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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sam Woo BBQ - Alhambra

Sam Woo BBQ - Alhambra 1

So if you don't want to make your own Crispy Chow Mein...

Or you're just too lazy to cook in general...

Or you're just too lazy to blog even...

What can I say about Sam Woo? If you're too intimidated to try semen tea, stir-fried milk, goose intestines, duck chins, chicken knees, and frog fallopian tubes, then basic Cantonese fare of roast pork or duck, Char Siu / Xa Xiu (Chinese Barbecued Pork), or Fried Rice Yang Chow-Style should be easy enough to get started.

I frequent the Alhambra location when I'm in the mood for quick and easy take-out. If you dine-in during lunch or after 10:30 p.m., they have many dishes for $3.50 and $3.95.

Roast ducks are now $15.95. You can order a half. I think Sam Woo's roast duck is too salty and not crispy enough. I prefer the slight honey flavor of the roast ducks at Capital Dim Sum & BBQ - Monterey Park.

Can you spot the half roast pig, squid, and chicken wings in the photo?

Sam Woo BBQ - Alhambra 2

Two chicken wings and Char Siu / Xa Xiu (Chinese Barbecued Pork) for $5.70.

Sam Woo BBQ - Alhambra 3

Roast pork, 1/4 lb for $4.08. The last few times I've ordered the roast pork, it tasted rather dry and the skin was not consistently crispy. I prefer the roast pork at Yum Cha Cafe - San Gabriel. So except for the char siu when I'm too lazy to make it myself, I don't really bother getting the roast duck or pork at Sam Woo anymore.

Sam Woo BBQ - Alhambra 4

When I'm particularly lazy, I also order Fried Rice Yang Chow-Style for about $5.50. It's a generous serving and feeds me for many meals. My other favorite is Salty Fish Fried Rice.

Sam Woo BBQ - Alhambra 5

But lil' sis and I, we've been ordering the crispy beef chow mein with bok choy for $5.75. The first time, there were lots of nice crispy noodles. The other times, the sauce had soaked through so most of the noodles were too soggy for my taste, but perfect for lil' sis.

Sam Woo BBQ - Alhambra 6

One night, I was starving and lazy and nagged lil' sis into going out for some food for me. Except when she tried to order the crispy beef chow mein with bok choy, the lady at the counter said it was an extra $1.25 for vegetables. What? That's never happened before. So even though I don't speak Chinese either, lil' sis insists that when she orders, she just doesn't get the same thing. So she just randomly pointed to beef chow mein with satay sauce on the menu and got this. It was still good, but we wanted our bok choy! And not for an extra $1.25!

Sam Woo BBQ - Alhambra 7

I also sometimes get the wonton noodle soup. The salted fish and chicken fried rice is good too, but that's probably an acquired taste.

P.S. 5.4 earthquake! Thanks Peachy Mango Delight for checking up on me.

Other BBQ to-go places:
Capital Dim Sum & BBQ - Monterey Park
Seaworld Seafood Restaurant BBQ & Dim Sum To Go - Rosemead
Yum Cha Cafe - San Gabriel

Sam Woo BBQ
514 W. Valley Blvd.
Alhambra, CA 91801
Sunday to Thursday 9 a.m. to midnight
Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.

1 year ago today, one last glimpse of my old garden.


  1. Thank goodness for Hongkong delis. It's good for the lazy like me: it might not be wonderful all the time, but it's cheap, fast, and serviceable more often than not.

  2. When ordering the roast pork, get the ribs. Its the best part and usually crispier and more moist. My fiancee is addicted to their yang chow fried rice and combination chow mein. All kinds of goodies in it. Gread for late night munchies.

  3. Yay! A place I have actually been to. I go to the one in LA Chinatown though.
    When I first started dating my BF, I took him there before a show. He was sort of impressed that I took him to a restaurant with a "C" rating--like I was an adventurous sort of chick!

    And I DID make the crispy chow mein! Watch for post.

  4. there's one siu mei (hk roast items) joint just below my flat! HK$18 for a dinner box with chinese soup...always tempted me to be lazy hehehe

  5. I like the rows and rows of roast!

    True though, I think those sort of eaterys r soo good when u r carving roast duck and just too lazy to cook..

  6. I've order take out from this place I love the soy sauce chicken the most.

  7. ROFLOL the semen tea blog is awesome I will be in the area this weekend for the Chinese sausage and most likely hit all/some of the joint you've visited. Can't wait my wife should be excite ;-). Now I need to whip out my gps and enter in all the address.

  8. JS,
    Completely agree. We can't all afford to dine at Michelin restaurants.

    Yum Cha Girl,
    Oops. Another typo. You mean great, right? I used to like their Yang Chow fried rice until I started making my own. And it's so quick and easy and way better that I don't often bother buying it anymore. The roast pork has been hit or miss for me, regardless of which part of the pig I get. Once, I didn't even get any skin at all when I got home and opened the box! The skin is the whole point of indulging in roast pork, so that was it for me. Now, I only stop off for char siu and crispy chow mein.

    The Alhambra location is an A rating, and only about 10 minutes past Chinatown. Much better!

    I have no idea how much $18 HK translates to USD, but I bet it's still cheap and ubiquitous!

    It was the height of dinner rush so they had plenty of ducks ready. Otherwise, the display isn't usually that packed.

    You drive up all this way just for Quang Tran? You know they sell it through some of the stores in OC right? For maybe 50 cents more. You'd spend more than that in gas just driving up here.

  9. Ah, yes, how we (at the office) cheered when Sam Woo came to the area. But they didn't last long... Used to have a fried squid (with chiles, garlic, and SALT) that was hard to resist. I've tried it at other Sam Woos and it's not the same.

  10. Too bad San Diego is so far away but we shop at Ranch 99 in San Diego and get the ducks at a very good price. I like mine roast more than with soy but the prices are great. My favorite dish is Buddhist Feast with all that luscious bok choy and those sensous mushrooms. Of course we get other dishes; one time was like chow fun which your dish today reminds me of. I can't seem to get enough of the baby bok choys, which is a good thing, I guess.

  11. I've search all over in OC for Quang Tran - do you know of a store? I rather save my gas money too but at the same time I do want to pig out around the area ;-)

  12. Nikki,
    That's why I always have separate posts even with chains, different chefs, different levels of quality.

    Bobbi sox,
    Ah, chow fun was a frequent dish my sister and I would order. Lately, we've been glomming on crispy chow mein.

    My friend used to get Quang Tran lap xuong at the take-out place next to Nguyen Hue. Haven't you tried simply asking or calling them to see where they sell in OC? I did that for Minh Phung banh hoi so I don't have to drive down.

  13. I went to Quang Trang once and ask if they distribute anywhere in OC. They said no. So if other store sell it they are the one doing the distribution themselves. Unless this is something new for Quang Trang.

  14. Bill,
    As I said, my friend used to get it from the take-out place near Nguyen Hue. You can check and see if they still do that.


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