San Gabriel Valley strip malls are in constant flux, which can either be exciting or distressing, depending on your perspective. For years, El Monte Plaza was home to Dumpling 10053, a place that specialized in a plethora of boiled, steamed and fried dumplings. Now the slot belongs to Ahgoo’s Kitchen, a Taiwanese restaurant with Shanghainese touches from Taiwan born chef Thomas Yeh. The spare space features yellow walls, seven wood tables, and few flourishes. The name translates from Mandarin as Father’s Sister’s Kitchen. During a recent family dinner, no dish outperformed Pan-Fried Sesame Green Onion Cake.
Pan-Fried Sesame Green Onion Cake ($8.95) takes 40 minutes to prepare and often sells out before closing, but this dish is well worth the trouble. Crispy, sesame-studded coats shield inner layers that are pull-apart, puffy, and studded with green onions. Green onion pancakes are ubiquitous in the San Gabriel Valley, but no version can match this cake’s finesse.