If you want really nasty Indian food, come to Bombay Bistro! I’ve never had a meal that failed from beginning to end, so this is a first. For $35.95 you can have the “family set” dinner that feeds four. This set includes an appetizer of extremely greasy, unusually red “Chicken 65” special, chock full of bean sprouts and onions.

After that, indulge yourself in overcooked, dried-out Tandori Chicken, tasting as someone forget to season it, and on top of that, left it out to bask in the sun after a long forgotten trip to the oven.

To compensate for the dehydrated tandori chicken, Bombay Bistro offers up watered down Chicken Tikka Masala. It’s more akin to colored liquidy cream than anything else.

Consider yourself lucky to find a cube or two of paneer in your Palak Paneer, a tiny bowl consisting of more oil and bay leaves than spinach. There must have been a paneer shortage in the kitchen, cause I doubt there were more than eight tiny cubes in this bowl.

For the price of $34.95, you’d think they could also throw in some basmati rice, but instead you get 2 doughy rounds of garlic naan. The middles were suspiciously undercooked. Somehow these two pieces of naans are supposed to suffice as the starch for four people. What were they thinking?!

And to top it off, they’ve even got a quartet belly dancers with swords dancing to Carlos Santana on the weekends. You can find Bombay Bistro next door to the pet store that specializes in lizards. (I don’t usually bad mouth restaurants, but this was one of the worst meals I’ve ever had…like make your stomach lurch kind of awful). I promise my next post will be something delicious!

Bombay Bistro
8851 Central Ave, Suite E-F
Montclair CA 91763
(909) 445-1455

It is unbelievably hot in LA today!! I don’t know the exact temperature, but it’s so hot that you can step right out of your air conditioned room and beads of sweat will start forming on your neck and shoulders before the door even closes. Lovely.

This weather completely justified a mid afternoon break with Trisha to Alley Café in Rowland Heights to satisfy cravings for a good bowl of bing su, the Korean take on shave ice. It’s so happy looking isn’t it?! I thought it was overpriced at $6.50, but anything cold at this point sounded very attractive. A mound of shaved ice, condensed milk allll over, bananas, kiwis, strawberries and little mochi balls – how could anyone not love this? At the top sat a round of strawberry ice cream and fruity pebbles sprinkled about. It was almost too adorable to eat, but nothing stops a hungry Kathy.

That hit the spot!

Afterwards we headed next door to Greenland Market to satisfy another craving in the making. In this case it was for Korean dduk. Sarah over at The Delicious Life has got her dduk down, so head over here to learn more.

Only one bakery in Honolulu produces dduk, and while the quality is good, variety is limited, so the vast options here in LA was quite an amazing sight for me.

We saw this…

And this.

This too…

Almost there…

Look at this!

But finally I settled on this. Pumpkin Dduk. I love pumpkin in any and all forms, and the slightly misshaped ugliness of this last one sitting alone appealed to me in a way that strange foods often do. And how much fun it is to eat this! I like Korean mochi about 10 million times for than Japanese mochi because the Korean ones are more cakey-like and not nearly as sweet. I feel as if I could make a meal out of this and still feel somewhat healthy afterwards, heehee.

Made from a base of sweet rice and beans, there are three layers involved with this pumpkin dduk. First the main cakey layer, then sliced pumpkin, and at the top is my favorite part. Unfortunately I have no clue what is on the top, so if you could help me out, I’d greatly appreciate it! It’s crumbly, almost like kinako powder in little clumps that melt in your mouth. Only these have more substance, little flavor, though it’s the texture I love. Some claim that Korean mochi has no flavor, but it’s that particular sort of hearty subtleness that attracts me.

However, there is something I worry about. There’s a sticker on every single package of Dduk that says, “discard within 24 hours.” The packages of dduk in Hawaii don’t say this! What will happen? Will the dduk turn a frightening shade of green? Will it explode? There’s no way I could finish this in 24 hours given my big lunch, bing su snack and an upcoming dinner at an Indian restaurant. So I’m going to cross my fingers and hope it doesn’t turn moldy tomorrow morning. Maybe I’ll stick it in the fridge. Or who knows, I just might wake up in the middle of the night and polish it off!

Alley Café
18927 Colima Road
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
(626) 839-0744

Greenland Market
18901 Colima Rd
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
(626) 912-1012

Lest you think that I can survive on nothing more than bread and pastries alone, I’ll let you know that, every once in a while I do engage in real food. Haha. Right before I had the mochi bun (from the last post), I went with my roommate to Tampopo Ramen in Diamond Plaza.

My Tampopo Special ($7.75) was massive! The broth, so rich and velvety, and even though it was nearly 80 degrees outside, you would have thought it was snowing from the way I downed that entire bowl, soup and all. There was plenty of pork, sweet but not nearly as tender with that buttery mouth feel like that from Yotteko-Ya in Hawaii. The ramen, a bit on the softer side, came with an abundance of bean sprouts and bamboo shoots buried under the noodles. I’m not so good at reviewing ramen, but I know what I like when I eat it, and this I liked :)

Meg finished her Miso Ramen ($6.85) twice as fast as I did. But then again, she didn’t drink all the soup…and soup drinking, especially from such a big bowl takes a long time! Meg’s from Tokyo and so her applause for this bowl of miso ramen must mean something. I sampled some of her broth and like the slight nuttiness that came from all the sesame seeds, the broth was also a bit creamier…if you can use such a word to describe it, like more full…or…sigh. I am at a loss for words here. I seem to fair better with bread, pastries and dessert.

The gyozas ($3.75) were a too loosely packed, but well seasoned with a fair balance between pork and veggies. Thin skin with a nicely charred bottom and hardly any oil. Strangely enough, I wasn’t very enthusiastic about them…it could be that I’m still trying to recover from a gyoza overload. My grandma packed me over 100 of her own gyozas, divided into plastic bags of 10 when I came back after spring break. Last week I realized I only had two weeks of school left with half of my gyoza stash untouched. So then I had gyoza for dinner every night…and as much as I love them, I am out-gyozed. For now at least!

Tampopo Ramen
1388 Fullerton Rd
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
(626) 965-9038

Mochi Buns @ Good Morning Bakery

I know I’ve already written a lot on mochi buns from Chinese bakeries. But there’s just something about these creatures that set them apart from all other Asian pastries. I think I could eat one everyday and never bore of them. I’ve tried a good five or six mochi buns from different bakeries around the Rowland Heights and San Gabriel area. But you want to know a little secret? The best mochi buns are not to be found a Chinese or Japanese bakery, but this one tiny, gasp, Korean bakery with a one store in Rowland Heights and another in Diamond Bar.

My affair remains steady with Good Morning Bakery. While your eyes may wander to meringue longs, banana cake (in the shape of a banana too!), curry doughnuts and mini madelines, you must direct your eyes back, because there’s only one thing worth seeking out. Red Bean Mochi Buns.

What’s so special about them, you ask. Well, if you part with a mere $.80, you might experience something that’s far better than making out with drunk males on a Saturday night. Not that I do or anything! It’s gorgeous, this bun. And it’s different from all other mochi buns because it is FLAT. Like smashed down kind of flat. Whereas other buns are hollow inside with the mochi and mashed beans on the bottom, the tops here are sealed down so that there is no unnecessary air gap. It’s dense, but not rich so you can take it all in one go and not feel overwhelmed.

Here are the innards! I told you it was beautiful! Look at that, soft bread, the slightest bit crusty with a sprinkle of black and white sesame seeds, mashed azuki beans and addictively sticky, chewy mochi hugging it from either side. The three components just kinda meld so effortlessly into one another, this bun asks nothing more of you than to eat it. So hard not to love. The beans are barely sweetened, and while it’s a pastry, I wouldn’t classify it as dessert…go ahead and have two in a day! Have I really found bliss in a bun? You bet :)

Good Morning Bakery
18889 E. Colima Rd #A
Rowland Heights, Ca 91748
(626) 964-6002

I Fu Tang: Crispy Sponge Cakes, Pumpkin Buns, & Mochi Buns…Is There Anything They Don’t Make?!

I’ve always found Chinese bakeries quite amazing. How to do they manage to offer such a wide variety of products and sell them goods for such low prices?? Every time I pay $5 for a milkshake or slice of cake, I get this awful guilty feeling in the gut of my stomach thinking that I could have bought at least three baked goods from a Chinese bakery at that price!

In the past week, I found myself visiting I Fu Tang in Rowland Height’s Diamond Plaza rather frequently. The other day I had a Crispy Cake ($1.50) for an after dinner and dessert snack. Isn’t it curious looking?

It was great fun to bite into, first you encounter the soft, delicate vanilla sponge cake featured in many Asian bakeries, then, a thin layer of cream. But only just enough to bind the layers upon layers of crisp phyllo dough. It’s such a simple concept, wrapping sponge cake around phyllo, but alas it’s treat that’s greater than the sum of its parts. To make things even better, it’s only a tad sweet, so you don’t even feel like it is dessert!

For breakfast the next morning, I had the Pumpkin Bun ($1.75). I didn’t expect any filling inside the bun so pleasantly surprised to find a whole mountain of whipped cream cheese inside. Oh man it was sooo good, especially when toasted, the fluffy cream cheese almost melting into the warm bun, with just a the lightest pumpkin flavor.

The top is brushed with this thin custardy layer and sprinkles of cinnamon and nutmeg. It turned all crazy crusty after being toasted and I couldn’t get over the trio of textures: a thin nearly cracker like crust, a soft yeast bun and the fluff of a nearly savory cream cheese.

By far the most intriguing pastry to have at I Fu Tang is the mochi bun. This simple, straightforward bun studded with beans harbors the most wonderful secret ever: a layer of chewy mochi! I love mochi and I love bread even more, so it was truly a great day when I found the both together.

The top crust of the bun is also worth mentioning, I did a post on a mochi bun from different bakeries before, but I Fu Tang is the only bakery who does something magical to their bun that’s similar to Panya’s Hokkaido Bread. You end up this thin custard-like/sweet/barely crusty top that’s truly the conglomeration of all things wonderful.

If you get the red bean mochi bun (pictured), mashed azuki beans are layered upon the mochi. With the taro mochi bun, it’s a layer of whipped, sweetened taro. You can’t go wrong with either bun, but I prefer the red bean one more because the bun top is studded with lots and lots of beans! And who doesn’t like red beans? :)

I Fu Tang Bakery
1380 Fullerton Rd Ste 101
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
(626) 581-0888