Happy Lunar New Year!

Growing up, this “second” new year was always referred to as the Chinese New Year. It’s only recently I started calling it the Lunar New Year. This year is the year of the tiger. Do tigers eat a lot because I feel like I started this year right!

In the past few days, I’ve had more Chinese food than I have since I was a kid (or pre-college).

Carina from the UncouthGourmands asked me what I was doing for lunch on Sunday which also happened to be Valentine’s day which as a singleton, I generally ignore. I replied I’d like to have dumplings (well, I wanted dim sum but I feared the long lines).

beef noodle soup

So we met up at Noodle House in Monterey Park where we just beat the rush. The restaurant was part of my dumplings crawl last year so I’ve tried all their dumplings before and insisted we get the pork and celery. We also got the combo seafood as well as a bowl of beef noodle soup and green onion pancakes. Did we over-order for two people? Of course we did!

combo seafood dumplings

The beef noodle soup has potential but you can tell the broth hadn’t infused the noodles. It was better the next day (and with a bit of hot chili paste).

Did we take any leftover dumplings home? We did but barely any. They are just that good. I could have probably done without the noodles and picked up more dumplings. Maybe my other favorite, the pumpkin.

Taiwanese Shaved Ice

We continued our adventure at Cool Spot. For $6.99, you got six toppings (or $3.25 for 3 which makes no sense since shouldn’t it have been cheaper to order more?).

In any case, I got my shaved ice with lychee, boba, taro, milk, large red beans and almond jello. I should have gotten it with just lychee, small red beans and almond jello as the boba were too hard, the taro gigantic and the milk melted my ice fasted than you can say “this is now soup!” Oh, and I didn’t realize the large red beans were like kidney beans!

But I dig the decor and if I really wanted shaved ice, I might come back (and split a lesser-toppings one with someone instead of getting my own).

corn and fish maw soup

Next up was the Chinese New Year dinner with my family. My mother had wanted to go to a vegetarian Chinese place but luckily for me, it was so crowded we went to Sam Woo at Focus Plaza. We’ve been frequenting this Sam Woo since I was a teenager and it has not changed one bit.

roast duck

We had ordered the chicken and corn soup but it came with fish maw. Or at least what I think is fish maw. It had a strange chewy texture and vaguely fishy.

The roast duck had soggy skin but it was still pretty much delicious. I was glad the plum sauce wasn’t too sickly sweet.

fried tofu with mushrooms

We also ordered pork chops for my brother since he doesn’t eat seafood. And then a couple of veggie dishes for my mom including the fried tofu with mushroom sauce and a “faux” abalone with baby bok choy.

I fear the vegetarian place is in my future for Mother’s Day.

crispy walnut shrimp

Yesterday, I was out with a friend who never gets to eat “Asian” food so we went to a Chinese Hong Kong style cafe where she loves their crispy walnut shrimp.

beef chow fun

She ordered the beef chow fun for her son thinking the noodles would be soft enough for a 20-month-old. He seemed to like the beef more. I agreed with the baby since I felt the noodles didn’t retain any sauce or flavor.

chicken and mushroom hotpot rice

I ordered the chicken and mushroom hotpot. Well, perhaps I should have ordered this dish at a place known for their hotpots but this was very sad. The rice didn’t have any crust on it, there wasn’t enough gravy and to make matters worse, I found an extraordinary number of bone shards.

string beans in XO sauce

At least my string beans in XO sauce were good.

Noodle House

958 E. Garvey Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91755

(626) 280-0831

Cool Spot

140 West Valley Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776

(626) 288-7088

Sam Woo

140 W Valley Blvd
Suite 107
San Gabriel, CA 91776

(626) 572-8418

Tasty Garden

1212 South Baldwin Ave
Arcadia, CA 91007

(626) 445-9388