This post isn't about a Kirk Road Trip or one by Cathy. This post is about a meal Ed (from Yuma) and Tina had on a road trip exploring a little of the culture and cuisines in the LA area.
Tina and I were staying in Montebello, just south of Monterey Park. Saturday night was going to be our last dinner in the area. Of course, we would eat Chinese food, but Tina insisted “no seafood.” We were looking for something reasonable, no frills, no stress. Thanks to some posts by Kirk, we decided to try a Shanghai style dinner at Giang Nan – if we could find the small restaurant at the backend of a small anonymous strip mall at 306 N. Garfield. Luckily for us, it was all lit up for the holidays:
The restaurant seemed clean and nicely if sparingly decorated. The service was also friendly and knowledgeable – our young female waitperson was very helpful and pleasant. The menu was extensive and offered us a lot of choices, so we found some dishes we knew we wanted, but we just guessed about others.
This cold chicken appetizer tasted fresh and clean with a light background flavor of the wine sauce. Very enjoyable.
The duck in supreme sauce ($5.95) was also pleasant. The thick sauce had a pronounced 5 spice flavor and complemented the chilled leg and thigh of roast duck. Sweet spice and savory flavors matching the cool rich duck flesh:
We felt we got lucky with our order of shredded pork and bamboo shoots ($5.95). Really enjoyed the textures of the pork, bamboo shoots, and green onions. The dish was lightly sauced so that each ingredient was present and accounted for. Of course, I am a huge fan of bamboo shoots since I just love their earthy woodsy flavor and unique texture, but it is hard to imagine anyone not relishing this dish:
The dish arrived at our table still steaming hot. The green beans were perfectly cooked and the sauce, dark as it looked, was not too salty or overwhelming. Only the potato strips, which tasted too soft, like they came from a package of frozen french fries, were somewhat disappointing. Still they provided a bland and soft contrast to the crispier green flavored beans.
Her recommendation was spot on. In some ways, this was the most impressive thing we tasted all evening. The greens, the slightly salty pork belly chunks, and the hot, almost creamy rice were well balanced and the layered flavors of the dish all worked together. We thanked her a couple of different times for the recommendation.
The pork flavors of the dumplings were excellent, and the wrappers neither too thick nor too tough. We also appreciated their somewhat small size. Once they cooled just a little bit, they were perfect one-bite treats. It seemed odd to receive them at the end of the meal, but we had no trouble gobbling them all up. Just like a desert, I guess.
but we received so much food that it was also our Sunday brunch as well, and we still felt bad throwing some leftovers away. Giang Nan is certainly not a fancy restaurant, but we will happily return for rustic Shanghai cuisine the next time we are in the area.
Giang Nan, 306 N Garfield Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91754, (626) 573-3421; Open 11 am - 3pm, and 5pm - 10 pm daily