SGV food crawl and Little Sister

On my summer 2015 LA trip, I only got to one Chinese place, Shen Yang. I recently returned to focus on Chinese dishes in San Gabriel Valley.

Kang Kang food court (Alhambra): I resisted the temptation to order any of the delicious looking items from the steam tables and stuck to my goal – Sheng jian bao. Several Shanghainese restaurants in the Bay Area serve these pan-fried buns, but there is only one place that serves the style containing soup inside. Kang Kang’s was delicious and was worth a detour. The SJB were fried pleat side down, and the bottom formed an evenly browned crisp, but pliable crust. There’s about 1/4-1/3 as much soup as Yang’s in Shanghai, but it’s tasty and well proportioned.

JTYH (Rosemead) : the sign indicated the restaurant specialized in Shanxi style food, so we stuck to the wheat noodles the region is famous for. The toppings were top notch, but they need to pay more attention to noodle cooking time. The cat ear noodles, orecchiette-like discs folded in half like clam shells, were undercooked with raw bits in the center. The mu-shu topping was awesome though-- an egg and wood ear omelette with just the right amount of salt.

The bean sauce noodles, Zha jiang mian, had as good a sauce as I’ve had, with a generous portion of pressed tofu cubes. Unfortunately, the knife-shaved noodles were overcooked and under drained (a slow shaving technique would leave some overcooked, some undercooked, but these were all overcooked).

101 noodle express (Alhambra) : They’re known for their “shandong beef rolls” for good reason. Most of versions of rolled beef pancakes that I’ve tried use a heavy dose of hoisin sauce, which I’m not gonna lie, I like, but overpowers the flavor of the other ingredients. Here, they used minimal hoisin sauce and the ingredients stood on their own— the meat flavor comes across in each bite. The meat, is it shin or brisket?, tastes like the slices that adorn a beef noodle soup. The tight rolling makes for an excellent crunch thanks to a generous portion of cilantro and the crisp but pliable pancake.

Omar (San Gabriel) : I needed a break after all the wheat treats, so just got homemade yogurt at Omar’s, a Uyghur restaurant. Thick but drinkable with a straw, it’s great stuff with not too much tang.

Little Sister (Manhattan Beach… not SGV, but I didn’t want to create a new thread) : the Bay Area needs a place like this. Master stock jasmine rice was the bomb— full on, intense chicken flavor. I don’t appreciate Hainan chicken rice, or maybe I’ve not had a good version, so this $2 dish impressed the hell out of me. Ma la beef tartare with pear pine nuts, bone marrow, quail egg and cassava chips was spicy and nicely seasoned. The naming is odd though–I didn’t taste/feel the presence of ‘ma la’ (numbing spice), and when I asked for some extra Sichuan peppercorns (they use crushed, not sifted), I felt my addition disturbed the balance of flavors the chef had created. Mala or not, great stuff.


What?! Where in Huntington Beach did they open up a third Little Sister???

Great report thanks.
For Little Sister I think maybe you mean to say Manhattan Beach, not Huntington.

I’ve corrected Huntington Beach to Manhattan Beach!

101 noodle express has crack chili/cilantro condiment for beef rolls that make a 10/10 item 11/10.


true dat

101 Noodles Express has the following that I have never had a better example of:

sheng dong beef roll
Dan dan mien (hand torn noodles)
The plain ol’ pork potstickers. these come out so perfectly fried on the bottom with little lace skirts of crispy little filligree. Really. Potstickers. They are special.


Going today for lunch at Noodle 101 and that is essentially our go to order with cumcumbers and usually the whole entire bottle of the green condiment. I think there was an old CH discussion about the green condiment but I believe its cilantro, garlic, jalapeno and pickles. Amazing stuff.

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I think this is the first report of JTYH since the chef left. Glad to hear it’s at least still decent (even if there are some issues)…

I agree. Excellent pan fried dumplings.

I add a bowl of the pork spare rib or lamb noodle soup depending on how hungry I am.


Despite reports, Chef Peng did NOT leave JTYH. He was splitting his time between JTYH and their spin-off, O’Heavy Noodles at the Pacific Plaza food court in Rowland Heights, where he was training a noodle apprentice. He still spent more of his time at JTYH, though wasn’t always there. At least that’s what I was told in December. Four months is an eternity in the SGV restaurant scene, so who knows now?

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I just wanted to confirm - all the recs are for the 101 on Valley in Alhambra, right? The one where the two women working there often endlessly argue and drop the eating utensils from a foot above the center of the table for us to sort things out? :smile:

I think it is the one in Culver City.

sounds right

Need to know where else you tried these items.

Otherwise, it’s an empty statement.

I don’t claim to be a serious expert on this stuff, but I’ve tried the beef roll at Mama Lu (insert 's as needed) and Little Palace in Glendale. I’ve had several versions of dan dan noodles (from PF Chang’s ‘version’, Din Tai Fung’s completely shrug-worthy version that seemed like it was served over generic vermicelli, and a Japanese ramen version from Shoki in Sacramento.

Potstickers, I think, are ubiquitous enough that making them noteworthy is itself, uh, noteworthy. But these really are so well prepared…

I usually go to the one on Baldwin in Arcadia. The service has always been, let’s call it ‘casual’, but perfectly pleasant.

I’ve gotten that vibe consistently there, even when I’ve gone with chinese-speaking coworkers, so I just assumed that was just how they did things. Honestly, keep bringing out those hand torn noodles and you could dump 'em right on the table for all I care.

I feel like that could apply to many places in the SGV, no?

Strangely, I’ve rarely had any of this type of service in the SGV. Hopefully this doesn’t degenerate into a discussion on how I’m too stupid to realize how I’m being treated as a laowai :smile:

There was the one teenage waitress at one of my favorite little snack places, but she was sarcastic and rude to everyone. It was very “Fawlty Towers”-ish. I miss her.


It’s probably because you tip better than 5%

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I don’t know… Like Jim, my service experiences in SGV have been pretty good actually. Majority are relatively polite and friendly. Some indifferent. Most Cantonese seafood/dim sum places have wait staff who epitomize indifference (or maybe just poker-faced) but are incredibly efficient and are great at anticipating each table’s wants and needs.

These two ladies (one in the kitchen, one waitressing) at the Alhambra 101NE were standouts. We visited this place maybe three times in the span of a month - always around dinner on Saturday - and it’s as if they were on a continuous video loop/bizzaro 50 First Dates. Arguing back and forth, throwing things or banging dishes on the tables, impatiently tapping her pen on the order pad while we were ordering, and the “air drop” of utensils and napkins in the center of our table. Don’t recall what they argued about (wife speaks Mandarin and Cantonese) but she kept whispering, “Oh my God,” or, “I can’t believe she said that.” It made for interesting conversation later -no way in the restaurant. Haven’t been back in years.