If you were to evaluate the quality of a given period of time in terms of the concentration and diversity of flavors that you can cram into it, the afternoon I spent cruising up and down Valley Boulevard in the 626 area code east of LA would rank high. In fact, it would count as some of the best time I've spent on this planet.
'San Gabriel Valley' on Serious Eats
The semi-regular Asian street food festival is modeled after a traditional Taiwanese night market and is loaded with hawker fare, attracting thousands of visitors. There are dozens and dozens of street food and restaurant booths offering attractively prices bites of both common and less-common regional dishes.
Far from the Vietnamese enclave of Westminster, Rosemead's Mr. Baguette is something of a roadside stand for bánh mì. Its location—between the 60 and 10 freeways in a not-exactly-enviable part of San Gabriel Valley—makes a sandwich stop here something of an afterthought to commuting, but repeat detours are totally justified.
You gotta love truth in advertising. Simply dubbed Northern Chinese Restaurant in the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles, delivers on its name. The dishes are from Dongbei, the region that encompasses the northeastern provinces of Heilongjiang, Liaoning, and Jilin. This food tends to be hearty and filling with pungent flavors—a lot of lamb, hefty dumplings, and meat pies. With its enormous menu (some 200 items deep!), Northern Chinese Restaurant is an excellent, if sometimes inconsistent, spot to give the region's cuisine a spin around the lazy Susan.
[Photographs: Chichi Wang] In the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California, you can't drive more than a mile in any direction without passing another Cantonese restaurant with dim sum. The competition is so stiff that I've never encountered an awful dish in all my years of Sunday morning dim sum. To be the best in the SGV, a restaurant must be innovative in its interpretation of the hackneyed classics, as well as consistent in its execution. Sea Harbour in the city of Rosemead meets both criteria with flying colors. A longtime favorite of dim sum connoisseurs, Sea Harbour is located in an isolated stretch of Rosemead Boulevard across from a vacant lot. Neither the higher prices nor the inconvenient...