For non-natives, the San Gabriel Valley’s Chinese food scene can be difficult to navigate. If you’ve been scouring the inter-web for dining options in this far eastern corridor of Los Angeles, look no further. We’ve rounded up an extensive list of culinary choices from dim sum and pho to Taiwanese specialties. The added bonus: these cheap eats will have you fed breakfast, lunch and dinner. How cheap? Let’s just say a ten dollar bill will get you through the meal and then some.
Stop into this eatery in Monrovia for a uniquely Taiwanese-style breakfast. Owner Jason Ting has taken the family business and modernized it for the mainstream. What that means: great service, an impeccably clean storefront and authentic Taiwanese breakfast foods. Their menu has a smattering array of doughy selections like youtiao (Chinese doughnut), pork buns and a crispy green onion pancake topped with an egg. The picture menus at Yi-Mei expedite the ordering process for confused first-timers, and they’ve put in a place a nifty combo system where you can get an item of your choice plus a tall glass of freshly brewed soy milk for only $4.50.
A food crawl of the San Gabriel Valley wouldn’t be complete without a trip to one of the region’s finest dim sum restaurants. Lunasia has the entire package: a beautiful dining room and yum cha selections that really give you the bang for your buck. The portions here are titanic. Each individual crystal shrimp dumplings ($4.68) is packed in with multiple prawns, while the egg tarts ($2.08 for three) comes piping hot in oversized portions.
Take a culinary bite of the Northeastern corridor of China at this Tianjin-style breakfast eatery. There’s your standard Chinese fare like youtiao (Chinese doughnuts), buns and soymilk, but there are a couple of standouts such as a uniquely Tianjinese dish, gabacai, with mung bean flakes soaked in a thick gravy of chili oil, light soy sauce, fermented milk, sesame sauce and parsley, and fried dough with brown sugar ($1.99). Forget cronuts—the flakiness plus sweetness of the deep-fried dessert rivals the doughnut of the moment. Sure, the shapeless mound of crispy fried dough—topped with a thin layer of brown sugar—may not be much to look at, but let your taste buds make the final verdict.
Sam Woo BBQ
This nearly three decades-old SGV establishment is the place to get your daily fix of Guangdong-style roasted meats. The duck ($9.95 for half portion) is marinated in savory juices, glazed with a thin layer of sweet maltose and served with a sweet plum sauce. Pair with a bowl of wonton soup ($3.99) with noodles imported straight from Hong Kong for an authentic dining experience.
Originally from Time Out Los Angeles. See all three pages of my picks here.