We like Dong Ting Chun. Been there twice in the past year. I recommend it for sure.
We haven’t been to Hunan Chili King for a few years, but it’s decent.
There are also Hunan Restaurant on Atlantic and Hunan Mao on Valley. I’m not sure I’ve been to Hunan Restaurant. I’ve been to Hunan Mao once or twice (several years ago) and it wasn’t memorable enough to have an opinion.
between the economy, pandemic, aging and successive generations not inclined to stay with the family business, the food scene in the SGV is going to change and i suspect that many of us are going to look back at the pre-pandemic years as being the halcyon years of being a ‘hound’ in the SGV seeking out obscure yet authentic hole-in-the-wall type places opened by immigrants trying to make their way in the US. even places like lao xi noodle house are now offering a sriracha shrimp noodle dish which i couldn’t bring myself to contemplate (even though it might actually be tasty) as being an authentic shanxi dish.
I think the period from say 2008 to 2015 or so were truly the peak years, and that it has trended downward since, with proliferation of hot pot and Sichuan to the point of elbowing out much of regional and municipal cuisines. There are exceptions, of course, but there’s a reason I stopped doing the monthly updates for Eater LA. As someone here put it (J_L, Johnny Lee?), there are only so many ways to write “a new hot pot place has opened.” From that standpoint, I probably should’ve stopped doing them several months earlier, though I’m glad I hung in there for other reasons.
Hunan Mao is gone for a bit, replaced by a Vietnamese place. The original owner, who had run Hunan Seafood in Rosemead (and its sister restaurant, Hunan on Valley in San Gabriel), sold it and it slid a bit from being the “(b)est” Hunan to ok.
By the time I’d hit Xiang, I was quite disappointed. They’d dropped a lot of regional dishes and the quality of what I had was a bit disappointing as well.
One that doesn’t get mentioned, and I neglected to, is Noodle Harmony in Monterey Park. They specialize in some Hunan items, even though they also serve Sichuan dishes.
reports via FB say that the filipino BBQ place inside the alhambra ranch 99 market on main has opened. apparently there’s another branch of tony’s BBQ in w. covina - which also has a jolibee’s nearby. apparently your food is made to order, so be prepared to wait. or order first and then do your shopping at ranch 99 (or 99 ranch depending on your sensibilities).
I grabbed a plate yesterday when I was grocery shopping at the Alhambra Ranch 99. With two or so orders ahead of me it took about 12 minutes which is less time than they said (15-20 minutes) but I would second ordering and then shopping.
apparently the mama’s dumplings in the supersquare plaza at the SW corner of valley & san gabriel has undergone a change of some sort and now boasts signage proclaiming themselves to be deli kingdom.
and PSA: when ordering at saigon bakery, if you aren’t ordering in vietnamese and just give them the menu number, they tend to mishear about 50% of the time,so check your receipt to confirm your number, i neglected to do so and discovered a #20 even though i repeatedly and emphatically repeated “NUMBER TWENTY-ONE!!!” to the lady taking my order. also, the shrimp in their rolls is sliced in half so what looks like a whole shrimp is actually half a shrimp. as much as i love their egg banh mi, i’m going to start driving a couple of (LONG) blocks farther south to the new (third branch BTW) banh mi my tho on garvey between san gabriel & del mar for their cheaper banh mi (with better fillings) and then bang bang lucky1 take out dim sum.
the old country cafe location at garfield & valley has been replaced by LUYIXIAN, whose menu kinda defies categorization; there are some readily identifiable sichuan dishes like spicy boiled fish and an intestine with pickled vegetable noodle soup (which i had to try)
delicately yet fully flavored and with a texture less greasy than one might expect from a dish made with pigs feet. and even though the pigs feet were already quite flavorful, they came with a homemade chile combination on the side which is awfully good; it’s spicy, but uniquely so, and again, with no mala typically associated w/sichuan cooking.
they refill the little spice container for you to take home. and it will pain me for a while because i left it on the table when i left.
the last dish was ordered by my dinner companion who spoke in mandarin with the person taking the order (who appears to be the pop of this mom & pop operation and also speaks passable english) so i can’t tell you their name of the dish.
so all i can say is that it was a noodle dish with an eclectic mix of hard boiled egg, pork belly, & assorted unidentified offal which was again delicately flavored and definitely not spicy. might have been menu item #44.
apparently vietnam house (run by a sibling of the owner of golden deli at the same intersection of mission/las tunas) closed with little fanfare some time during the pandemic. there’s an unsubstantiated rumor that they closed and took over vietnam restaurant a few blocks to the east run by a well meaning but otherwise feckless third sibling of the family.