Saturday, May 5
We arrived in LA at 5:00 AM. The flight got in a little early, which we actually didn’t want since we didn’t want to wake up AS’ family who were picking us up! Luckily, his aunt had actually woken up early that day and we made our way to the pick up area and waited maybe 20 minutes before she got there and took us to her house.
I conked out right after we got there. I can never sleep on planes. AS woke me up around 9:00 AM so we could get going on our food crawl. His aunt and a cousin elected to join us.
Last year, a restaurant that specialized in steamed soup dumplings (aka xiao long bao or xlb for short) opened in our area, but they were expensive and I didn’t really have another restaurant to compare it to, so I really wanted to try it while we were in LA since restaurants that serve xlb are so plentiful in comparison. XLB crawls are quite popular, so it was easy to research which restaurants were the best.
So our first stop was Dean Sin World, a little hole in the wall. I think there were only three tables.
I broke my number one rule, don’t order anything else besides what you came here for. I regretted this later.
First stop and everyone is hungry, so we finished this immediately and headed to our next stop, Mama Lu’s Dumpling House, which is much, much bigger. We scored a parking spot right in front of the restaurant.
Freebies: toasted peanuts and pickled cucumbers
When my parents went to Shanghai, they were given this as well but they found out they were charged for the “free” item at the end ^^;;;.
His aunt wanted pan fried dumplings
AS wanted French steak. He was intrigued by the name and wanted to try it.
It tasted good though how it’s French I have no idea xD.
We had to wait for a table and the portions were big, but our stomachs are getting full, so we wound up taking the rest of the steak to go.
We drove around for awhile trying to find the next restaurant, Shau May, without realizing that it was in the same strip mall as Mama Lu’s. We should’ve stayed where we were parked. There was no parking available since it was lunchtime so we hopped out and put in a take out order.
pan fried bao
Best thing ever. Crispy bottom, big portion, and loaded with meat juice ^^.
As we were walking to the car, we passed a huge banner that said pineapple slush 99¢ so of course we had to go in and get some. I ended up with pudding milk tea instead.
In case you’re wondering, ultimately we liked the pan fried bao from Shau May the best. It was super juicy, so much so that biting into it squirted soup across the table. It’s not the same as XLB since the outside is steamed bread as opposed to won ton skin, so it’s not a truly fair comparison. Out of the XLB, we preferred Dean Sin World because the wrap was a little thicker so the soup didn’t leak out. The best XLB is subjective because some people might prefer a thinner wrap, but we think because these are soup dumplings, being able to retain the soup is important. A few of the xlb at Mama Lu’s had leaked.
Our tiny XLB crawl done, it was time for stinky tofu. He was dreading this part.
First up was Old Country Cafe.
Fried pork chop
I really enjoyed the stinky tofu. His aunt liked it too. The garlic sauce was great. AS tried a small bite covered in garlic sauce but he said it still tasted like dog poop. xD;
Tastes like the whiff you get when you pass it on the ground ^^;;.
We never got around to trying the fried pork chop or the fried chicken until much, much later where we pan fried it to reheat it. I’m sure it would’ve tasted as good as the reviews said if we had eaten it right away.
BTW, except for that one piece of stinky tofu his aunt ate, she and his cousin stopped eating at the second restaurant. And now it’s the fifth restaurant, Pa Pa Walk. They also had stinky tofu on the menu, but seeing as how everyone was now too full and the reviews were only so-so on their stinky tofu, I decided not to get it.
There was a long wait outside, so we had time to look at the weird fake food and display at the front door.
I wanted to come here primarily for the coffin toast, but there were very good reviews on the popcorn chicken so we decided to go for it. She asked if we wanted it spicy and we said no. I’m not sure how no became super spicy. >.<
cream soup in fried toast
So good but so bad for you. Deep fried toast with a creamy chowder. Very chunky, too. I couldn’t finish it all but I wish I forced it down. The toast just wasn’t the same when we reheated it later that night, though it was probably because we left some of the chowder inside, instead of scraping it clean like we do with clam chowder bread bowls at Disneyland.
AS got a watermelon slush, too, which I think did him in, since he didn’t really help with dessert.
Since we kept seeing pictures all over the place for shave ice, which is what Pa Pa Walk is primarily known for, we decided to go ahead and get one even though no one thought they’d be able to eat it. Or two.
mango shave ice
But we actually finished both of them! xD Thankfully this was our last stop with his family and we were headed back to rest for two hours before dinner with friends.
On the way out, I snapped some pics of two amusing signs we had seen while waiting for the shave ice (which took forever to come out!).
I got distracted by a cute store and look what I found, a car sun shade with Marie on it! I <3 Marie!
Sadly, AS refused to let me buy it since there was no way we’d be able to carry it on the plane. This turned out to not be true since we wound up buying a suitcase since we bought so much stuff later in the week.
We started eating at 11:45 AM and and were done a little after 3:00 PM. We found ourselves eating again in two hours. D:
Our friends, Kelly and Steve, came to pick us up and we went to find the Grill ‘em All food truck, which was in Duarte that night. It looked close to Arcadia on Googlemaps, so I suggested it to her, since she likes food trucks a lot, and she agreed.
Grill ‘em All has the distinction of being the only LA food truck we’ve eaten at twice. In the same night. We went back and got the same burger, The Behemoth. So. Good. :9
But the main reason I seeked out that food truck on this trip was to get their homemade tater tots. They sell out super fast so I was a bit nervous when they picked us up later than planned. Turns out they didn’t even have it with them that day. I was so disappointed.
We discussed getting another Behemoth, but decided to try something new. They recommended the Witte (pronounced wit-e) and it was delicious.
There were some other food trucks in the area, but we decided nothing looked too interesting, so off we went.
While we were sitting in the car eating, I had asked them if they had ever eaten stinky tofu and kind of convinced them to go. I knew Kelly would be game, since she likes food a lot. Tofu King had been on my list of places to eat earlier with AS’ family, but I had crossed it off the list when it was clear we couldn’t handle anymore food.
I had to warn them that it would smell as soon as we walked in the door. AS tried hard to breath only through his mouth. He did feel a bit ill and had to step out.
I hope I never step into another stinky tofu restaurant again xD.
I ordered minced pork rice since the owner’s son calls it his favorite along with the stinky tofu to share with the table.
After we left, we saw a Starbucks so we pulled over. Heh. Lauren, a mutual friend, had just returned from Japan a few weeks ago and she had mentioned how the green tea frappuccinos didn’t taste the same in LA as they did in Japan and linked to a blog post explaining how to order it so it would taste as close to “authentic” matcha (green tea in Japanese) frappucinos as possible.
I only skimmed through the blog post so I don’t remember (and frankly, we do have the authentic green tea frappuccinos at home so I don’t need to know how to order it), but if you’re interested, here it is
Our last stop of the night was at Moffett’s, for a chicken pot pie that Kelly is always raving about.
After they dropped us off, we finished off the rest of the leftovers for dinner. We only saved a small portion of the food and given the rest to his family for their dinner since we knew we wouldn’t be able to eat it all. Then it was time to layout clothes for the next day and get to sleep. We were headed for Disneyland in the morning!