I remember first reading about Beijing Pie House on our old board years ago. Then hearing from many of our Hounds about how delicious it was, I kept it bookmarked, but never got a chance to go until last year (and posted about it on our FTC weekend thread).
We were able to stop by a few more times, so I decided to document all of the visits here.
Beijing Pie House’s specialty is Xian Bing, which they call “meat and vegetable filled pies.” And it’s an apt description: We hadn’t heard of Xian Bing before reading about it on our old board and then trying it here, but essentially it’s like little pan-seared Savory Pies / Pancakes, stuffed with various fillings like Marinated Ground Pork or Lamb, and a variety of Vegetables.
This was some type of Millet Congee that was free with one of the dishes we ordered. It was unflavored, but we weren’t sure what to pair this Congee with, since the majority of the menu is already carb-based items (Xian Bing Pies and Pancakes).
Cold Cucumber with Garlic:
A little bit too salty, but still refreshing with chilled Cucumbers and fresh mashed Garlic.
Lamb & Green Onion Homeland Meat Cake:
I’ve never had these before, so I’m not sure what the gold standard might be, but this was a crisped up “Pancake” (according to the menu), stuffed with Ground Lamb and Green Onions. Gamey, salty, and a bit too oily. It was tasty, but I could only eat one piece.
Fennel & Pork Pie:
This had an appealing golden seared crust on the outside. The Fennel mixture with the Pork was delicious. Really fragrant.
During our 2nd visit, our friend pointed out that Beijing Pie House also had a Zha Jiang Mian on the menu! So, we had to order it, and then at that point, it turned into a Zha Jiang Mian journey as well (pics and thoughts in this other thread).
Beijing Zhajiang Noodles:
Beijing Pie House is known for a few key things, but we had never heard of anyone mentioning their Zha Jiang Mian. Now we know why…
The ingredients were tasty: I loved the fresh Cucumber slices, the Yellow Soybeans, Bean Sprouts and the Zha Jiang Sauce itself was on the sweeter-but-still-salty side.
However, while they make pretty much everything else (carb-wise) on the menu from scratch, by hand, they don’t make the Noodles by hand. And it’s immediately apparent on the first bite…
The Noodles are slightly mealy, overcooked and have zero “bite” to them. If you want an example of how Noodles can ruin a dish, look no further than Beijing Pie House’s Zha Jiang Mian (we love their other stuff, though!).
This bowl was also $6.99, but Tianjin Bistro’s was much better.
Lamb & Green Onion Dumpling:
Beijing Pie House makes their Dumplings in-house. They were medium-thick skinned, had a nice chew to them, and the Marinated Ground Lamb and Green Onion filling was lightly gamy and oniony; delicious.
Homeland Meat Cake - Pork & Green Onion:
This turned out to be less greasy than the Lamb Meat Pie we got last time. It was just the right balance of crisped outer crust (like a good Green Onion Pancake) and some nice bites of Marinated Ground Pork and Green Onions. If you ever wanted a meat version of the Chinese Green Onion Pancake this would be it.
Mixed 3 Item Pie (Xian Bing):
Under their “Pies” section, which our friend tells us is “Xian Bing” in Chinese, we decided to try their Mixed 3 Item Pie, which is Shrimp, Pork and Eggs (along with Wood Ear Mushrooms and Green Onions). This was a nice departure from the previous dishes and visit, offering a wider range of flavors. It featured the same beautiful crust with a subtle crunch, yielding to the Shrimp, Egg and Pork mixture.
On another visit, we began with…
Cold Shredded Konbu:
Beijing Pie House’s version was nice because it wasn’t as sweet as some places, while still being cool and refreshing.
Green Onion Cake:
While Beijing Pie House’s Meat Pancakes are pretty tasty, their Green Onion Pancake is only OK. It’s not bad, but it lacks sufficient crispness and is a touch too oily by itself (just the seared Pancake with Green Onions inside).
Summer Squash & Lamb Pie + Celery & Pork Pie (2 + 2):
Tip: It turns out you can choose 2 different flavors for 1 order of the Pies (Xian Bing)! So instead of getting 4 Pies (per order) of the same flavor, you can mix-and-match.
Summer Squash & Lamb Pie:
This was a nice pairing with the Summer Squash giving a more gentle, vegetal flavor, complementing the Marinated Ground Lamb.
Celery & Pork Pie:
The Celery was definitely a stronger, more fragrant ingredient in this Pie, standing up to the Marinated Ground Pork pretty well, and making it another delicious pairing.
On our most recent 4th visit…
Spicy Beef Tripe:
This was a major surprise: There was a slight numbing sensation from the Szechuan Peppercorns, while the Beef Tripe itself was pretty tender while still having some nice chew; one of the better Tripe dishes I’ve had (and I don’t like Tripe usually).
Cold Pickled Vegetables:
The Pickled Cabbage was another standout: Also utilizing Szechuan Peppercorns, but with some Chili Peppers inside as well, this was fragrant, numbing, lightly spicy and just fantastic!
Beef Noodle Soup:
We had a bad experience with their Zha Jiang Mian last time (the Noodles were the weak point), but we remember someone on FTC had recommended their Lamb Noodle Soup a while back, so we wanted to give this a try. Our waitress said that they removed the Lamb Noodle Soup from the menu now, so we thought the Beef Noodle Soup might be a nice, similar dish in some ways.
It was not.
The broth tasted pretty light, but basic. It lacked any depth or nuance, and would’ve faired poorly in our Beef Noodle Journey a while back (where Corner Beef Noodle House stands out above the rest).
And like before, their Noodles (not made in-house) were the biggest weak point, being soft, mealy and just unappetizing. Definitely avoid.
Spinach with Pork Wontons in Soup:
Their Handmade Wontons fared much better! They were plump, flavorful and not too salty; just right. The Wonton Soup itself was delicious, a gentle, light broth and the bits of Cilantro and Green Onions really accentuated the Spinach & Pork Wontons themselves.
Pork & Green Onion Pie:
And this time, we decided to try the Pork & Green Onion Pie (Xian Bing), which was also excellent, with big, oniony scents and flavors coming through with the Marinated Ground Pork. The crust was as consistently crisped and slightly crunchy as usual.
Be sure to add a dash of the Black Vinegar (on the table), which brings out the flavors even more.
Beijing Pie House turns out to be a great place for fans of Savory Pancakes and Meat Pies. It is a Xian Bing (and Savory Pancake) specialist that puts out some consistently crisped, flavorful dishes, as well as a nice variety of starters, like their Cold Pickled Vegetables, Spicy Beef Tripe and Cold Shredded Konbu. Their Handmade Wontons are also worth a try, but avoid their Noodles (not made in-house).
Beijing Pie House
846 E. Garvey Ave.
Monterey Park, CA 91755
Tel: (626) 288-3818