A couple of years ago I worked as a server at a “semi fancy hipster” Chinese food restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles. (Now, what I mean by “semi fancy hipster” I mean each noodle dish costed $15, the decor was clean/modern and it was in the hipster-y arts district neighborhood). I remember coming home smelling like noodles and spices. Before I worked there I rarely craved Chinese food. I think those smells implanted themselves into my brain. Thats when the hunt for Chinese food began.
I roamed and ate my way through Chinatown. Found some wonderful contenders. Most of them are still on my radar, but I’m always on the prowl. “The heart wants what the heart wants” or as I say “the mouth wants want my mouth wants”.
Most real Chinese food restaurants are crazy cheap and the decor looks pretty dingy and sketchy. The really good ones are in strip malls with a giant “B” grading emblazoned in the window.
I’ve been hearing tale of Alhambra, San Gabriel and Rowland Heights being great pockets to find hole-in-the-walls.
So go ahead. Drive down Valley blvd in Alhambra. You’ll pass about a hundred tiny little places.
Play a little roulette.
Close your eyes spin around in a circle a few time with your finger pointing outward and just choose. Chances are you’ll choose a good one. But most normal folks generally don’t play love games with thy own tummy, they’ll just go on Yelp or ask a friend.
Upon entering this wonderful divey establishment you will see a case of ducks hanging by their nooses. Crispy red and delicious Peking ducks. I heard you can even order a full roast BBQ pig for events. Any true friend of mine will now know where to get my birthday present.
You can get take out or sit in the dining room. The menu is huge but if you have all the old memories in place like me, you’ll go directly to your jam.
All three of these are great shared family style. But if you’re a small gal with a big appetite like me and my friend Desiree, then well lets get three huge dishes and share a meal thats probably meant for a family of five. It took some will power to NOT order more. The price point is generally in the $6 range, but if you get lobster or shrimp it may be up to $13. Such the deal!
The Singapore style noodles have a delicious curried dry-ish type of noodle. Whereas the Chow fun noodle is a wide and flat noodle with an amazing black bean sauce. The fried rice is what surprised me the most. The BBQ pork is spot on. Some of the best I’ve ever had. This was such a great food coma inducing meal.
This meal got me drunk on food. We only paid $24 for all three dishes and still both walked out with a take out box. The food tasted almost better later on as a leftover because all the delicious essential oils had collected on the side of the take out box.
mmmmmm essential oils….
So don’t let the sketchy exterior (and interior) bum you out. Get a few items to-go and take them home to put on your solid gold plates.
Sam Woo BBQ
514 W Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91803