Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Hop Woo BBQ Seafood Restaurant - Alhambra

Apologies to my readers who check in every day for new posts. Still feeling a bit under the weather. :( Last week I received an email from a reader who said he and his fiancee read my blog every day. Every day! Really? Wow! He asked about Chinese restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley that served lobster or crab for 16 to 20 people for after their wedding rehearsal. (Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!) My first choice for lobster is Tan Cang Newport Seafood Restaurant in San Gabriel. A lobster there runs about $75 and up. But the restaurant is rather small, is cash only, and doesn't take reservations. For a Friday night, it would have been a bit of a wait. So my second choice recommendation was Capital Seafood Chinese Restaurant in Monterey Park since the lobster I had at my cousin's wedding reception was mighty tasty. Hmm. (Let me know how it went for you guys, OK?) I know there's a lot of seafood restaurants around here but I haven't eaten at all of them yet so my recommendations are based upon what I've got pictures of or have blogged about. :P Anyway, so I was going to post a few of the family meals I had at two Chinese restaurants that featured crab on the menu.
Hop Woo BBQ Seafood Restaurant - Alhambra 1
For good crab deals, Hop Woo BBQ Seafood Restaurant in Alhambra usually features some kind of special that either gives you free crab, or crab for a penny, after purchasing four entrees. Right now the specials are a free lobster or squab? The specials rotate every few months or so. There's also 60 items on the lunch specials between $4.95 and $6.95. Check Hop Woo's website for coupons too. Hop Woo is one of those "sooo SoCal" things that make living here so much fun for me. The owner, Lupe Le-Ning Liang, is a Chinese from Mexico. Cool right? The menu is written in English, Chinese, and Spanish. For Thanksgiving, they'll even cook your turkey with spices "Peking duck-style." Anyway, so onto the food. These photos are from May. I don't believe in disturbing people while they're eating, so the photos were taken hurriedly before everyone reached for the food. This was a private room of about four tables so it was a set banquet menu and priced at $300 per table? For those of you planning weddings, I'm assuming this is probably a wedding banquet option but can't say for sure so ask. Anyway, where I can find it on the menu, I'll list the separate price for the entree. I think the pictures speak for themselves so minimal food descriptions. While nothing wowed me over, everything was good. When we arrived, there was a small plate of chow mein noodles and peanuts at the table.
Hop Woo BBQ Seafood Restaurant - Alhambra 2
Along with a small plate of chicken and duck feet. These were cold so a bit chewy and not all that flavorful.
Hop Woo BBQ Seafood Restaurant - Alhambra 3
The cold cuts platter of octopus, jellyfish, seaweed, and head cheese. The house special platter is listed on the menu as $28. I loved the jellyfish and seaweed. The octopus was a tad too salty.
Hop Woo BBQ Seafood Restaurant - Alhambra 4
Scallops and vegetables are $11.95. Very good. Tender scallops. Sorry, it's been so long now that I can't recall much about each individual entree. Everything was good though!
Hop Woo BBQ Seafood Restaurant - Alhambra 5
Shrimp with walnuts in special sauce $13.95. One of my favorite dishes and very well-prepared.
Hop Woo BBQ Seafood Restaurant - Alhambra 6
Shark fin soup with shredded chicken $35.
Hop Woo BBQ Seafood Restaurant - Alhambra 7
These are abalone mushrooms with mustard greens. I couldn't find it on the menu but saw black mushrooms with mustard greens for $9.95.
Hop Woo BBQ Seafood Restaurant - Alhambra 8
The house special crab is a large platter and is market price.
Hop Woo BBQ Seafood Restaurant - Alhambra 9
A whole deep-fried crispy chicken is $16.95.
Hop Woo BBQ Seafood Restaurant - Alhambra 10
Steamed rock cod fish is also at market price.
Hop Woo BBQ Seafood Restaurant - Alhambra 11
I think this was Fu Zhou fried rice since there were scallops and Chinese broccoli stems. On the menu, I see dry scallops with crab meat and egg white fried rice for $11.95.
Hop Woo BBQ Seafood Restaurant - Alhambra 12
Dessert was mung beans with tapioca pearls.
Hop Woo BBQ Seafood Restaurant - Alhambra 13
Nothing extraordinary but solid preparation. Located in downtown Alhambra, across the street from the movie theater. April 26, 2010 update: Hop Woo is now closed. A sign for Raymond's is now up and it says under new management. Hop Woo BBQ Seafood Restaurant (Also locations in Chinatown and Santa Monica.) 1 W. Main St. Alhambra, CA 91801 626-289-7938 Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight ***** 1 year ago today, Thai Nakorn in Garden Grove burned down. :(


  1. Hi Wandering Chopsticks! This is David Au, on my wedding day! I've got a few minutes so I thought I'd update you. Last night at the rehearsal dinner we went to Capital Seafood, and get this: my dad (a very discerning Vietnamese man who has definitely had his share of Chinese restaurants) said it was the BEST HE'S EVER HAD! Thank you SOOO much!

    This paragraph is very long, so if you want to just know about the food, skip to the next one. So the craziest part was trying to get there from our church in Arcadia. My fiancee had printed directions for our 20 guests, and being a Vietnamese/Chinese family we were running late. On the way there, I called to push back our reservations a bit. Unfortunately, when I called 411 to get the number of the restaurant, I got the number to NEW Capital Seafood in San Gabriel (I didn't know the difference). When I call NEW CAPITAL, I say I've got reservations for 20 and ask if this is Capital Seafood, they say, "Capital Seafood moved to Valley." I say, Capital moved!!??? This isn't a different restaurant???? They say, yes, but we're just down the street, so no problem. So I'm freaking out because I have a caravan of 6 cars following me to a place that doesn't exist. New Capital pretends they have my reservation (I guess they were trying to steal my business) and I decide we're all going to meet where (old) Capital is anyway, and consolidate cars and drive to New Capital. So here's the stupid part. Now believing Capital Seafood no longer exists, none of us are looking for the restaurant, just its address. We park about where we thought it should be (at the Mandarin Noodle house just around the corner from the real location), and decide, hey EMPRESS HARBOR is right there let's go there, they can fit us! So we decide to drive across the street, and what does one of us see on the way? Capital Seafood. At its REAL location. New Capital SCREWED us!!!! That being said, we had a great night.

    We pretty much designed our own menu.

    Started off with hot and sour soup (very good with lots of chunky mushrooms and tofu).

    Sizzling scallops: this is what really impressed my dad. We get this dish everywhere we go, and the amount of scallops plus the great flavor and the lack of grease was just astoundingly good.

    Seafood Tofu Hot Pot: Again, really nice flavor, packed with plump juicy seafood.

    Thai Style Fried Fish (Ca Chien): As expected, kinda freaked out the white relatives because the head was intact, but the flavor was great. The fish was nice and crispy, a decent amount of meat and minimal bones to fish out (really, no pun intended).

    Yang Chow Fried Rice: Good. Not extraordinary, but good.

    Stir Fried crab with ginger and garlic (what most restaurants call House style, I think): Really worth trying! The meat was succulent though not necessarily abundant, and the seasonings were good enough to make the most Americanized and ladylike guests to clean off the shell and lick their fingers too!

    Great food, so thanks for the recommendations, and we'll continue to check your blog daily!

  2. Oh and I forgot dessert! They called it Almond Tea Souffle. This was a strange one, I must say. The waiter said it was their specialty; it's basically a cup of hot almond milk tea, with a puff pastry sealing the top. You break the pastry, which falls into the milk, and you get what my American friends referred to as hot almond cornflakes! I still haven't decided if I liked it or not. I'm always down for almond milk tea, but a mug of it with puff pastry doesn't quite constitute dessert for me.

  3. did i miss a whole heap of posts in a few days? DOH! And specials for lobster? wah!

  4. You poor thing - get some rest and get over your cold okay?

  5. Dave,
    I'm so glad everything worked out for you and that everyone enjoyed Capital Seafood. Man! That's true dedication! Leaving a comment on your wedding day!

    The lobsters in the US aren't nearly as impressive as the ones in Oz.

    Awww, how sweet. Thanks for your concern!


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