Dumplings in the San Gabriel Valley

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Yesterday we drove to the San Gabriel Valley to get Chinese food for lunch. My friend Pearl recommended J & J Restaurant, and it did not disappoint us.  It’s a tiny place with only about ten tables, but it’s in a strip mall with several other Chinese restaurants, so you won’t have to wait if you don’t want to.  Paco let me order, so we did not have any of the old standbys (beef with broccoli. . .).

We had xiao long bao, which is what they’re known for. These are steamed dumplings filled with pork or pork and crab. When the dumplings are made, a cube of gelatinous broth is included in the filling. While the dumpling steams, the broth melts. When you bite into it, savory, steaming hot broth fills your mouth. You can often find these at dim sum restaurants, but they may be a little dry if they’ve been sitting on the cart for a while. The freshly steamed dumplings at J & J were amazing.

The noodle soup with braised beef was great if you like Chinese beef stew (you know, with tendons and who-knows-what braised until tender). The broth was dark but mild, which complemented the flavorful beef nicely.

I had to order the braised pork with bean curd skins because I love bean curd skins.  The pork was braised until super tender, and the bean curd skins were tied into little knots, which was cute and made them easy to eat.

We rounded out our San Gabriel experience with foot massages!  ($15 for an hour or $10 for 30 minutes.)  What a perfect afternoon.

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