Hong Kong style cafeteria-style cooking in Monterey Park.
I first went into Tasty Garden by mistake…in a way. Me and a pal were headed somewhere else, and came in here instead.
The odd thing is, the place we were original going to? Long gone. Tasty Garden we keep coming back to and back to and back to…
Tasty Garden is something like you’d find in the heart of Downtown Hong Kong. It’s usually packed and active. It reminds me of a cafeteria, even though there are waitresses and servers. The decor goes along with that concept. They’re not trying to set any new standards. This is a place to sit, eat and relax. You’re not here to soak up the ambiance. It’s a place where if you’re working in a high-rise in Hong Kong you come down for a quick bite at lunch or before going home. There are TVs playing, most of the time they’re playing Chinese-language Television, but come on a Monday Night, and they’ll have the game on.
Oh, this is soooo my comfort zone.
If you are new, or unfamiliar with Chinese cooking, there is nothing on Tasty Garden’s menu that’s going to be familiar, or will make you feel 100% comfortable. If you are experienced with, or very familiar with Chinese cooking, there is nothing on Tasty Garden’s menu that’s going to be familiar, or will make you feel 100% comfortable.
But that’s the point.
Come inside, get a slice of the real Hong Kong. Try something you haven’t tried before. Eat outside your comfort zone.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Okay, there is a lot of stuff on the menu that…frankly…you may not be totally down with. Frog, for example, is on the menu. Pig’s stomach is on the menu. These are Chinese dishes that may not appeal to the someone not used to them. No worries. There are some real gems here if you know where to look. One of them is (or rather was) the Honey Glazed Fried Chicken, which was really good. I don’t see it on the menu anymore, but I do see a lot of things I would get in its place: Filet Mignon in Black Pepper Sauce, Chinese Style-Sausage with Rice in Hot Pot, Filet Mignon with Ginger Hot Pot. I could go on, and on…
Now, it seems they have a Honey Glazed Pork Rib…which brought back happy memories of the Honey Glazed Fried Chicken they had.
Also, for a hyper-Chinese place (as in a Chinese Restaurant that won’t necessarily be seeing a lot of non-Chinese clientele) Tasty Garden has got a lot of boring American Stuff on the menu, like: French Fries, and Club Sandwiches, and Baked Bolognese Pasta. But because it’s Tasty Garden, I’d be willing to give them a try.
At the same time, they also serve Sweetened Tea. Quality…Southern Style…Sweetened Tea. Served in Texas Cowboy Boot glass/mug, which really threw me off…but what the hell. It was good Tea that would pass muster past the Mason/Dixon Line.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Originally, this space said there was no Tasty Garden Website. Well, that has since been corrected. All I can warn you about now, is that the place gets way crowded.
PARKING: Downright close to paradise. This branch of Tasty Garden is inside a massive Residential/Commercial Complex with plenty of free parking. The only downside is that it’s a bit of a maze down there, so while there are plenty of spaces, finding the free ones close to an elevator or escalator might be tricky.
500 N Atlantic Blvd, Ste 100
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Tel: (626) 872-0900
Mon-Sun 11 am – 1 am (Yelp sez 4am. Tasty Garden Website sez 1am).