The first Kee Wah Bakery appeared in Hong Kong in 1938, where its moon cakes, bridal cakes, and other pastries gradually generated a loyal clientele. In 1985, when much of that clientele had migrated to the United States, Kee Wah set down new roots in LA to offer its signature floury goods to Californians. Patrons pick from crispy egg tarts, red-bean swirls, and pineapple crust buns using a self-serve bakery system, which is refilled with fresh breads baked three times a day. During the autumn, when the Chinese Lunar Festival is in full swing, the bakery churns out moon cakes filled with lotus seed and red-bean paste. The shop's three locations in the San Gabriel Valley?Monterey Park, San Gabriel, and Rowland Heights?help meet the demand for Chinese wedding cakes and almond cookies throughout the valley.
Sure, it has some other tasty options—crab, shrimp, steak—but you'd be remiss to walk out of Newport Tan Cang Seafood without trying the house-specialty lobster. But this isn't your everyday butter-drizzled crustacean: the hefty pile of deep-fried lobster meat comes dressed with black pepper, scallions, and chilies.
The cooks at A&J Hot Point Hot Pot lay the foundation of a delicious, belly-warming meal—the broth—at your table. The rest of the work, they leave to you. The soup remains at a simmer while you submerge the ingredients of your choice, ranging from meats to a variety of veggies. As you dip these morsels into the stew, it simultaneously cooks and flavors them in traditional Chinese dining style.
The broth menu itself is international in scope. Choices range from a Mongolian herbal mix to soups tinged with Korean kimchi and Japanese coconut curry. Some, such as the hot and spicy or spicy chicken broth, add additional fire. Guests dunk unlimited bites into the hot pot during all-you-can-eat lunches and dinners, then balance out the heat with a dessert of ice cream or a nice bowl of cold broth.
Chef Shi Peng might be a bit more attached to his knife than the average chef, but that’s to be expected since he made its blade himself. And it’s carried him through 25 years of carving dao xiao mian, the thick knife-cut noodle that pervades JTYH Restaurant’s popular dishes.
Those accustomed to traditional dim sum are in for a shock at Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant. Instead of ordering from standard steam carts, customers mark their order on a checklist and servers return with egg tarts—CNN Travel’s dessert of choice—or root veggie dumplings, a favorite of Los Angeles magazine.
Hainan, an island just off China’s southern coast, inspires the signature dish at Savoy Kitchen, the Hainan chicken rice. Patrons brave lines for a taste of the juicy chicken, which is slow-poached in broth for hours until it is tender and ready to be dipped into ginger, chili, and soy sauces.