After the conference in LA, I made a pit stop to get some hipster cold brew coffee that Minion told me about (see below) before meeting up with a couple of friends in San Gabriel for some dinner.
Cold brew is my new favorite thing, in case you haven’t seen me drooling over it on Instagram.
I picked the spot for dinner. I’m sure you’re not surprised.
One glance at the website for Hui Tou Xiang Noodles House was enough to convince me that I needed to try those dumplings prominently featured on their website. Luckily my friends Heather and Alyssa (who used to write for this blog) are foodie adventurous!
They gave us one menu which also served as the ordering sheet plus a pencil. You just check off what you want. If you buy five items, you get the sixth one for FREE.
After we placed our order (which mostly consisted of me saying “You wanna eat this, too?” to my cohorts) we got this complimentary kimchee. I’m not too keen on kimchee but I did sample a small bit, just to confirm that I’m still not keen on it (my feelings have not changed).
[cold cucumber salad / $3.50]
There wasn’t really a ton of veggie dishes but we did manage to order two and this is one of them: the cold cucumber salad. This was very refreshing and the cucumber was nice and crisp. The skin is almost completely gone and there’s a very light sauce that coats the cucumbers. I really liked this!
[black agaric salad / $3.95]
Alyssa convinced me to get this one and said it was kind of like mushrooms – which it is – but it’s not like any other mushrooms I have seen or tried. These certainly make me think more of fungus than any other mushroom I’ve tried, that’s for sure. They were almost see through and had a bit of snap to them. It didn’t taste much like mushroom to me and I didn’t find the taste to be either pleasant or unpleasant. It just was more of a crazy texture to me, almost like hard gelatin if that makes any kind of sense… Alyssa liked these a lot while the rest of us just kind of poked at it.
[spicy meat wontons / $6.50]
I was trying to order a variety of things and get an item from every category. These were from the “wontons” section of the menu. I had no idea what “Hong Kong style” wontons were and Chinese spinach only sounded mildly interesting. In the end I didn’t find them super spicy, though I did carefully pick one that had a lack of red peppers on it. The filling was mostly pork and didn’t strike me in any particular way. They were just kind of “meh”. I brought these home for Jake and he later told me that they were “hella spicy” so I assume soaking up all of that chili oil made them even spicier!
[sesame noodles / $6.50]
To break up the monotony of dumplings (not that I think I could get sick of them, but mostly for variety’s sake) we ordered some noodles as well. The noodles are served cold with veggies on top and you get a side of fresh garlic, sesame sauce and another sauce (the one of the left is the one I’m unsure of). We only got tiny plates and and managed to share this anyway. I loaded my share up with fresh garlic and sesame sauce plus a little of the mystery sauce. It turned out to be quite tasty and also refreshing! The cold noodles were delicious on such a warm day out and I loved the taste of the sesame sauce coating the noodles. The veggies brightened it up, too. So good!
[pork hui tou dumplings / $6.95]
These are the signature dish of the restaurant, considering the restaurant is named after this dish. These were served pipping hot and had such a beautiful crunch on the outside. The wrapper wasn’t too thick and the pork inside was tender and juicy. One bite and I squirted hot juice all over myself (geez, why did I just admit that). I love the golden color, the crispy texture, and the delicious porky filling – this was my favorite dumpling of the ones we tried that day!
[three flavored dumplings / $6.95]
At our waitress’ suggestion, we also got these three flavored dumplings from the “boiled” category. The filling was a mixture of shrimp, pork, egg and chive. I almost didn’t get this one because Heather and her friend don’t dig seafood. I took one bite though and found this to be extremely fishy… which was weird since it was made with shrimp. The filling flavor was completely off so no one really ate these.
[xiao long bao / $6.75]
Soupy dumplings! We got the straight up pork xiao long bao (they also had ones with crab meat for 20 cents more).
You can sort of see inside this one! I bit the top off and drank a bunch of soup right away. The wrapper was chewy and nice and there was a good amount of soup in these. The pork filling was a touch bland to me but overall a pretty good dumpling. I’d say it has a fair chance of being in an upcoming, still to be planned out, dumpling crawl of LA.
[leek pancakes / $6.75]
Alyssa wanted to get these in the hopes that they would be like the ones we had oh so long ago when she used to live in Pasadena. Sadly… they were not. We got the vegetarian ones (maybe the pork ones were better?) which had a filling of leeks, rice noodles and egg. I didn’t like the taste of the egg with the rice noodles and leeks at all. It tasted like a weird, bitter mess.
A tabletop view of our very full table full of deliciousness.
It’s always lovely to see friends! Don’t we look like a mobile signal?
Hui Tou Xiang Noodles House
704 W. Las Tunas Dr.
San Gabriel, CA 91776