Last night, I finally took my carpool friend D and her husband to San Gabriel for Chinese food. We’ve been planning to go out to eat for quite some time now, but never actually set it up. D came from Lithuania and her husband is a native Californian. They both like to try different exotic food, and they were wondering where they can find unique authentic Chinese food around LA (they came to the right person!). Originally, I wanted to take them to Kingswood tepanyaki in San Gabriel. But since they requested authentic Chinese food, we ended up taking them to the Shanghai restaurant in Focus plaza.
We ordered their house special meatball, fried eggplant with soy sauce, black mushroom with cabbage, and crab tofu casserole. They were most impressed with the meatball and the tofu casserole, saying both were very tender and have great flavors.
After the dinner, we took them downstairs to a candy and snack shop. The store put a bowl of each snack on top of the container for tasting. They tried every single strange item that they never seen before and commented on how they taste. D loves those dried squid snack as well as those preserved plums. Unlike some Americans I know, they’re actually more open and accepting to all kinds of different things. I felt they’re more Chinese than I am because I don’t even eat most of the stuff there myself.
Afterward we walked to the big 99 Ranch Market in the plaza. For Americans who have never been to this kind of major Chinese supermarket, it was like a trip to fantasy world. They stopped to look at every single thing, fascinated at all those strange food they never heard of before, and picked out the most exotic items on the shelves. They joked that if it wasn’t the market was about to close, they would’ve spent hours cruising in every aisles in this supermarket. It was fascinating for me as well because I have never spent this much time in 99 Ranch before. Every time I go there, I just grab whatever I need and leave. I couldn’t even tell them what most of the stuff in the store are or what they’re made of. In the end, I think they bought a couple small pumpkins, bok choy, peanut tofu soup, dried seaweed, different kinds of Chinese herbal tea (they love to drink tea) and some taro cakes.
It was quite a fun and interesting cultural night for all of us. We decided to do this cultural exchange thing more often and they will take us to the Russian district in Hollywood next time. Really looking forward to it~