My friend, HH, was in town earlier this month and staying with me for a few days. His flight came in late at night. After traveling around the country for several weeks, he was also sick. For late night eating and some wonton soup, there's nothing like a Hong Kong-style cafe. I decided on Garden Cafe in Alhambra since it was open until 4 a.m.
A decade ago when I first moved to SoCal, and way before I started food-blogging, I used to go to Garden Cafe pretty regularly. One of my second-cousins had taken me here and the varied menu made it an easy default restaurant option when we couldn't decide where to eat.
Then Baccali Cafe and Rotisserie opened and that became, and still is, my preferred Hong Kong cafe. But as I've already blogged about Baccali, Garden Cafe, I decided to take him to Garden Cafe that night. They either redid their menu, or I never noticed before, but it's now rather Cheesecake Factory-like with lots of ads and pictures interspersed. And the picture for the Hainanese chicken rice for $6.50 looked pretty good. As you can see, the rice had color, indicating that it had been cooked in chicken broth and had some flavor. The chicken was firm and juicy. I didn't care for either of the dipping sauces, but the chicken and rice wasn't half-bad. Not as good as homemade, mind you, but much tastier than Savoy Kitchen's.
We also ordered a bowl of shrimp wonton soup for $4.95. Hong Kong-style shrimp wontons are on the large side, packed full of shrimp. My friend ate the whole bowl.
I also got my standard order of Hong Kong-style hot milk tea, black tea with condensed milk for $1.95. Free refills too!
As you can see, I love Hong Kong-style milk tea. This picture was during lunch back in October with UnHipLA. If you dine here for lunch, the drinks are $1.25 with your order and you also get a free soup. It's usually a Hong Kong-style Tomato Borscht.
UnHipLA ordered a fresh fruit, mango, and ham salad for $4.95. Yes, ham. On fruit. The odd combo is actually rather expected since Hong Kong cuisine is a fusion of British and Chinese influences.
I ordered grilled filet mignon cubes and pork chop with rice and veggies for $7.95. Can't beat two large pieces of meat at that price.
I think Baccali does all these dishes just a tad better, but Garden Cafe is still pretty good as far as Hong Kong cafes go. I recommend their other sizzling meat platters, or sizzling udon and any of their noodle stir-fries. Their rice porridges are very smooth and cooked until the rice is almost obliterated. For another odd fusion combo that works, try the Hong Kong Macaroni Soup with Spam and two eggs. They also have breakfast specials that include entree, toast, bacon or sausage or eggs, and coffee or tea starting at $4.95.
Other Hong Kong-style cafes:
Baccali Cafe and Rotisserie - Alhambra
Sika's - Alhambra (Closed)
Sunday Bistro - Alhambra
Garden Cafe (Several locations)
228 W. Valley Blvd., #101
Alhambra, CA 91801 626-289-1833
Open 7 a.m. to 4 a.m.
1 year ago today, how I learned to cook and my ba noi (Vietnamese paternal grandmother)'s death anniversary dinner.