Monday, June 04, 2007

Pa Pa Walk - San Gabriel (Closed)

My adventures in food sometimes begin in the most roundabout way. Henry Chan's Food Videos had recommended Pa Pa Walk in San Gabriel as a restaurant I should try. But his photos of noodles and pork chops didn't particularly spur me to try it right away. Besides, what a strange name. I mean, I know I mentioned all the foot massage places in San Gabriel, but did I want to eat at a restaurant that named itself after feet?

Pa Pa Walk 1

Then I saw a picture of this soup on 50 Meals by KevCheng. Along with a photo of xiao long bao (Shanghai soup dumplings). My tastebuds started salivating. I was so there! But more on this soup and XLB in a little bit.

Pa Pa Walk is located in the same strip mall as the San Gabriel Hilton. It's behind the giant staircase in the center so you won't necessarily see it right away.

They must be trying to complement the outside of the yellow strip mall with all this yellow on the inside. See that pole in the center, behind the guy who's giving me dirty looks for snapping a photo? See the giant mango shaved ice on that poster? I didn't order one but I saw someone else's and it was mounded about a foot high, topped with mangoes, and condensed milk. I did go back another time and ordered the giant mango shaved ice. It was almost big enough for me to hide behind.

Pa Pa Walk 2

And more feet. Are these feet autographed?

Pa Pa Walk 3

And giant fuzzy feet! Geez, what's up with all the feet? Well, KevCheng says that pa pa (slang for all over) means to get out around town. Ah, Taiwanese snack food! The name makes sense now!

Pa Pa Walk 4

If not for KevCheng's picture, I would have glossed over the simply named cream soup in fried toast for $5. If you love San Francisco's clam chowder in a bread bowl, this is soooo much better. The SF version, I never liked the bread all that much. It was more about the presentation, ya know? But here, the toast was fried crispy, then hollowed out so the bread was super-thin. It was filled with a vegetable cream soup with chunks of chicken, ham, and whole shrimp.

Pa Pa Walk 5

The picture doesn't show you how very large this toast bowl actually is. This fed three of us. And afterward, I cut up the edges and bottom and we munched on the soup-soaked toast. And it was still crispy! Even after I was sidetracked by some dumplings and crispy chicken. So curious about this dish, I did a little Googling and found out that "coffin bread" hails from Tainan, the oldest city in Taiwan and the capital from 1663 to 1885. It was so named because of its coffin-like appearance. Ewww. It didn't look like a coffin to me. More like a fried breadbox of yum! Hehe. :)

Pa Pa Walk 6

You can also get lots of the drinks that you'll find at most boba cafes. Like this red bean milk slush for $2.75.

Pa Pa Walk 7

We ordered popcorn chicken for $3.50. Crispy, lightly spiced, fried basil, larger than the portions given at boba cafes. What's there not to love?

Pa Pa Walk 8

On another occasion, I ordered the deep-fried oysters for $4.95. I thought the coating worked much better on the chicken. The thick batter and spices overwhelmed the oysters so the subtle flavor didn't come through.

Pa Pa Walk 9

And since I was indulging in Taiwanese street food, I had to try the $4.25 stinky tofu just to see what everyone was holding their noses about. My verdict? Smelled slightly of bleu cheese but wasn't as bad as I'd heard. Although, my cousin said he could smell it from across the table when my brother bit into a piece.

Pa Pa Walk 10

OK, now we're getting to the good stuff - the dumplings! An order of 10 pork and napa cabbage dumplings is $4.50. A dollar cheaper than all the other dumpling houses I've been visiting. So how did it taste?

Pa Pa Walk 11

Very juicy. The wrappers were fresh. Such a bargain!

Pa Pa Walk 12

Another visit, I tried pork and leek dumplings. An order of 10 is again $4.50.

Pa Pa Walk 13

These were good, but the leeks were really strong. I preferred the delicate flavor of the pork and napa cabbage dumplings.

Pa Pa Walk 14

An order of 8 potstickers is $4.95. They don't look too golden in the photo, but there was a nice crunchy, chewy edge to the potstickers.

Pa Pa Walk 15
Pa Pa Walk 16

And of course, the XLB, served with a side dish of ginger. An order of 10 is $5.25, a half order is $2.95. But who am I kidding? Full order right?

Pa Pa Walk 17

You can see the soup pooling at the bottom of each dumpling. The skins weren't as thin as the ones at Mei Long Village.

Pa Pa Walk 18

And there was a spoonful of soup.

Pa Pa Walk 19

So although these aren't the best XLB ever, there are so many other goodies at Pa Pa Walk such as the "coffin bread" and popcorn chicken, that makes this a great option when I'm craving dumplings. I still haven't tried their sole fish and cilantro dumplings. There's also lamb and leek and beef and celery but I don't know how I feel about lamb in a dumpling. There's tons of entrees, fried rice, more snacks, soups, fruit drinks, milk teas, to keep you occupied.

And in that roundabout way of food cravings, after I posted pictures of the "coffin bread," Henry says he has to go back and try that next time. Which just goes to show that three different food bloggers can eat at the same restaurant and still find something new to try. But then again, the menu does have 172 items...

I did return and ordered the mango shaved ice. Also, some menu items have gone up about 50 cents or so in price since this post was written.

Did you miss any of the other posts in my dumpling series?

Who else ate at Pa Pa Walk? KevCheng of 50 Meals introduced me to the "coffin bread."
Henry Chan of Henry Chan's Food Videos filmed his lunch.
UnHipLA has been trying to recapture her initial smoked duck experience.
For comparison, Dylan of Eat, Drink, & Be Merry ate real street food in Taiwan.

July 8, 2015 Update: Pa Pa Walk is now closed. :(

Pa Pa Walk
227 W. Valley Blvd., Ste. 148-B
San Gabriel, CA 91776
11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Closed Tuesdays


  1. Are you on a dumpling diet? Hehe! and most importantly, is it working?

  2. looks good. i tried dragon mark xlb i think theyre smaller but still good.

  3. Never been here but...

    OMG! Snack food heaven. *drool* Man, you always have such yummy posts.

    I guess you liked it too since "no news is good news."

  4. you're torturing me with your pics lol. I guess Chinese food must be relatively cheap in the States then. Over here I can't really afford to go to Chinese restaurants often because they are either exorbitant or if I find a cheap place, normally it is not authentic at all :sigh: keep posting more pics anyway. Oh, I forgot, just a small question regarding your post on Chanh Muoi. How many times doI need to change the salty water? tata. :D

  5. What's that square thing with the creamy soup stuff?

  6. W&S,
    If an ice cream and dumpling diet worked, I'd be a millionaire!

    Anon (t?),
    Hmm. I guess I'll have to try Dragon Mark but I've heard iffy things about their dumplings and their service.

    Heh, It was more like too tired to write but wanted to put the pictures up. :)

    Yeah, I remembered not liking any Chinese food when I lived in London.

    As for the chanh muoi, I only change the water once b/c the initial one gets rid of the residue that's on the rind. But you can do it a second time if you wish.

    Jaded One,
    "Coffin bread." So yum!

  7. yea, bad service at dragon mark but i do like their potstickers.


  8. May your vegetable cream soup rest in peace in your stomach.

  9. As when I saw coffin bread, the boba tea, and popcorn chicken......I saw dumplings again! Haha! :D
    Can't get enough of dumplings, ya? ;p

  10. My favorites are the coffin bowls made from stinky tofu instead of bread. It adds such a unique flavor component to the stew.

  11. t,
    I bet their potstickers aren't as good as Luscious Dumplings. :)

    Haha! You crack me up lady! Toooo funny!

    Well, a dumpling series implies dumplings. :P

    Oh man, coffin bowls made of stinky tofu? I think that's where the stinky tofu and rotting smell analogy started!

  12. Hi WC - This is the one place we "always" hit on Valley when the Missus wants Her Taiwanese Shaved Ice......

  13. i wouldnt know. luscious always run out by the time i get there.


  14. I have never seen toast bowl like that, crazy!

  15. Kirk,
    That's a sight to see! Those shaved ice were huge!

    Just remember to go no later than an hour after opening. Otherwise, all the good stuff is gone.

    I hadn't either. That's why I had to go try it. So good.

  16. This place looks great. Especially that toast bowl. Thanks for describing what it was. I saw it earlier before you put the text in and was going to ask you what that thing was.

  17. 3 full orders of XLB please and dumplings and popcorn chicken (love the fried basil). :D Yummy! I've never seen the coffin bowl before, very cool though.

  18. Elmo,
    So much variety. This is one of my new favorite places for snackin'.

    3 full orders?! I guess you gotta get your fill in huh? :)


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