1) I checked out China Islamic Restaurant, one of few Northern-style Islamic joints in Los Angeles. Perhaps what is so alluring about this particular restaurant is the diversity of their clients. There is always a solid mix of Chinese and Arab customers. China Islamic has been in business for over two decades; here’s a guide to some of their most popular dishes. (Serious Eats)
2) Indonesian food is fundamentally earthy: Think of spicy red sambal sauce paired with ayam goreng (fried chicken), or fish paste balls and a creamy peanut sauce over lean bean sprouts and crispy green vegetables. Meals are sometimes served on banana leaves, and each dish is designed to stuff you full. And if you’re into exotic fruit, all of these places serve up a mean durian milkshake. (LA Weekly)
3) Devouring Valley Blvd: a guide to great SGV restaurants + a video of me explaning some of my picks! (CitySearch)
4) Korean BBQ Update: Oo-Kook Now Open in the SGV + A Salad Bar (LA Weekly)
5) Check out my fancy salad makin’ skills. (CityEats)
6) Refrigerator Raid: Gaurav Anand of Moti Mahal Delux (CityEats)
…And on a relevant note, check out the new music video from the Fung Brothers on the 626 boba tea culture
Hunan food is very spicy, but that spice level can be adjusted. There aren’t any tongue-numbing ingredients in Hunan cuisine either. Sichuan food is both tongue-numbing and spicy because of the incorporation of peppercorns. The way we cook food in Hunan-style cuisines also tends to accentuate the flavor of the dishes. There’s a lot of vegetables used and the spice doesn’t drown the flavor — it accentuates it. – John Huang, owner of Mao’s Restaurant and SGV Hunan food pioneer
I arrived at Chung King under the pretense of some serious bromance. Now, every since J started applying to dental schools, it’s been like pulling teeth (heh, pun intended) to get him out of the house… let alone eat a proper dinner at a restaurant with me.
Perhaps it’s a medical student mentality. He needs to stay grounded, stay “in the zone.” That’s part of the reason I headed up to San Fran for a weekend trip. I needed someone to go out with — even if she was all the way up north.
But when J’s childhood friend asked him to go out for some Sichuan food, he didn’t even hesitate. Heck, he barely even asked what was going to be on the menu (a rarity for him).
I let him be. The kid’s stressed and at least I was going with.
And as the circle of bros caught up on Pokemon card trading tactics in elementary school, I marveled at the food. To be honest, the restaurant can be potentially frightening at night. It sports a fluorescent red light as signage and it stands by itself on the corner of San Gabriel and Fairview. The interior is dark and because it’s such a tiny space, there aren’t much conversations going around. I believe our party of seven was the largest around.
As for the food? Amazing.
I started off with the boiled fish in Sichuan peppercorns. It has everything to make a mouth go foul: a generous heaping of coarsely grated garlic on top, thick, starchy chili oil, dangerously blood red chili flakes, and scallions for decorative measures. Now for those who aren’t familar with the mala qualities of peppercorns, they literally numb and have almost a lemony/peppery aftertaste. But with the spice comes an addictive longing for more. The white, flaky fish was drenched in sauce. And even though my tongue was burning, I found myself taking a big helping, slathering it all on my bowl of white rice and consuming each bite greedily.
Our host for the evening was generous enough to suggest some non-spicy options. Bean curd, cabbage , and a smoked pork dish were among our selections. As a tofu fanatic, I found myself reaching for the bean curd in between bites.
But the highlight of the night had to be the fried chicken.
Oh god how do I describe it? Perhaps a string of adjectives will be appropriate: crispy, peppery, meaty, crunchy, convenient (no bones), and of course — spicy. I found myself subconciously comparing the dish to Bowien’s version up in SF. Just as good, but nowhere near as famous.
Six dishes for seven people and the price came out to be an average of $10 per person including tip and tax.
1000 S San Gabriel Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776
One of my favorite articles I had the opportunity to write:
It’s tough being a Chinese vegetarian. The words “Chinese food” and “vegetarianism” are rarely synonymous. In China especially, dietary restrictions are rarely paid attention to. It’s rude to be picky, and even ruder to outright decline food.
Though vegetarianism in the mainstream Chinese culture is a rare practice, a handful of restaurants in America have capitalized on the niche in recent years. According to Scott Hwang, owner of Vege Paradise (formerly known as Gourmet Vegetarian) in San Gabriel, California, his main customers are Chinese Buddhists (who refrain from meat, garlic and onions), the health-conscious, and American vegetarians.