The Unvegan

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‘Dumplings’

Living in Green Heaven

Still pretty green.

Hoi An might be one of the coolest little towns in the world. It reminded me of the water towns not far from Shanghai, except with a modern touch that seems to blend seamlessly with the old. And like any cool little town worth its salt, Hoi An has a couple of dishes that claim to be indigenous to the town. As such, we made our way to Green Heaven in Hoi An to try out the goods.

Back in Black at Constance Perry’s

Black as night.

Hotels aren’t exactly known for their food. Yet, there has been a trend to try to get better restaurants into hotels and I give those hotels major props for trying. In Pasadena the dusitD2 Constance Hotel has a spot called Constance Perry’s. It’s kind of Asian, kind of American, but definitely not fusion because those dishes kind of stand out on their own.

Taking Down Dumplings at Myung In

Big balls.
Big balls.

Koreatown is so damn big that the only way you can possibly figure out which restaurants are good is by word of mouth. Thus, my buddy suggested Myung In Dumplings, which is essentially a Korean-ized Chinese dumpling spot right in the heart of Koreatown. I think he found it by watching some TV show, which generally means delicious food and I was hoping the TV would lead me right again.

Perfect Shanghainese at Emperor Noodles

Hen hao chi!
Hen hao chi!

There is a saying attributed to Jonathan Gold that goes something like “‘A’ is for ‘American’ Chinese food, ‘B’ is for ‘Better’ Chinese food and ‘C’ is for ‘Chinese’ Chinese food.” The letters, of course, are in reference to the health code and if you’ve ever been to China, you would know this to be true. Thus, when I heard great things about the dumplings at Emperor Noodles in San Gabriel and then found out it had a “B” rating, I got pretty excited to try it out.

New and Juicy at Long Xing Ji

So juicy.
So juicy.

What’s in a name? A xiaolongbao by any other name would be just as soupy. Well, at least that’s what Long Xing Ji is banking on. You see, Long Xing Ji was once called Wang Xing Ji and was an incredibly popular dumpling spot in San Gabriel. Typically a wildly successful place would stick with a name that works, but for some reason that was not the case with Wang Xing Ji. Nonetheless, if the dumplings were as good as I had heard, I wasn’t going to complain about the name.

Fried Cake at Shanghai Dumpling House

The main chow.
The main chow.

In my latest sojourn into the San Gabriel Valley, I made my way to Shanghai Dumpling House in the city of San Gabriel. I had heard this was one of the better spots to get authentic Shanghai-style dumplings a while ago and wanted to see if it could deliver. Of course, I went with a crew to ensure that I could try more than just that. The only hard part was ensuring they didn’t walk into Shandong Dumpling House, which is house in the same mini mall.

A Good First Szechuan Impression

Impressive!
Impressive!

When it comes to Chinese food, I typically seek out Szechwan (or Sichuan or Szechuan), Shanghainese or Cantonese, so when I heard about a great newish place called Szechuan Impression in Alhambra I knew I had to get there – and fast! Thus I found myself at the place just before 6:00 pm on a Saturday. The earlybird risk paid off and we were seated nearly immediately.

Almost China at Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village

I have to braise you like I should.
I have to braise you like I should.

Living right at the edge of the San Gabriel Valley can be a beautiful thing. Especially, that is, if you love Chinese food. There are parts of the SGV that literally make you feel like you have been transported into the heart of China and Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village is one of those places. While it has supposedly gone through some management changes lately, it has been a regular on lists of LA’s best restaurants and has a menu the size of a long novel.

Searching for Shangri-La

Dim sum noodles.
Dim sum noodles.

Strangely situated in the middle of West Bloomfield, Michigan is one very authentic Chinese restaurant. It’s called Shangri-La and has the endorsement of not one, but two Chinese/Taiwanese people I know that have been there. It also has the endorsement of all the other people that show up on the weekends for their dim sum.

Pigging Out at Golden Pig

Shikh Ye!
Shikh Ye!

Once every 60 years the world is greeted with the Year of the Golden Pig. The last one was in 2007, yet if you live in Pittsburgh, every day can be a Golden Pig day, assuming you are willing to drive out to Cecil. That’s where Golden Pig, a Korean restaurant that pretty much operates as a small Korean household, is situated. The only difference is that you don’t have to take your shoes off when you enter.