As mentioned in my 3a piece, 3b is my last piece for my Taiwanese food series. It focuses more on the hidden gems of SGV, where restaurants specialize in one type of food, like noodles. I suggest reading the previous article first so you have some idea and knowledge about what I am writing. To those who have forgotten, I divided restaurants into two categories: wide variety and hidden gems. Some of these hidden gems are truly hidden gems tucked away in the SGV. Read on to find out which gems I am talking about.
This restaurant was also discussed in my shaved ice post for their delicious snow ice dessert. It is primarily a noodle shop that serves varities of noodle dishes and other small eats like dumplings and scallion pancake. I recommend getting: beef noodle soup (all versions are good), cold/hot noodles in hot and sour sauce (It is spicy! You have been warned.), minced pork tomato sauce noodle, fried pork chop, scallion pancake, and cold noodles with ham, bean sprouts, shredded eggs, and cucumber. This place is cash only.
Well known throughout the 626 for their daily fresh made dumplings, locals still flock to this place to get their fix of dumplings and noodles. You seriously cannot go wrong with anything on the menu. The dumplings are always so juicy, luscious, and piping hot. A popular menu choice is the combo where its dumplings and your choice of noodles. Warning: dumplings do sell out so do come here early and be prepared for a line (though the line moves pretty fast at times). This place is cash only.
If you want rice dishes like basil chicken, this is the place to go. Why Thirsty is a more restaurant version of a boba stores, with a smaller drink selections and variety of rice and noodle dishes. Their pork chop is great. They put a sweet glaze on it, which makes the pork chop not as dry. As for drinks, it is not bad nor great. It satisfies your boba crave if you happen to be here. I recommend getting: basil chicken, the railroad, sizzling tenderloin, and popcorn chicken. This place accepts card.
A&J Bakery (not related to A&J noodle shop)
Truly a hidden gem in a busy plaza, A&J Bakery is a mom and pop shop that sells daily lunch boxes for customers to buy on the go. They have a rotating menu of what they are serving that day. The lunchboxes usually have vegetables, some kind of protein, slice of sweet potato/egg, and either brown or white rice. During big Taiwanese holidays, like Mooncake festival, the restaurant discontinues making lunchboxes for a period of time so they can focus on making holiday dishes. Many Yelp reviewers rave about the Mung Bean cakes, which is absolutely delicious. Soft, flaky, and smells heavenly. I recommend getting the curry lunchbox (but all their lunchbox flavors are filling and good), mung bean cakes, and their holiday treats like new year cake (nian gao). This place is cash only.
This restaurant is still considered in the 626 area, but just more east in the other portions of 626 like Diamond Bar, Rowland Heights, and City of Industry for example. The restaurant chain originated from Taiwan and has two stores in SoCal. They are known for their pork chops and my gosh, it really lives up to the reputation. It is the best pork chop I have ever had. Juicy, hot, and tender. The menu is small with only 23 items, but it will fill you up. You can order rice or noodle with the pork chop. If you’re not feeling the urge to eat pork chop, they do have other main dishes like chicken, beef stew, and minced pork rice. I recommend getting: any of the pork chop dishes, curry chicken rice, beef stew noodle soup, and bamboo salad. This place is cash only.