice. That dish comes with complimentary soup, and portions are generous while prices remain reasonable.

The rest of the expansive menu includes items such as beef brisket noodles, wontons, and rice rolls. The barbecue section offers an abundance of choices, and the Five Flavor duck is among the most popular meats. The duck is stir-fried until the skin becomes golden, then cooked for hours over low heat. The five flavors include fragrant, spicy, sweet, sour, and umami. Auntie Kitchen also serves roast pork, barbecue pork, roast duck, and soy sauce chicken. Customers can even pre-order roasted goose.

Kim Ky has been an institution in the San Gabriel Valley for decades, with multiple restaurants spanning even to Orange County. This popular Chiu Chow restaurant boasts a menu that rivals the Cheesecake Factory’s.

Just for the noodle soups, patrons have near-infinite options for customization. Diners can choose between rice noodles, thin, thick, flat, egg noodles, and silver needle noodles (nicknamed “rat tail noodles” for their tail-like appearance), to name a few. You can also choose between a dry noodle that is soup-less or a traditional Chiu Chow broth, which is made with chicken and pork bones, rock sugar, fish sauce, and dried shrimp.

One of the most popular dishes is “chai tao kway,” which is a stir-fried radish cake with egg and preserved daikon that is dipped in vinegar. Another specialty is fried you tiao crullers made fresh every morning. Don’t skip out on the housemade spicy barbecue satay chili sha cha sauce and pickled green chilies. (Locations in San Gabriel, Rosemead, and Westminster)

Tam's Noodle House

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Tam’s Noodle House opened during the pandemic selling only frozen Hong Kong-style wontons and dumplings. Since then, Tam’s has established itself as one of the go-to Hong Kong cafes in the area for casual Cantonese-style foods like curry fish balls, barbecue pork, beef stew lo mien, steamed rice rolls, pineapple buns, and Hong Kong-style milk tea. All the noodles and dumplings are made in-house, including three varieties of egg noodles (wonton-style egg noodles, rice noodles, and flat egg noodles). Tam’s also has a new location in Rowland Heights at 19035 Colima Road.

Cantonese egg noodles with beef and pigs feet at Tam’s Noodle House in San Gabriel.
Cantonese egg noodles with beef and pigs feet at Tam’s Noodle House in San Gabriel.
Cathy Chaplin

Ji Rong Peking Duck

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Ji Rong is a San Gabriel Valley staple that specializes in traditional Peking duck, which comes with thin pancakes, shredded green onion, julienned cucumber, and hoisin sauce. The duck skin is sliced thinly over a layer of fatty and tender duck meat. The bones are all removed, making it easy for diners to make their own wraps. There are no walk-ins for Peking duck; make sure to call ahead and reserve a duck at least an hour and a half to two hours ahead. Although the Peking duck is the star dish, mapo tofu, stewed pork belly, kung pao chicken, and lamb skewers are also standout options.

Red 99 Grill Bistro

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Red 99 Grill Bistro specializes in Shanghainese cuisine but also has a handful of Sichuan- and Hunan-style dishes on the menu. The signature dish is the red braised pork belly prepared with soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, and other spices; the gelatinous skin and fat melt easily in your mouth.

Other popular dishes include Shanghainese eel, loofa, drunken chicken, Shanghainese stir-fried rice cake with crab, and green onion scallion noodles. Red 99 also makes one of the best renditions of jiuniang yuan zi, a subtly sweet and boozy dessert soup with fermented glutinous rice, dried osmanthus flower, and chewy glutinous black sesame rice balls. 

Array 36

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Array 36 is one of the top Chinese fine dining establishments of its caliber to open in recent years in the San Gabriel Valley. Emphasizing presentation, the restaurant specializes in Shanghainese cuisine and a fusion of Northern Chinese culinary traditions. The $88 signature roast duck undergoes a captivating tableside carving following a fire demonstration. A server pours baijiu, a potent Chinese spirit, onto the duck, setting it ablaze before expertly carving it. The roast duck is presented in three ways: with the skin alone, with the meat as is, and smoked tableside.

Other noteworthy dishes comprise Sichuan-style beef short ribs, slow-cooked for 48 hours; Shanghainese sautéed eel, air-dried for 48 hours before cooking for another four; and cold Shanghai-style river shrimp. Diners can indulge in Buddha Jumps Over the Wall soup, a specialty demanding meticulous preparation, incorporating a lavish set of 20 to 30 ingredients.

A chef slices a roast Chinese duck tableside.
Slicing the roast duck at Array 36.
Wonho Frank Lee

Bistro Na's

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Bistro Na’s, which opened in Temple City in 2016, is the first American restaurant to serve China’s imperial cuisine. Bistro Na’s is the U.S. branch of the Beijing-based Na Jia Xiao Guan. The restaurant’s recipes were originally intended for royalty and have been passed down through generations of chefs who worked in the imperial kitchen.

The restaurant’s decor mimics a traditional Chinese courtyard from the Qing Dynasty. Diners feel like royalty once they walk into the dining room, with its carved wood paneling, jade accents, and traditional musical instruments displayed like an art exhibit. Even the physical menu is luxurious — it’s bound with a soft cloth cover and is known as “the heaven menu.” Executive chef Tian always has limited-run menus that require advanced reservations. He also creates special dishes only available for Chinese holidays. 

Colette

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Colette is helmed by former Embassy Kitchen chef Peter Lai, who showcases his innovative and complex Cantonese-inspired cuisine. One of his most sought-after off-menu items is the Crispy Flower Chicken, a traditional Cantonese dish that takes at least six hours to prepare and features a deboned, air-dried chicken pressed with shrimp paste.

Colette offers a variety of rare and unadvertised dishes, including stir-fried lobster sticky rice, lamb stew, and winter melon soup. The off-menu Dungeness crab curry is served with pan-fried vermicelli that soaks up the curry’s flavor, while Lai’s spin on geoduck two ways includes a classic sashimi preparation and a less traditional porridge (pao fan). Beloved dishes like beef chow fun, cola-glazed chicken wings, and salmon carpaccio are also on the menu.

Mojie Noodle

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Mojie Noodle is located in the tiny food court of President Square Plaza in Arcadia. The quick-service restaurant specializes in traditional Guilin rice noodles. The broth is made with boiled pork, ox bones, and various seasonings, with the most common ingredients being pork and pig offal. The noodles are typically topped with marinated meat slices, chopped scallions, fried soybean, pepper, and sesame oil.

The menu is small: there are only eight different noodles. The most popular, Number 1, Traditional Guilin Noodles, is served dry with soup on the side. The noodles are soft, bouncy, and chewy. Other favorites include the numbing spicy pork intestine rice noodles, pork trotter rice noodles, and hot and sour rice noodles. There’s a topping bar on the side where diners can add green onions, radish, chili sauce, and other pickled ingredients. Each bowl comes with peanuts, spicy green beans, and slices of fried and marinated beef.

Chef Tony

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Chef Tony Dim Sum by Tony He, the culinary talent behind the acclaimed Sea Harbour restaurant in Rosemead (as well as some iconic places in Vancouver), offers a contemporary dim sum experience. Chef Tony blends traditional Cantonese favorites with modern interpretations. Many dishes feature ingredients like freshly shaved black truffles and gold leaf accents.

Among the restaurant’s popular offerings are squid ink shrimp dumplings, sticky rice balls with lava-salted egg yolk, baked milk buns, deep-fried durian pastries, steamed lava-salted egg yolk buns, egg custard tarts with milk, sticky rice balls stuffed with lava salted egg yolk, and coconut pudding shaped like bunnies.

Sliced lobster on a garnished plate.
Cold lobster salad at Chef Tony.
Matthew Kang

Mr Chopsticks Seafood & BBQ

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Mr. Chopsticks has been a mainstay in the area for over three decades and is one of a handful of Cantonese restaurants that still provide free soup at the start of the meal. The lunch menu includes 40 affordable and amply portioned specials, like beef chow fun, kung pao shrimp, chicken wings, and salt and pepper shrimp. Given 24-hour advance notice, Mr. Chopsticks whips up its famous seafood winter melon soup that’s made from scratch using ingredients from the restaurant’s garden; the soup serves up to 15 people. 

Lan Noodle

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Lan Noodle is a powerhouse for Lanzhou-style noodles and each bowl is made to order. Customers can watch the noodle master pull eight different shapes, while throwing the strands over their shoulder and into a pot of boiling water. Each type of noodle requires a special kind of wheat flour to get the perfect QQ (chewy) texture. Lan sources local beef to make a broth that is simmered for 10 hours every day and topped with house-made chile oil. The restaurant recently expanded to West Hollywood as well.

A bowl of Lanzhou beef noodle soup with cut garnishes and thinly sliced meat with a printed placemat.
Lan Noodle
Wonho Frank Lee

Tai Ping Sa Choi Kee

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Tai Ping Sa Choi Kee is a Guangzhou-based chain specializing in beef brisket noodle soup as well as other Cantonese fare. Those willing to look beyond the surface will be rewarded with a fantastic meal. Must-order dishes include the hand-shredded chicken and the salt and pepper wings lightly fried with garlic, chopped onion, and peppers. Drizzle the house-made spicy chile crisp over everything.

19 Town

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19 Town is a new fine-dining restaurant and bar from Sichuan Impression co-founder and chef Lynn Liu. The design is minimalist yet lavish. The name of the restaurant is a play on words in Mandarin, meaning “food” and “drink.”

Although Liu is known for her Sichuan cuisine, 19 Town focuses on contemporary Chinese cuisine. There’s a fun fusion dish called gnocchi con le cozze, which blends Chinese pickled-pepper sour and spicy sauce with mussels and pasta. The mapo tofu comes covered in cheese in a fondue dip where pieces of bread are pulled through a mozzarella and tofu mixture. Their rendition of orange chicken is made their own with Sichuan touches. The flaming pork jowl is a popular dish that servers set on fire at the table with potent 151-proof rum, and cocktails are also extremely innovative.

Dun Huang

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Dun Huang is known for its northwest Chinese cuisine. The signature Lanzhou beef noodles are a must-order dish. Walk up to the clear glass window to watch a bowl come together — from kneading the dough, pulling the noodles, and assembling with a radish-beef broth, chile oil, fatty beef chunks, green onion, and cilantro. 

Dun Huang pulls eight different shapes of noodles, from extra-thin angel hair to extra-wide belts. Don’t forget to order a deep-fried flatbread marinated in cumin, Sichuan peppercorn, and dry chile oil. Other popular dishes include the cold eggplant salad, lamb tenderloin skewer, and sweet pork pita.

Dun Huang

Wagyu House by The X Pot

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Everything screams opulence at Wagyu House by The X Pot. Expect fine dining plus a show, as diners are treated to something like a traditional Beijing opera performance. Hot pots feature premium ingredients like imported fresh seafood and wagyu beef. The restaurant sources wagyu from its own cattle farm and ships a whole cow daily to ensure the freshest sashimi, meatballs, and more.

The house-special wagyu dripping pot and wagyu tomato oxtail soup are fan favorites. The Golden Chicken soup is freshly prepared every day through an 18-hour process of simmering, roasting, stewing, and boiling, and is available to guests only after 5:00 p.m. each day. Teddy bear-shaped spice can be added to any hot pot. At the end of the meal, walk through a special machine that sprays citrus perfume to help diners avoid smelling of hot pot.

Eat Joy Food

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Eat Joy Food is part mini-mart and part Taiwanese restaurant. It uses quality seasonal ingredients, many of which are seafood, and offers plenty of vegetarian dishes. The menu is large and filled with specialties that rotate regularly. During lunch, it offers a la carte items and bento specials that come with soup. For dinner, it offers exquisite banquet-style meals including the showstopping lobster salad.

Fresh chunks of lobster meat are sliced and placed on top of a fruit bed. The regular menu features many Taiwanese specialties such as grilled monkfish, steamed black cod with pickled cordia seeds, stinky tofu, stir-fried chayote leaves, pork kidney soup with noodles and ginger, stir-fried bitter melons with salty egg yolks, and oyster pancakes.

Chengdu Taste

After running a successful restaurant in China and working at Panda Restaurant Group in Los Angeles, Tony Xu opened Alhambra’s Chengdu Taste in 2013. Angelenos quickly took notice of the restaurant’s fiery Sichuan cooking. One of the restaurant’s signature dishes is the diced rabbit with “younger sister’s secret recipe.” Other must-try dishes include the Sichuan-style mung bean jelly noodles with chile sauce, mapo tofu, and toothpick lamb with cumin. There’s an additional location in Rowland Heights for those who reside further east.

Yang's Kitchen

Yang’s Kitchen is a hip and modern spot that strives to source local, sustainable, and organic ingredients when possible. The daytime and dinner menus draw from Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, and Californian influences. Yang’s Kitchen sources almost all of its vegetables from the farmers market. All proteins (meat, poultry, eggs, dairy seafood, etc.) are humanely raised with sustainability in mind. Chris Yang, the restaurant’s chef-owner, spotlights small dessert businesses by selling their pastries at the restaurant. Besides the constantly rotating desserts on hand, top dishes include the roasted squash kale salad, braised pork with multigrain rice, cold sesame noodles, chicken liver mousse, smoked salmon hash, breakfast plate, and mochi pancake.

A plate of Chinese-style ribs.
Aromatic ribs at Yang’s Kitchen in Alhambra.
Wonho Frank Lee

Xiaolongkan

Xiaolongkan, a well-known Sichuan hot pot chain in China, making in the United States courtesy of the restaurateurs affiliated with Chengdu Taste and Mian. Diners can opt for one, two, or three kinds of broth. There’s a sauce-making station and an area stocked with snacks, desserts, and fruits. Notably, the buffet features all-you-can-eat offerings such as chicken feet, chips, sweet porridge, sweet jelly, glutinous rice balls, and even snow fungus.

Xiaolongkan caters to those who relish ‘ma la’ numbing spice, which enhances the hot pot experience. In addition to the standard meat selections like beef, chicken, and lamb, the menu encompasses various offal options, beef with raw egg, rose petal meatballs, and even spicy crawfish.

T-Kebob

T-Kebob is a Chinese barbecue skewer restaurant with a Korean twist. Open late until midnight, it offers a vast variety of meats, vegetables, seafood, and carbs to choose from. The restaurant’s unique rotating machine ensures a hands-free, ideal blend of smokiness and tenderness with even cooking. Favorites include the cumin lamb skewers, pork belly, oyster mushrooms, and corn. There’s also a slew of offal selections like chicken gizzard, heart, and even bull penis on a skewer. All skewers are accompanied by both spicy and non-spicy powders and sauces.

Jiang Nan Spring

Jiang Nan Spring specializes in Zhejiang cuisine made with lots of seafood and seasonal ingredients. Jiang Nan translates to “south of the river” and refers to the areas south of the Yangtze River, including Shanghai. One of the most unique items on the menu is the traditional Chinese dish beggar’s chicken. This dish rarely appears on menus because of its complexity and lengthy preparation. Beggar’s chicken consists of marinated chicken wrapped tightly in layers of lotus leaves, parchment paper, and dough baked slowly on low heat. Other house specialties include stir-fried crab with rice cakes, braised pork belly, lion’s head pork meatballs, eight treasure rice pudding, and osmanthus glutinous rice balls.

Southern Mini Town Restaurant

Southern Mini Town is a Shanghainese restaurant that only has a few tables. The potstickers and pan-fried bao are a must. The sheng jian bao (pan-fried pork soup dumplings) are fluffy and juicy. Other must-order dishes include winter melon soup, Chinese okra with salted duck egg, pan-fried Shanghai rice cakes, Shanghainese eggplant, pork kidney, and clam stew egg custard. The pork hock is a popular dish that falls off the bone and the fried fish with seaweed powder should not be missed. Don’t forget to finish the meal with the osmanthus sweet soup with black sesame dumplings for dessert. 

Southern Mini Town Restaurant.
Southern Mini Town Restaurant
Cathy Chaplin

Newport Seafood Restaurant

Newport Seafood is an institution in the San Gabriel Valley. The star dish is the house-special lobster fished from tanks and stir-fried with heaps of chopped chiles, scallions, roe, and garlic. The family-style restaurant uses Chinese, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Thai flavors. Signature items include lobster, shaking beef, crab with tamarind sauce, and sashimi-style elephant clams.

House-special lobster at Newport Seafood.
House-special lobster at Newport Seafood.
Cathy Chaplin

Nature Pagoda

Nature Pagoda is a tiny mom-and-pop that has been around since the ’90s. The entire menu is based on traditional Chinese medicinal principles meant to balance the body for optimal health. The quaint restaurant serves traditional herbal teas and medicinal soups, but the star is clay pot rice (bao zai fan), a Hong Kong specialty. The rice at the bottom of the clay pot is crispy, while the interior rice is moist and steamed with ingredients like mushrooms, bamboo shoots, Chinese sausage, pork ribs, and salted fish with ground pork and tofu. All clay pot rice dishes are made to order, so prepare to wait.

Auntie Kitchen

Auntie Kitchen is one of the most reliable restaurants serving traditional Cantonese fare. There are three locations, and the newest in San Gabriel offers the most extensive menu of the three. Though it’s known for its Cantonese barbecue, Auntie Kitchen even offers the Hainan chicken rice. That dish comes with complimentary soup, and portions are generous while prices remain reasonable.

The rest of the expansive menu includes items such as beef brisket noodles, wontons, and rice rolls. The barbecue section offers an abundance of choices, and the Five Flavor duck is among the most popular meats. The duck is stir-fried until the skin becomes golden, then cooked for hours over low heat. The five flavors include fragrant, spicy, sweet, sour, and umami. Auntie Kitchen also serves roast pork, barbecue pork, roast duck, and soy sauce chicken. Customers can even pre-order roasted goose.

Kim Ky

Kim Ky has been an institution in the San Gabriel Valley for decades, with multiple restaurants spanning even to Orange County. This popular Chiu Chow restaurant boasts a menu that rivals the Cheesecake Factory’s.

Just for the noodle soups, patrons have near-infinite options for customization. Diners can choose between rice noodles, thin, thick, flat, egg noodles, and silver needle noodles (nicknamed “rat tail noodles” for their tail-like appearance), to name a few. You can also choose between a dry noodle that is soup-less or a traditional Chiu Chow broth, which is made with chicken and pork bones, rock sugar, fish sauce, and dried shrimp.

One of the most popular dishes is “chai tao kway,” which is a stir-fried radish cake with egg and preserved daikon that is dipped in vinegar. Another specialty is fried you tiao crullers made fresh every morning. Don’t skip out on the housemade spicy barbecue satay chili sha cha sauce and pickled green chilies. (Locations in San Gabriel, Rosemead, and Westminster)

Tam's Noodle House

Tam’s Noodle House opened during the pandemic selling only frozen Hong Kong-style wontons and dumplings. Since then, Tam’s has established itself as one of the go-to Hong Kong cafes in the area for casual Cantonese-style foods like curry fish balls, barbecue pork, beef stew lo mien, steamed rice rolls, pineapple buns, and Hong Kong-style milk tea. All the noodles and dumplings are made in-house, including three varieties of egg noodles (wonton-style egg noodles, rice noodles, and flat egg noodles). Tam’s also has a new location in Rowland Heights at 19035 Colima Road.

Cantonese egg noodles with beef and pigs feet at Tam’s Noodle House in San Gabriel.
Cantonese egg noodles with beef and pigs feet at Tam’s Noodle House in San Gabriel.
Cathy Chaplin

Ji Rong Peking Duck

Ji Rong is a San Gabriel Valley staple that specializes in traditional Peking duck, which comes with thin pancakes, shredded green onion, julienned cucumber, and hoisin sauce. The duck skin is sliced thinly over a layer of fatty and tender duck meat. The bones are all removed, making it easy for diners to make their own wraps. There are no walk-ins for Peking duck; make sure to call ahead and reserve a duck at least an hour and a half to two hours ahead. Although the Peking duck is the star dish, mapo tofu, stewed pork belly, kung pao chicken, and lamb skewers are also standout options.

Red 99 Grill Bistro

Red 99 Grill Bistro specializes in Shanghainese cuisine but also has a handful of Sichuan- and Hunan-style dishes on the menu. The signature dish is the red braised pork belly prepared with soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, and other spices; the gelatinous skin and fat melt easily in your mouth.

Other popular dishes include Shanghainese eel, loofa, drunken chicken, Shanghainese stir-fried rice cake with crab, and green onion scallion noodles. Red 99 also makes one of the best renditions of jiuniang yuan zi, a subtly sweet and boozy dessert soup with fermented glutinous rice, dried osmanthus flower, and chewy glutinous black sesame rice balls. 

Array 36

Array 36 is one of the top Chinese fine dining establishments of its caliber to open in recent years in the San Gabriel Valley. Emphasizing presentation, the restaurant specializes in Shanghainese cuisine and a fusion of Northern Chinese culinary traditions. The $88 signature roast duck undergoes a captivating tableside carving following a fire demonstration. A server pours baijiu, a potent Chinese spirit, onto the duck, setting it ablaze before expertly carving it. The roast duck is presented in three ways: with the skin alone, with the meat as is, and smoked tableside.

Other noteworthy dishes comprise Sichuan-style beef short ribs, slow-cooked for 48 hours; Shanghainese sautéed eel, air-dried for 48 hours before cooking for another four; and cold Shanghai-style river shrimp. Diners can indulge in Buddha Jumps Over the Wall soup, a specialty demanding meticulous preparation, incorporating a lavish set of 20 to 30 ingredients.

A chef slices a roast Chinese duck tableside.
Slicing the roast duck at Array 36.
Wonho Frank Lee

Bistro Na's

Bistro Na’s, which opened in Temple City in 2016, is the first American restaurant to serve China’s imperial cuisine. Bistro Na’s is the U.S. branch of the Beijing-based Na Jia Xiao Guan. The restaurant’s recipes were originally intended for royalty and have been passed down through generations of chefs who worked in the imperial kitchen.

The restaurant’s decor mimics a traditional Chinese courtyard from the Qing Dynasty. Diners feel like royalty once they walk into the dining room, with its carved wood paneling, jade accents, and traditional musical instruments displayed like an art exhibit. Even the physical menu is luxurious — it’s bound with a soft cloth cover and is known as “the heaven menu.” Executive chef Tian always has limited-run menus that require advanced reservations. He also creates special dishes only available for Chinese holidays. 

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Colette

Colette is helmed by former Embassy Kitchen chef Peter Lai, who showcases his innovative and complex Cantonese-inspired cuisine. One of his most sought-after off-menu items is the Crispy Flower Chicken, a traditional Cantonese dish that takes at least six hours to prepare and features a deboned, air-dried chicken pressed with shrimp paste.

Colette offers a variety of rare and unadvertised dishes, including stir-fried lobster sticky rice, lamb stew, and winter melon soup. The off-menu Dungeness crab curry is served with pan-fried vermicelli that soaks up the curry’s flavor, while Lai’s spin on geoduck two ways includes a classic sashimi preparation and a less traditional porridge (pao fan). Beloved dishes like beef chow fun, cola-glazed chicken wings, and salmon carpaccio are also on the menu.

Mojie Noodle

Mojie Noodle is located in the tiny food court of President Square Plaza in Arcadia. The quick-service restaurant specializes in traditional Guilin rice noodles. The broth is made with boiled pork, ox bones, and various seasonings, with the most common ingredients being pork and pig offal. The noodles are typically topped with marinated meat slices, chopped scallions, fried soybean, pepper, and sesame oil.

The menu is small: there are only eight different noodles. The most popular, Number 1, Traditional Guilin Noodles, is served dry with soup on the side. The noodles are soft, bouncy, and chewy. Other favorites include the numbing spicy pork intestine rice noodles, pork trotter rice noodles, and hot and sour rice noodles. There’s a topping bar on the side where diners can add green onions, radish, chili sauce, and other pickled ingredients. Each bowl comes with peanuts, spicy green beans, and slices of fried and marinated beef.

Chef Tony

Chef Tony Dim Sum by Tony He, the culinary talent behind the acclaimed Sea Harbour restaurant in Rosemead (as well as some iconic places in Vancouver), offers a contemporary dim sum experience. Chef Tony blends traditional Cantonese favorites with modern interpretations. Many dishes feature ingredients like freshly shaved black truffles and gold leaf accents.

Among the restaurant’s popular offerings are squid ink shrimp dumplings, sticky rice balls with lava-salted egg yolk, baked milk buns, deep-fried durian pastries, steamed lava-salted egg yolk buns, egg custard tarts with milk, sticky rice balls stuffed with lava salted egg yolk, and coconut pudding shaped like bunnies.

Sliced lobster on a garnished plate.
Cold lobster salad at Chef Tony.
Matthew Kang

Mr Chopsticks Seafood & BBQ

Mr. Chopsticks has been a mainstay in the area for over three decades and is one of a handful of Cantonese restaurants that still provide free soup at the start of the meal. The lunch menu includes 40 affordable and amply portioned specials, like beef chow fun, kung pao shrimp, chicken wings, and salt and pepper shrimp. Given 24-hour advance notice, Mr. Chopsticks whips up its famous seafood winter melon soup that’s made from scratch using ingredients from the restaurant’s garden; the soup serves up to 15 people. 

Lan Noodle

Lan Noodle is a powerhouse for Lanzhou-style noodles and each bowl is made to order. Customers can watch the noodle master pull eight different shapes, while throwing the strands over their shoulder and into a pot of boiling water. Each type of noodle requires a special kind of wheat flour to get the perfect QQ (chewy) texture. Lan sources local beef to make a broth that is simmered for 10 hours every day and topped with house-made chile oil. The restaurant recently expanded to West Hollywood as well.

A bowl of Lanzhou beef noodle soup with cut garnishes and thinly sliced meat with a printed placemat.
Lan Noodle
Wonho Frank Lee

Tai Ping Sa Choi Kee

Tai Ping Sa Choi Kee is a Guangzhou-based chain specializing in beef brisket noodle soup as well as other Cantonese fare. Those willing to look beyond the surface will be rewarded with a fantastic meal. Must-order dishes include the hand-shredded chicken and the salt and pepper wings lightly fried with garlic, chopped onion, and peppers. Drizzle the house-made spicy chile crisp over everything.

19 Town

19 Town is a new fine-dining restaurant and bar from Sichuan Impression co-founder and chef Lynn Liu. The design is minimalist yet lavish. The name of the restaurant is a play on words in Mandarin, meaning “food” and “drink.”

Although Liu is known for her Sichuan cuisine, 19 Town focuses on contemporary Chinese cuisine. There’s a fun fusion dish called gnocchi con le cozze, which blends Chinese pickled-pepper sour and spicy sauce with mussels and pasta. The mapo tofu comes covered in cheese in a fondue dip where pieces of bread are pulled through a mozzarella and tofu mixture. Their rendition of orange chicken is made their own with Sichuan touches. The flaming pork jowl is a popular dish that servers set on fire at the table with potent 151-proof rum, and cocktails are also extremely innovative.

Dun Huang

Dun Huang is known for its northwest Chinese cuisine. The signature Lanzhou beef noodles are a must-order dish. Walk up to the clear glass window to watch a bowl come together — from kneading the dough, pulling the noodles, and assembling with a radish-beef broth, chile oil, fatty beef chunks, green onion, and cilantro. 

Dun Huang pulls eight different shapes of noodles, from extra-thin angel hair to extra-wide belts. Don’t forget to order a deep-fried flatbread marinated in cumin, Sichuan peppercorn, and dry chile oil. Other popular dishes include the cold eggplant salad, lamb tenderloin skewer, and sweet pork pita.

Dun Huang

Wagyu House by The X Pot

Everything screams opulence at Wagyu House by The X Pot. Expect fine dining plus a show, as diners are treated to something like a traditional Beijing opera performance. Hot pots feature premium ingredients like imported fresh seafood and wagyu beef. The restaurant sources wagyu from its own cattle farm and ships a whole cow daily to ensure the freshest sashimi, meatballs, and more.

The house-special wagyu dripping pot and wagyu tomato oxtail soup are fan favorites. The Golden Chicken soup is freshly prepared every day through an 18-hour process of simmering, roasting, stewing, and boiling, and is available to guests only after 5:00 p.m. each day. Teddy bear-shaped spice can be added to any hot pot. At the end of the meal, walk through a special machine that sprays citrus perfume to help diners avoid smelling of hot pot.

Eat Joy Food

Eat Joy Food is part mini-mart and part Taiwanese restaurant. It uses quality seasonal ingredients, many of which are seafood, and offers plenty of vegetarian dishes. The menu is large and filled with specialties that rotate regularly. During lunch, it offers a la carte items and bento specials that come with soup. For dinner, it offers exquisite banquet-style meals including the showstopping lobster salad.

Fresh chunks of lobster meat are sliced and placed on top of a fruit bed. The regular menu features many Taiwanese specialties such as grilled monkfish, steamed black cod with pickled cordia seeds, stinky tofu, stir-fried chayote leaves, pork kidney soup with noodles and ginger, stir-fried bitter melons with salty egg yolks, and oyster pancakes.

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