Stir Fried Ong Choy // Little Malaysia

Same place as below ( Little Malaysia in El Monte), but they also serve veggies that are stir fried. This vegetable is the ong choy. I believe it’s a vegetable native to Asia, and some call it Chinese spinach . I think this is a misnomer. It tastes nothing like spinach. The only thing that resembles spinach are the leaves and stems, but even the leaves are much thinner than spinach. The stems are much tougher than spinach. They have a watery flavor and a satisfying crunch is cooked properly. Usually Little Malaysia serves it with shrimp paste, which can be a bit strong for those not use to southeast Asian cuisine, but you can always order it without the shrimp paste.

Pan Fried Noodles // Little Malaysia

(Pictured: Pan-fried noodles)

Noodles are part of my carb trifecta or a carbfecta if you will. The other two being rice and potatoes. Bread, I am not such a fan unless its coated in butter, bacon, sugar, or milk.

The noodles at Little Malaysia are pretty good. There are two things that make this place special for me. One is very personal. This place was one of my grandmother’s favorite restaurants, and the pan-fried noodles were my grandmother’s favorite dish to order. In fact, whenever we walk in, even without grandma Wong, the hostess knows exactly what we are going to order.

The less personal reason these noodles are good is that they have hot pan flavor. This flavor is hard to describe, but in Chinese Mama Chan calls it “wok hei” or the wok air. This air makes it very savory and almost what the foodies and gourmets call umami. If I could sit in a sauna that was filled with wok hei, my life would be complete.

Location 3944 Peck Road #8 El Monte, CA 91732

Price $10 per dish

Mini Cobbler// The Pie Hole

(Pictured: Mini Blueberry Cobbler )

This photo has been sitting in my draft pile for a long time. I am sorry that I have deprived the world of it’s deliciousness. My deepest sincerest apologies.

Who doesn’t like cobbler? It’s pie’s bestest buttery friend aside from the infamous pike (a pie bakes inside of a cake). I prefer peach cobbler, but you can’t get what you want all the time. Life just doesn’t work that way. But blueberry cobbler is equally delicious. They, as in The Pie Hole (which is an awesome name), also have a mac-n-cheese pie, which looks a lot like a calzone except with the deliciousness of mac-n-cheese on the inside. I am told that this is also delicious. Carbs+Carbs…what is there not to be delicious. As David Chang , chef at Momofuku and host of The Mind of a Chef on PBS, called it “The reverse atkins diet.” Sounds damned good to me.

Location 714 Traction Ave, Arts District, LA

Price $3-7 for pie slices


Puff Pastry Basket // La Jolla Hilton

(Pictured: the vegetarian option at the Hilton in La Jolla

I’ve been to San Diego mainly to go to Sea World aka the home of Shamu or to eat delicious pastries at Extraordinary Desserts after a walk at Balboa Park. A couple of months ago, however, I was able to go to San Diego to give a talk at a conference on language teaching and acquisition thanks to the wonderful people at my home university and at UC Davis, who hosted the conference this year. Presenting at a conference is nerve racking, but a free stay, transport, and food at the Hilton in La Jolla made it worth it.
As for the food at the Hilton, it was actually so-so. The puff pastry basket above was a bit soggy, but I have to admit it was a nice thing to look at. One night we had a buffet style setting, where they put orange juice into chow mein…my face was literally twisted in shock for the first bite.
On a slightly weirder note, I always pronounced La Jolla like La Jol-la, but now that I’ve been there I won’t pronounce it that way anymore.

Happy Thanksgiving ya’ll! I just realized there is a WordPress iPad app, so I will try to update more often. Technology continues to elude me!

beignets // Umamicatessen

(Pictured: beignets)
I ate this the same day I had lunch at Umamicatessen! I just found the picture. Isn’t it nice when you find a picture that you forgot you had? It might not be as nice as finding money you didn’t know you had, but at least it’s a picture of something fried and sweet, which are two of my favorite flavors in the entire world.

Vegetable Tofu // BCD Tofu House

(Pictured: Vegetable Tofu)

This past summer I spent a lot of time hanging out with family and friends, and I spent a lot of that time in Koreatown in Los Angeles. Why? Because there is delicious food there. Where there is delicious food, you can expect to see me there. Your family’s Thanksgiving dinner is delicious? Send me an invitation, and I will be there to judge the deliciousness.

BCD Tofu House is a chain of Soon Tofu (순두부) restaurants. I’ve been to the one in Rowland Heights and in Seoul, and most recently I went to the one in Koreatown. It’s been years since my initial trip to BCD, but this trip reminded me that spicy is SPICY. Like drink mostly water spicy. Eat lots of rice spicy. Spicy food makes my mouth water. The smell, the taste, and the sizzle sound gives you the chills. My mouth is watering right now as I am writing this post. BCD tofu isn’t outstanding soon tofu. At best, it’s what I would call good, but not impressive. But the spiciness will have you slurping up that temperature hot and taste hot tofu like it’s your last meal before a descent into a fiery hell or an equally hot car with leather seats in a Southern California summer.

The cool thing is that they make all their tofu soups with organic tofu.

Location Many many many many

3575 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010

1731 Fullerton Road, Rowland Heights, CA 91748

Seoul Mapogu, Dohadong 179-1, Seoul Korea

Price $10-15


Scallion Pancake + Da doumiao // Mama Lu’s

(Pictured: Da Doumiao and Scallion Pancake/ 大豆苗 & 葱油饼)

Vegetables are good for you. In my world, any kind of pancake is good for you too. Sweet pancakes. Banana pancakes. Stuffed Pancakes. Flaky pancakes. Chocolate chip pancakes. And at MaMa Lu’s in Monterey Park, the Scallion Pancake is pretty delicious.

Chinese food is not for the faint of heart. It can be oily, full of MSG, salty, and full of carbohydrates. It can be healthy too. Veggies are always at the table, but these veggies are also full of salt, oil, and MSG. But that’s what makes it delicious!!! I don’t recommend the scallion pancake if you do not like oil. If you are a fat lover, like me, order one to eat there and one to go.

MaMa Lu’s is pretty standard for Chinese food in Monterey Park, but their scallion pancakes are pretty delicious. I generally like scallion pancakes, but after many many failed attempts to make it at home, I stick to eating them at restaurants. Mama Lu’s is flaky and full of scallions. It is greasy, but that’s what makes it delicious!!!

Location 153 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91755

Price  $10