Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Tasty - San Gabriel

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone's New Year's Eve was a whole lot better than mine. I was sick. :( Slept off and on all day. Slept from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. And fell asleep again at 10 p.m. and slept through until noon on New Year's Day.

I only woke up because my friend, Don, called saying he was in the neighborhood and wondered whether I was up for lunch? I had a craving for dumplings and wanted to eat noodles as well. You know, because eating noodles in the New Year is lucky for long life.

And blah, blah, blah, you don't care that I was sick, you want to know about the frog fallopian tubes, don'tcha?

OK, a few months back, after dinner, my dining companion wanted to check out a new Chinese healthy dessert restaurant that had recently opened. Everywhere on signs and all over the menu, I saw "harsmar." Harsmar with red bean and coconut juice, harsmar with bird's nest and coconut juice, double-boiled egg whites with harsmar, double-boiled harsmar with rock sugar. Sooooo, you know me, I had to order this "harsmar."

This was my sago with harsmar and coconut juice and melon balls for $4.15. The harsmar tasted vaguely of tapioca, sort of gelatinous in texture, pretty innocuous really.

After I got home, I Googled harsmar and found out that it was rehydrated fallopian tubes from the Asiatic grass frog!!! Honestly, it didn't taste like anything. Harsmar or hasma is used in traditional Chinese medicine to improve lungs, kidneys, and skin complexion. It is sold dried and when rehydrated can expand to 10 to 15 times its size. Harsmar is typically served in sweetened soups. If I hadn't of found out what exactly it was, no big deal. But now that I do know, health benefits or not, the thought of eating frog fallopian tubes? No thanks! And seriously? How did someone decide to eat frog fallopian tubes in the first place? In case you missed it, read my post about all those wacky ingredients and the philosophy behind traditional Chinese medicine.

My dining companion ordered the $5.95 gui ling gao (tortoise or turtle jelly), a Chinese herbal jelly made from ground turtle shells, which is reputed to help clear up the complexion. It vaguely tasted of grass jelly, although I was told this was not a very good version.

We weren't too impressed with the desserts, no matter how healthy. But if you look on the other side of the window, you'll see the grand opening sign still advertising handmade noodles. And so it was that when Don called me up for lunch, I suggested we try Tasty restaurant for the handmade noodles.

The restaurant only has three booths, otherwise, you're stuck sitting on very uncomfortable stools.

My mango with coconut juice drink for $2.50 was very refreshing.

I ordered the house special pork rib noodle soup for $6.99. The handmade noodles turned out to be dao xiao mian (Chinese knife-cut noodles). Knife-cut noodles are cut from a lump of dough so they're uneven in texture, often thicker in the middle, and chewy. I was so happy since the only other restaurant I knew that had this type of noodle was Heavy Noodling in Monterey Park, and it has since closed. You can tell by the very rustic look that these noodles were actually cut from a ball and not rolled out and then cut. To understand what I mean by knife-cut noodles, you can watch this video on YouTube.
The pork ribs were very tender. The broth had a very slight Chinese herbal taste. And the noodles had the right amount of pull and thickness. Very good and perfect for a sickie like me.

We also ordered pork potstickers for $5.50. These were very large, juicy, crispy.

And the house special stir-fried noodles with seafood and meat for $7.50. I thought the noodles tasted even better this way since it absorbed the meat juices.
Anyway, don't let the healthy desserts scare you away, the handmade knife-cut noodles and potstickers are totally worth a repeat visit.

250 W. Valley Blvd., Unit #A
San Gabriel, CA 91776

1 year ago today, for those of you with New Year's resolutions to "exercise more," I posted photos of people exercising around Ho Hoan Kiem (Returned Sword Lake) in Hanoi, Vietnam.


  1. Hey WC - I'm glad you're feeling better....being sick is not a nice way to start the New Year!

  2. eekkkkkkk i really was wondering bout those frog fallopian tubes..whether you would CHOOSE to eat it :)

  3. Haha! It shouldn't be a big problem unless the frog had salpingitis or something. Relatively clean compared to, say, their gut (when we dissected one, we found stuff in the gut that would turn you off anything but the legs).

  4. Heard about this place and the frog fallopian tubes. Was very close in coming in...but didn't. I guess I figured correctly that it would be like shark fin, bird's nest and all those other purported medicinal ingredients...anti-climactic.

  5. Haha I know that frog thing in Chinese for a long time,
    Never thought that when we translate that into Chinese,
    It sounds so....different!

  6. Thanks for the links and information about hand shaved noodles...very very interesting! In regards to the video, I wonder how they monitor not overcooking the noodles. By adding one at a time, each noodle has cooked for a different amount of time!

  7. Kirk,
    Thanks for your concern!

    Hehe, I think if I had really, really bad skin, I might be tempted to eat it to see if it works. :)

    I've never eaten anything except the legs before!

    Notice how they're all clear and gelatinous? Huh!

    The original Chinese always makes things sound better!

    I have no idea! Maybe they scoop out all the noodles at once and then boil another batch?

  8. Hey Wandering Chopsticks,

    When you wrote this review earlier this year, I have heard many good things from my buddies too about how good this place was. Somehow lately as in very recently, they don't feel the same way anymore. Their descriptions to me was that the place changed in terms of ingredients or even methods of serving the noodle dishes. They don't feel it was that good anymore because they think it's bland. Don't know whether or not you have went back recently.

    There is another place I want to recommend to you for Knife Cut noodles, which is at Kam Hong Garden at Garvey Ave in Monterey Park. They serve 4 types of noodles: Hand pulled, knife cut, machine cut, and one other type (egg). I prefer the hand pulled noodles.

    Malan Han Noodle in Hacienda Heights also do knife cut too.

    If you ever get a chance, check those two places out and see if you like it. I am sort of want to compare it and see how it matches for you in terms of comparing to Heavy Noodling.

  9. Pepsi Monster,
    I did revisit back in May and thought the flavors were very bland that time. I haven't revisited since then because of that. Kam Hong and Malan have both been on my "to-eat" list for a long time as well.


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