SGV: Cantonese Food at Happy Garden
For Lunar New Year/ Chinese New Year, my family and I went to Happy Garden for dinner. There were a few dishes we had to get; chicken and noodles but otherwise, we ordered what we liked.
I never feel a Chinese meal is quite right unless there’s soup. There are three I like including the classic Westlake beef soup, seafood and tofu soup and crab and fish maw soup. Occasionally I might get egg drop or hot and sour soup. But those are reserved for “Chinese American” (emphasis on American) meals.
After consulting with my brother, we decided on the crab and fish maw soup. While I think the crab was real crab, the fish maw was a bit funny. It was quite chewy leading my mother to think it may have actually been fried pork skin (a la chicharron style). Still tasty though, particularly after a splash of red vinegar and a sprinkle of white pepper.
We were going to get the three BBQ combo but the restaurant wanted to give us complimentary chicken so we opted for just roast pork and duck. Usually it’s Peking duck but at Happy Garden they serve it Chiu Chow style which meant it had a slight gravy.
While not the best Cantonese BBQ, these dishes were fine. Sam Woo probably has them beat.
For our main dishes, we got the salt and pepper pork chop (shown above) and scallops and asparagus. My mother would have liked the whole steamed fish but the only one they had is tilapia which I avoid.
The pork chop was nicely fried. The scallops were oddly chopped with a ton of irregular sized pieces. Could they have thrown out the tougher chewier end pieces of the asparagus? Sure but that just meant they shaved down the ends to the tender inner stem.
We would have gotten tong choy, the hollow stem veggie also known as morning glory at Thai spots or ong choy but they were out. We were quite fine with the pea sprouts with garlic though as it’s a delicious one.
And we got noodles for long life. My family’s fave is yee mein (also known as e fu). This was a lot drier than I expected and not enough of a portion! I expected to take home leftovers but this was the first dish to go. It just means we should have ate more of our rice for our daily carb intake. But why have plain rice when you can have happy (garden) noodles.
Happy Garden is located in the same strip mall as one of the oldest Hong Kong style cafes in the San Gabriel Valley. We found parking easily enough and for that reason, probably will return.
Happy Garden108 N Garfield Ave., Monterey Park, CA 91754 — (626) 782-7556
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