A few weekends ago, San Diego food blogger Jenn of Kirbie’s Cravings and her posse (2 brothers and future husband) came up for a visit. She invited me to join her on a food crawl thru the San Gabriel Valley led by Danny aka Kung Food Panda. Having not explored much of the SGV, I quickly jumped on the opportunity.
Our first stop was JTYH, a small restaurant specializing in knife cut noodles. I had heard of this place from Danny and @Limer35, mainly because of a certain dish called Mooshu “Cat Ears”. Gulliable ol’ me though they were really eating cat ears the first time they mentioned it. In actuality, this dish is made up of knife cut noodles that end up looking like cat ears…sometimes. On our visit, they weren’t particularly cat-earish but you could see how they could be mistaken with a little imagination. Topped with an egg-mushroom-green onion mixture, I really enjoyed this dish. The noodles had a nice chewy consistency and reminded me of orecchiette.
Danny, who did the ordering for us, requested an array of items. We had some spicy wontons. These were really well done dumplings and I liked the sauce they sat in…not overly spicy but good flavor.
There was also a plate of boiled dumplings that I didn’t care for ; I thought they were bland and the wrappers a little too thick. A quick dip in the leftover spicy wonton sauce helped.
There was a beef roll, my first time eating one of these. A crispy, almost tortilla-like wrapper rolled around a filling of beef, green onion, and some other greens, this was delicious. There was a sauce very much like the Peking duck sauce. The piece I ate only had a little of this sauce; I would have liked more.
We also enjoyed two bowls of knife-cut noodle soups – a seafood one and a beef one. The seafood one was mild while the beef one had nice beefy flavor without being heavy.
We also had a cold noodle dish which I was thankful for because I was starting to get hot from all the soups. Shredded chicken, egg, lettuce and noodles mixed with a sesame peanut sauce…light, chilled and refreshing. This was a nice filling meal and ended up being a lot cheaper than I was expecting! I think it was around$12-15/pp, including tax & tip…
Our next stop was Dai Ho, a lunch-only Taiwanese noodle joint. Small, cash-only and serving only a short list of items, this place apparently has a reputation for some “strict” rules; Danny said the owner is sometimes referred to as the “noodle nazi”. We fortunately arrived before they closed and ordered a bowl of beef noodle soup and a bowl of the minced meat dry noodles.
The beef noodle soup here was much bolder than the version we had at JTYH. Beefier and spicier, I could see why Danny prefers Dai Ho’s rendition.
I also liked the flavorful minced meat dry noodles and actually ate more of this, mainly because it was too warm for me to be eating hot soup. But on a cold day, I would be all over the beef noodle soup here. If it weren’t so far from where I lived…
We made a pit stop at Half & Half Tea House for some boba. I went with Danny’s usual order of an Icy Milk with caramel, honey boba and pudding; delish. Yay, something cold to cool me down!
The last stop for me was Dean Sin World. Many bloggers I know have raved about the dumplings here and come here to buy frozen dumplings. It’s a little difficult to call this a “restaurant”. I get the feeling most people come here to buy frozen dumplings to go; there were only around 3 tables, max capacity around 10 people? Danny thinks it’s more like 5 tables, seats 20. Either way, it’s small! But sooo worth a stop in.
We started off with some red bean pastries.
Next up were potstickers. Steamed then pan fried, the bottom had a little crispiness. When I bit into one, the juices from the filling flowed. Heaven!
We also devoured an order of Xiao Long Bao (XLB aka pork soup dumplings). Danny, being a frequent customer here, is friends with the owner and she ended up giving our meal to us for free. I also bought a bag of frozen potsickers to eat at home; they were that good.
I really enjoyed the food I ate on this day; it’s always fun to try new dishes, especially when they are delicious!
I give all these places 4 NOMs. The food and prices are WIN in my book. Just remember to bring cash since a lot of SGV joints don’t take card.