SGV: JR Cafe

beef vermicelli clay pot


A few weeks ago, I had the whim to try one of my old late night haunts, JR Cafe in San Gabriel. Back in the early to mid- 90s, Hong Kong style cafes were popping up all over the San Gabriel Valley. There you would find a mixture of Chinese and Western style foods peacefully co-mingling and unified with a multitude of tea drinks. The most racy of the sort was the ying yang (coffee mixed with tea and served with condensed milk). On this night, I decided to get an iced Chrysanthemum tea. Unfortunately they don’t do refills on this but expect refills on others.

There’s something about Chinese food where I order too much food. We got the whole Tilapia fish soup to start. It took a while to get to our table but when it came, the bowl was enormous. The restaurant actually piled on the fish, tofu, bok choy on a separate plate and served the milky soup with the preserved eggs (1000 year old eggs, baby).


soup with fish and preserved eggs

fish, tofu and bok choy from soup

We had thought about canceling the soup order as it was taking a while but I’m glad we didn’t.

roast chicken


As a nod to the Western dishes, we got the roast chicken. The photo on the menu makes it look enormous but it’s actually just a tad bit bigger than a Cornish game hen. You get a choice of soup and rice or spaghetti with this plate. We had a hot pot of vermicelli and fried rice so we packed the spaghetti to go.


seafood curry

We ordered so much food the restaurant sent out a free dish! We got the seafood curry. I could taste a lot of coconut milk in this.

salted fish fried rice

My favorite dish this night turned out to be the salted fish fried rice. I had high hopes for the beef and vermicelli clay pot but it was a bit saucy for my liking. It made the slipper noodles even more slippery.

Ah but the rice. Get this dish! It’s a homey dish but just perfect if you’re carbo loading. Maybe I should start running.

pea tendrils with garlic


And it’s not a real Chinese meal without greens. We got my favorite pea tendrils with garlic. It was a tad oily but not too bad.

I still see this as a late night place but at the early dinner hour of 7 PM, it was fairly crowded with families instead of the hoards of 20 somethings.

JR Cafe

512 W Valley Blvd., San Gabriel, CA 91776 — (626) 457-8898
© The Minty 2012