Eating L.A. had the privilege of dining with several folks from the L.A. Chowhound group , including Chowhound's own L.A. editor, Thi, last week at King's Palace in San Gabriel. Thi, an ebullient philosophy grad student with a world-class appetite, was recently profiled in Los Angeles magazine. I appreciated his advice to my dilemma of ordering in unusual restaurants
with friends who want to order only the usual suspects -- I think it was "Tell them to shut up." or maybe "Leave them at home." Here's one of Thi's Chowhound posts about King's Palace: "King's Palace, the Shanghai/Taiwanese place -- Unlike Green Village, which is very much of the funky, dunky, country school, King's Palace is all pure, hard lines - the clam and ginger soup tastes of fresh clam, and fresh ginger, and NOTHING ELSE. But boy, goddamn, does it taste of clam."
The Shanghai/Taiwanese style food was a little subtle for my taste -- I'm a fiend for Szechwan and also enjoyed the bold, earthy flavors at the more traditionally Shanghai style Green Village. But it's always fun to go with a group of adventurous eaters, and I was glad Thi arrived just in time to insist we get the winter melon with crab roe. Not only was it an alien-colored dish of celadon and coral, it had a pleasantly mild fishiness amid two textures of slimy. Everyone else raved about the garlic crab -- I must be taste-challenged or something, because I'm afraid I
didn't get it. The minced garlic all clings to the shell, and then you take the crab out of the shell and eat it, so no garlic actually touches the meat. But he was right about the ginger clam soup, it was very light and bracing. Because we also ordered the a whole steamed fish, Peking duck and the pork pump, at $25, it was the most expensive Chinese meal I've had in the San Gabriel Valley. Still, it's great to get to know various regions of Chinese cooking and see how many styles there are.
250 W. Valley Blvd.