Shenyang-Style Food in Los Angeles

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Originally posted on KCET. See the full post here.

Shenyang is the capital of Liaoning, a coastal province bordering North Korea in China. Like its northeastern neighbors (Beijing and Shandong), it’s heavy on meat and dough and there’s a considerable amount of Manchu and Mongolian influence.

There are also strong parallels between Korean cuisine and Shenyang food. Koreans make up a sizable chunk of the population and there are many intersecting dishes. Zha jiang mian (pork bean dry noodles) is cooked Chinese-style and the liang mian (cold noodles) resembles Korea’s naengmyeon.

Pickled vegetables and sauerkraut are common, vinegar is used generously, and the cuisine as a whole leans toward sour and salty tones.

Here are two places in Los Angeles to get Shenyang food (Yes they have the same name in English, but they’re not in any way affiliated with each other):

Shenyang Restaurant (San Gabriel)
This San Gabriel eatery has a massive menu (we estimate around 150-200 items), but if you’re having a difficult time picking what to order, note that some of their best stuff is in the first couple of pages. Go for the Jingdong meat pie. It’s ground pork with scallions sandwiched inside a flaky pie. If that isn’t enough meat and dough, give the dumplings a go. They’re plentiful at Shenyang Restaurant. There are six different types and if you find yourself craving more, you can buy them frozen to take home. Finish off with a bowl of the Korean cold noodle soup to share. Made with buckwheat noodles, it’s similar to naengmyeon but with a more tart and vinegary flavor profile. In a similar vein, there’s a cold appetizer dish that’s named “shredded jello mix with vegetable” that tastes like the Korean cold noodles but is different in terms of texture. What it is: a colorful blend of carrots, cucumber, enoki mushrooms, and wood ear mushrooms mixed with yam noodles in a chilly vinegar broth. 137 S San Gabriel Blvd., Ste A, San Gabriel, CA 91776.

Shenyang Restaurant (Monterey Park)
The star dish at Shenyang in Monterey Park is the cold noodles. They’re made in-house and accompanied by kimchi, braised egg, slices of beef, and a splattering of julienned cucumbers, sesame, and cilantro. It’s served in an icy-cold broth and comes in two variations: sweet-sour or salty. We recommend the sweet-sour broth and you might want to pair it with meat. The cumin-spiced chicken is fantastic if you don’t mind picking out all the bones, but if you want to forgo the hassle, the lamb skewers are tender, easy to eat, and seasoned with a tasty amount of cumin. 639 W Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91754.


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