Is It Any Good?

Xi’an Cuisine in Rosemead.

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I like to think I’m an expert on Chinese Cuisine, but I really should know I’m not

I probably know more than you (or maybe not, I just realized I don’t know you. But thank you for stopping by and reading my blog.)

Okay, I know more than a little bit. I’m quite comfortable in a lot of Chinese Food, and am working to close any gap that may remain.

And every step I take forward, I learn…that gap is still pretty big.

So, for clarity, for honesty? Who do I turn to I need a helping hand? I turn to Clarissa Wei, who writes for KCET (the Los Angeles PBS Affiliate) on matters of food, particularly the explosion of regional cuisines available in the San Gabriel Valley.

A long time ago, I came to terms with the fact that however long this food blog thing happens, I am never ever going to be able to eat at every single L.A. restaurant. I am slowly, but surely coming to terms with the fact that I’ll never know as much about what’s happening in the San Gabriel Valley, and what it really means, as Clarissa Wei.

I’m going to keep trying though.

Shaanxi Gourmet was added to my list of places to go when Ms. Wei cooked up a map of the Regional Cuisines of China, and one of the regions spoke of Northwest China, and the Shaanxi Region.

Allow me to quote Ms. Wei, who’ll put it so much better:

Shaanxi was the home to 11 dynasties, making it one of the earliest developed regions in Chinese history. Xi’an is the capital — a place best known for its terra cotta soldiers today. The cuisine takes advantage of pork and lamb, and there’s a liberal use of garlic and cumin. Noodles are a recurring theme. There are hand-torn ones, decorated with lamb, and liang pi, a bouncy noodle dish drenched with a substantial dose of vinegar and chili.

Okay, so, the Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an, you remember, right?

Xian_guerreros_terracota_general

The food took me a while to get a handle on. I completely mis-ordered the first time through. I got too little. I actually had to back myself up, and order seconds.

But it’s good. The food is good and Shaanxi Gourmet is worth coming back to for more visits. I need to learn more about Xi’an food and food ways, but as long as I got a signpost like Clarissa, I think, you, me and we, should all be all right.

Oh, and if you’re curious, I would totally subscribe to Clarissa’s newsletter. Lord knows I am.

 

WHAT SHOULD I GET?: To clue you (and of course, me) in on what Xi’an cuisine, I turned to Wikipedia for still more clues:

Shaanxi cuisine makes elaborate use of ordinary materials, and is best known for its pork and lamb / mutton dishes. The flavor is strong and the taste is heavy. There is an emphasis on savory flavors such as salt, garlic, onion, and vinegar; sugar is seldom used.

Yeah, I walked in knowing about the Lamb. Didn’t know much about the Pork, which is always a happy addition to any meal.

The Pork Buns at Shaaxi.

So I’ve been two times. The first thing I got was the Lamb Sandwich, which was small, delicious and delightful. I coupled what with some Lamb Sticks…which again…totally awesome, but I still was hungry after all that, so I got another Lamb Sandwich.

I wanted to go back again, and this time, I went a different direction. This time I went with the Pork version of the sandwich, and a bowl of Tomato and Egg soup.

The Pork Sandwich, I have to admit, wasn’t as good as the Lamb. So next time, I know, lamb over the Pork. As much as I love me some Pork, the Lamb version of the sandwich carried a better, stronger flavor. For me. You’re experience may vary.

The Noodles with Tomato and Egg at Shaanxi Gourmet.

The Tomato and Egg soup was surprising. It’s not the strongest tasting thing out there, but I liked it as is…and I liked it even better with a touch of table side chilis thrown in. Not much, just a taste. It’s a big bowl, so don’t be surprised if you need a friend to help.

 

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: The main thing is, the place looks…kinda closed from the outside, but it isn’t. The Mall feels a little deserted, but in that up and coming way. Like they just finished it, and more places to come.

You walk inside, and the place will be decently busy. So…come on down. Enjoy.

Also, be vary of Google Searching the restaurant by name.  There is a link on Google, but it links to a restaurant of the same name in Worcester, Massachusetts.  So…probably not the one on Valley.  All the links in this post are from Facebook as a result.

 

PARKING: Awesome. The Mall may feel a little deserted, but there are plenty of spaces, and they’re all free. You may have to walk across the lot, but you’ll find a space plenty close to the restaurant.

 

MAP DIRECTIONS:
Shaanxi Gourmet
8518 E. Valley Blvd.
Rosemead, CA 91770

Phone: (626) 288-9886

Hours:
Daily: 11:30 am – 9:00 pm