Taiwanese in Monterey Park.
Liang’s Kitchen has undergone…well…a bit of a reorganization recently. The locations I’m used to seem to have closed.
But I still like their stocky, beefy, non-spicy version of Beef Noodle Soup. It’s the first one I tried, and the first one I fell in love with.
(Don’t get me wrong, I still loves me some of the spicy version like I can get at Sinbala, but…for the times I’m not in the mood for a healthy sweat…)
But other than the fact that it’s open, and it’s doing well, it’s your standard Liang’s Kitchen.
So on with the review…from, you know…before:
This is about Food…and the food is good, good stuff.
I’m still trying to learn the various regions and cuisines of the Chinese people. This is going to be a life’s work. Can’t think of a better way to go. The majority of Chinese food available America, even in a very Chinese food friendly town like Los Angeles, is going to be Cantonese, from the South. I’m still looking for more Northern influenced restaurants for my Godmother, because that’s the kind of dutiful Godson I am.
But Taiwan remains a bit of a mystery to me, and one I’m eager working to solve.
My first encounter with Liang’s Kitchen came at, of all things, the 626 Night Market. That day, I had the Minced Pork Dry Noodle, which I really, really liked. I remember the restaurant for a long while after than first encounter. Then, when walking to Ajisen Ramen (this one in San Gabriel), as I came out of the below-ground parking garage, there it was. (Let this be a lesson to all you restauranteurs…marketing to new customers via the 626 Night Market definitely, definitely works.)
Liang’s Kitchen is the very epitome of the Neighborhood Joint. It’s not fancy dining, but not a dive either. You come in to feel and be made comfortable. There’s a TV playing out the latest from home, home in this case being the Republic of China. The Staff seems to know everyone who comes in, and they’ll even make someone of non-Taiwanese descent welcome and happy. You should come by, it’s worth a stop.
Yep, that stuff still checks out. This location is a bit hidden, so you might have to get out and explore a little. But step on in, have a seat, and let the adventure begin.
I’ve gotten to know Taiwanese Cooking now just a little bit better since I first wrote all that. It may be a life’s work to get to know it all, but man is it a good life.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Like I said before, I had the Minced Pork Dry Noodle which was damn good at the 626 Night Market. My first visit to actual Liang’s was for the Beef Noodle Soup, which was also, really, really good. Tender hunks or fatty beef (this is a compliment, people), with chunks of what looked like Bok choi or Chinese Broccoli, in a lovely, lovely beef stock. Good stuff. I also ordered the Spicy Sausage Appetizer. Lovely slices of Taiwanese sausage, just enough to get your feet wet. Let me just say, if you have a low spice tolerance, this is not the item you want to dabble in. This is some serious, serious stuff, heat-wise.
My visit here included Spicy Lamb Skewers, which is another thing I had at the 626 Night Market. Delicious hunks of grilled lamb on a stick, covered in spicy chilies. Don’t expect a five alarm five as you chomp down. This is more of a slow burn. The more you bite, the more…ahem…attention it will demand.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: I can write what I wrote before, which is more for the newbies:
I would repeat what I said about Liang’s being a neighborhood joint, and catering to primarily to a Taiwanese clientele. This is a good thing, especially for the food. It’s all part of the charm in my world. You might have a slight difficulty communicating with the waitstaff, as English is their second language. Again, no big deal. This is just part of the deal when you eat authentic. You buy the rocks with the farm, as it were. I will say that the younger members of the Waitstaff speak both languages just find, and you’ll have no problem communicating with them.
Also, as a side time, Saturday at 1pm, it gets crowded as all get out. As in good luck even finding a parking spot crowded as all get out.
I went in the middle of the week, but I’m betting the Saturday thing is still valid.
Also, this location is a bit hard to see from the street.
PARKING: Free, but deceptively harder than it looks.
This is the same lot that houses one of my favorite Restaurants for Dim Sum, Elite. So Liang’s shares a lot with a bunch of other businesses…on the opposite end from Elite. The Elite end is always crowded, and fills as the day goes on. It’s not as crazy down near Liang’s Kitchen, but it will be crowded.
If it gets too late, you’ll be stuck looking for metered parking along Atlantic, which is fine, its plentiful, but you’ll be a bit farther away. If that happens, be prepared to send someone from your party inside first because it’s gonna be crowded.
Liang’s Kitchen (Monterey Park)
788 Atlantic Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA 91770
Tel: (626) 282-8238
Daily: 10:00 am – 9:30 pm