Hunan Restaurant 湖南少官 in Rowland Heights, CA

Hunan Restaurant 湖南少官 in Rowland Heights, CA

One of two locations (the other being in Monterey Park) serving up reasonably priced Hunan dishes.  Dishes that were made with a combination of dried red chiles and fresh green chiles offered a nice spicy kick to them.  The only dish we didn’t enjoy was the steamed tilapia.  Tilapia is a bottom dweller in the ocean and has been known to eat sludge from the ocean floor.  That is one of the reasons tilapia can have a muddy flavor to the meat.

Service was decent, and the price point was very affordable (For our table of 6, the cost of dinner with tax and an 18% gratuity was only $18.00 per person).  I’ve posted the entire menu, as it cannot be found anywhere (except, possibly on Yelp).


Ruiji Sichuan Restaurant 瑞吉川菜 in Lomita, CA

Ruiji Sichuan Restaurant 瑞吉川菜 in Lomita, CA

Hard to believe that there’s been a true Sichuan restaurant in the South Bay area of Los Angeles (communities south of LAX) for almost 2 years now before I finally discovered them.  The prices here are slightly higher than the Sichuan restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley, but the quality of their food pretty much rival the excellent ones in San Gabriel Valley.

The menu is huge and offers a wonderful variety of Sichuan dishes and more.  The dishes offer a good enough of a kick but not to the point where the spiciness would overpower the layers of flavors that exude from every dish from the very first bite.  And while most of the dishes were delicious, there were a couple of under-performing dishes, such as the Corn laced with Salted Egg Yolk and the Wontons in Spicy Chili Oil.  The corn was too sweet and had too much of the salted duck egg yolks dusted over them.  It ate more like a dessert than savory goodness.  The wontons tasted one dimensional, especially from the sauce the wontons were served with.

Other than that, it was a great dinner.  With so many offerings on their menu, we would have to make a couple of return visits in the future.


酸菜魚 Dinner at Tai 2 太二 Chinese Sauerkraut Fish in City of Industry

酸菜魚 Dinner at Tai 2 太二 Chinese Sauerkraut Fish in City of Industry

Sichuan style restaurant that specializes in spicy whole fish cooked in a spicy broth made with sour pickled vegetables (aka Chinese sauerkraut), dried red chiles, and Sichuan peppercorns.  The dish is can be quite spicy depending on the level of heat you choose.  We went with Medium Spice level, and it was quite spicy for our table.   The Sichuan peppercorns gave that nice numbing effect that somewhat neutralizes the burn from the chiles.  Unfortunately, the dish was quite salty.  In fact, almost all of their dishes were over-seasoned.

The fish used was tilapia.  In our Extra Large sized order, the used 2 loosely filleted tilapia.  I say “loosely filleted” because the skin is not remove, and you would definitely encounter bones that are still inside each chunk of fish meat.  So, eat with care.

Pricing here seemed rather high for the quality of the dishes, and their sizes.  Even a bowl of steamed white rice costs $2 per bowl.

Service here is typical of restaurant from Mainland China.  The staff is nice, but other than serving you your dishes, and provide you with the basics, they don’t do anything extra, such as refilling water glasses.

The best dishes of the night were the chicken feet and the vegetable dishes as well.

We did enjoy quirky English names given for their dishes, almost literal translations from the quirky Chinese names.

Xian Kitchen 西安食府 in City of Industry, CA

Xian Kitchen 西安食府 in City of Industry, CA

Small restaurant that opened back in 2014, serving up regional cuisine from Shaanxi Province (陝西) in North Central China, where hand-pulled noodles are popular, as well as flavor-forward dishes incorporating the use of ingredients such as cumin, garlic, green onions, dried red chiles, and vinegar.  Bordering the Sichuan Province to the north, it’s understandable why the last 2 pages of their menu feature many of the dishes you would find in Sichuan cuisine such as Mapo Tofu, Eggplant in Garlic Sauce, and Kungpao Chicken.  However, the most noteworthy dishes are the rou jia mo (肉夹馍, the Chinese style hamburger of baked buns made with fermented dough), lamb pao mo (羊肉泡馍, a lamb soup with rice vermicelli and pieces of bread made from fermented dough, often described as Chinese pita bread), and qi shan ground pork noodle (岐山臊子面, made with a rich, bright red broth using red chiles and vinegar.  Noodles, bean curd, egg, and green onions were featured in this noodle soup.)

The most of the dishes we ordered were delicious and quite distinct in flavor.  Popular with our table were the lamb pao mo, rou jia mo, and the qi shan ground pork noodles.  Quite a hearty dish was the Big Plate Chicken, which is a Uyghur dish (Xinjiang being not too far west of Shaanxi) made of hand pulled noodles, sautéed chicken, fried potatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic and cumin.  The dish was so big, it can easily feed up to 5 on its own.  Even a simple dish as stir fried cabbage with dried red chiles and black vinegar came out to be very flavorful.

Unfortunately, dumplings were the weakest part of the meal.  Though they’re popular in Southern and Northeastern China, the ones offered here were just not well seasoned at all.  Quite bland.

Service is here is “no frills” and may come across rude and flippant, but that’s how most Chinese restaurants are that don’t specifically cater to a Western audience.

Click on the thumbnail to enlarge.


Spicy Sichuan Goodness at Hip Hot at Atlantic Times Square in Monterey Park

Opened in early 2015, Hip Hot introduced SGV to another popular dish, the Crab Pot.  However, they offer the spicy dishes that many of us have come to love over the years, in addition to some different variations of dishes we normally see at other Sichuan restaurants.  One of them is the Squid with Pickled Chili, which, when ordered as is, comes out super spicy that I was only able to handle one pice of squid, while I was cooling my mouth off with gulps of Sour Plum Juice.

Flavors here make them one of my more favorite Sichuan restaurants in the Los Angeles area.

They also specialize in seafood, offering King Crab, Sea Urchin, and Abalone, to name a few.

Unfortunately, their Szechuan Style Stir-Fry Chicken has been modified to appease the palates of those not in tune with Sichuan cuisine.  End result are more Americanized dishes with toned down heat levels.   However, they may be able to still make the original version of their Szechuan Style Stir-Fry Chicken, if you were to pre-order with at least 1 day’s notice so that they can prep the ingredients and have them ready to fire up as soon as you arrive for your meal.

Payment is either all in cash or all on 1 credit card.  They can’t do multiple credit cards, nor split the bills for both payments by credit card(s) and cash.

Spicy Beef Jerky (Complimentary testing dish)

Black Wood Ear (Fungus) with Chili Pickle
Fuqi Feipian (Cold Braised Beef and Beef Tripe in Chili Oil)
Dongguan Style Green (Mung) Bean Jelly (Noodles)
Szechuan Style Cold Noodle (with Chicken)
 Szechuan Style Fish Pot (Filets with Lotus Root, Young Bamboo Shoots, Wood Ear Fungus)
Dry-Fried French Beans with Minced Pork

Squid with Pickle Chili (Super Spicy)
Stir-Fried Chicken (Boneless) with Serrano Chiles (Off Menu Item)
Stir-Fry Chinese (Mountain) Yam (with Kabocha Squash, Wood Ear Fungus, and Pea Shoots)
Sichuan Crispy Duck (Xiangsu Yazi) (Off Menu Item)
Twice Cooked Pork (Requested to be made spicy)
Stir-Fry Crab with House Pickle Chili (Over Potatoes, Bell Peppers)
Szechuan Sitr-Fry Chicken with Dry Chili (aka La Zi JI, Spicy Chongqing Chicken)
(Their famous) Crab Pot

Shouzhua Mutton Chop