Sunday, July 31

Seafood Village

Seafood Village is a restaurant that I go to for special occasions such as birthdays and graduations because of one thing: the awesome crab. Almost every table orders the "House Special Crab" because it's so good. The pieces of crab come roasted among an insane amount of chopped garlic, with chilies and scallions. If you go, you must order some, it's to-die-for.

The crab is the central part of the meal, but Seafood Village also produces great dishes featuring other seafood and meat items. My family always orders the steamed tilapia (which is not on the menu), and the "Crab Meat and Fish Maw Soup." Another good soup choice is the "Pork Stomach and Black Pepper Soup."

For meat, you can't go wrong with the "House Special Chicken" which is also known as "Princess Chicken" in Cantonese, because it was only eaten by princesses. Now us mere mortals can partake of this salty, juicy dish. I would also suggest the "Crispy Deep Fried Beancurd w/ Bamboo Fungus" which is way better tasting than the name suggests. To round off with some vegetables, my family usually orders the "Pan-fried String beans w/ Minced Meat." It's a great celebratory meal!

As with most Chinese seafood restaurants, the environment is loud, but the food is worth it. There are two locations of Seafood Village. Both are excellent in cuisine, but the Monterey Park branch has substantially less parking., and the decor of the Temple City branch is nicer to look at.

Seafood Village
684 Garvey Ave.
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 289-0088

9669 Las Tunas Drive
Temple City, CA 91780
(626) 286-2299
Mon - Sun 11:00AM to 1:00AM

Labels: , ,

Yazmin Malaysian Restaurant

After having a taste of Malaysian food in Northern California at the restaurant Banana Island, I came home craving pan-fried noodles and roti canai with spicy curry sauce to dip in. The only Malaysian restaurant I could think of in Alhambra is Yazmin, a place I have never been in but was familiar with since its location is in the busy heart of Main Street, next to the Edwards Renaissance. With its courteous staff, affordable prices, and relaxing, spacious ambiance, Yazmin is worth a look.

Upon entering, I noticed the walls were adorned with colorful paper artwork and fans. There are booths parallel to opposite sides of the wall; this creates an illusion of a large environment that made me keep scoping out the diners on the far other side.

The expansive menu includes noodle soup, fried noodles, seafood, and vegetarian; they have lunch special prices (~$4.75) on Monday-Thursday (excluding holidays). Although I went on a Sunday, the prices were still within a reasonable range (~$6.75).

For the appetizer, the roti canai, which is a flaky, thin fried pancake, came in a pair with a bowl of curry dipping sauce. My grubby hands rushed to tear off a piece, but retreated as the roti canai was piping hot and burned! Once it cooled down, I was able to savor the chewy, fried bread. Instead of crispy and light, Yazmin's version of the pancake was more soggy and greasy. However, the curry sauce was good enough, being spicy opposed to creamy.

The main dish I ordered was Char Kuei Teow, which was fried flat rice noodles with bean sprouts, shrimp, chicken, egg and leeks. When asked if I wanted to order it spicy or non-spicy, I opted for spicy but once it was delivered, my taste buds did not detect anything so their chili sauce must not be very hot. I ordered mine sans chicken, and overall, this oily stir-fry dish went down the palate easy enough. At many Chinese restaurants such as Sam Woo, this fried flat noodle dish is quite popular but with beef instead of chicken and shrimp.

As for dessert, we ordered a ice blended taro drink with bananas and tapioca and many other things I could not identified called Mo Mo Cha Cha. It was possible the best dish of the meal, and the waiter informed us that it could be served both hot and cold. Try the latter and it makes for a satisfying summer cooler. Here a tip: instead of sharing it like I did, order one for each individual because it will disappear fast!

Throughout the meal, the waitresses and waiters were attentive and brought an extra bowl and napkins for the dessert without us having to ask. This made the meal even better as I felt the staff prided themselves in what Yazmin served.

Despite my limited knowledge of Malaysian food, Yazmin delivers a passing grade in my book, which means it is miles better than say the bland and tasteless Noodle Planet/World. But Yazmin adds to that with their wonderful service, bright and clean atmosphere, and great prices, which makes this lone Malaysian Restaurant stand out on Main Street.

Yazmin Malaysian Restaurant
27 East Main Street
Alhambra, CA 91801
(626) 308-2036
Sun - Thu 11:00AM to 9:30PM
Fri - Sat 11:00AM to 10:00PM

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, July 27

Seven Courses of Beef

My all-time favorite Vietnamese food would have to be the specialty served at Anh Hong Restaurant: 7 courses of beef. As soon as you walk in the door the delicious smell of the food overwhelms you. I would not wear my best clothes, because they end up smelling like the restaurant. Also remember to wash your hands before going, because you'll be using them a lot.

What is 7 courses of beef? Well, not only is it literally its namesake, it also entails a special interactive way of eating. Each course is accompanied by rice paper and a bevy of vegetation like green leaf lettuce, cucumbers, bean sprouts, and marinated carrots and daikon. The idea is to wrap the various courses of beef in the rice paper filled with your choice of vegetables. Two sauces for dipping come as well, and I like to mix the two for the flavor.

The courses are:
  • Special Beef salad (strips of beef with a lot of carrots, celery, onions marinating in a vinegary dressing)
  • Beef Fondue ( cooking strips of beef in a boiling broth)
  • Beef meatballs
  • Beef meatloaf
  • Beef wrapped in Hawaiian Lot Leaves
  • Grilled beef with lemongrass and onions
  • Special beef rice soup (my favorite, a great tasting beef broth with rice, ground beef, and tiny pasta)

One orders by telling the waiter how many "orders" of the 7 courses of beef you want. One order is enough to feed two. Usually my family gets 3 "orders" for 5 people, but we also order an extra course: grilled shrimp and squid, which can be found in the menu under the heading "House Specialties." In this interactive meal, you grill it yourself, of course.

It's a fun group experience and worth the wait on busy nights. I always eat here at least once during my visits home, although it's not something I would eat daily because it's so rich.

Seven Courses of Beef
8748 Valley Blvd. #A
Rosemead, CA 91770

Labels: ,

Thursday, July 7

Lighthouse Buffet

This sushi buffet restaurant was named one of the top five buffets to eat in the nation by the Food Network.

Located conveniently near the ever busy 3rd Street in Santa Monica (on the corner of 2nd and Arizona), this small restaurant has sushi to die for. Although its size cannot compare to Todai, its variety is far different from those of Todai. Its sushi is prepared fresh before your very eyes and extremely tasty--I dare say it even tastes better than Todai's (not to mention it is also about $5 cheaper per person than if you ate at Todai).

My favorite sushi (not really sushi, what is a sushi without fish in it?) was one that had a blend of avocado mixed with onions and cilantro topped on the sticky rice, wrapped with seaweed. It was amazing. The avocado melts in your mouth and the cilantro flavor is just right--not too subtle, not too overwhelming. They also have non-sushi foods there. Aside from the obligatory miso soup and tempura, they also had fried oysters, egg drop soup, and mussels baked in a cheesy sauce. They also had cold baby octopus mixed with vegetables. The octopuii were tender and sweet.

After a heavy meal you can walk it off at the nearby 3rd street--you can have an enjoyable feast and enjoyable walk down fancy shops and amusing entertainers. But beware, don't be like me and arrive 30 minutes before the restaurant closes and the rest of the 3rd street goes to sleep. This restaurant closes at 9 pm (sometimes 9:30 pm) and most of the stores nearby have already closed their shops by then too.

Lighthouse Buffet
201 Arizona Ave.
Santa Monica, CA
(310) 451-2076
Mon-Sat 11:30am to 2:30pm
Sun 12pm to 3pm

Sun-Wed 5:30pm-9pm
Thurs-Sat 5:30pm-9:30pm

Labels: , ,


This is a wonderful little restaurant on Santa Monica Blvd. near Federal. And when I mean little, I really do mean little. It's a small restaurant that you would most likely overlook since it lacks any bright colors that advertises itself to death.

There's a comfy family feeling to it once you walk in. Aside from main dishes, they've got appetizers and even pan dulce (sweet bread). The prices are very cheap and the portions are huge. It's not a fancy restaurant, and it's never crowded. In three words: EAT THERE NOW.

You can get real authentic mexican food in addition to the main stream stuff. Horchata goes for about $2 and you get a large glass of it--there's no skimping of anything here. Burritos are stacked with flavor. The burritos are filled plump with fresh ingredients end to end. You can get tamales and mole on basically everything. There's even chile relleno. Everything.

I recommend the chicken tamale with chocolate mole. It's wrapped in a huge green leaf instead of the usual corn husk. In the tamale itself, you can barely taste the chocolate mole and the chicken individually just because the two blend so well together that a completely new and tasty flavor is created. And how's about a sweet tamale? Never had one? Try their tamale stuffed with pineapple. It's an utter dream. I also recommend their burritos mojados (wet burritos). They drape the entire burrito with melted cheese and sauce. It is amazing. And fucking good.

And don't worry about waiting too long for your meals. The waits are not usually long and if they do take too long, don't worry about staying hungry. To appease your appetite while you wait for your food, you get an unlimited supply of corn chips to munch on. And extremely spicy salsa to go with them.

11619 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025 - 2907
(310) 312-1079
Mon - Sun 8:00AM to 12:00AM

Labels: , ,