Shufeng Garden: Sichuan Sizzle Revives San Gabriel Square [CLOSED]

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Restaurant Sign San Gabriel

For years, San Gabriel Square was the crown jewel of the San Gabriel Valley, an open-air, double-decker mall with nearly a dozen enticing restaurants. However, turnover and attrition led to increasingly dim dining options. Henry Chang left Juon Yuan to open Chang’s Garden in Arcadia. Tung Lai Shun closed, leaving only one Chinese Islamic restaurant in the vicinity. Shanghai-style giant Green Village gave way to the equally good Green City, which was promptly replaced by a much lesser restaurant named Dong Chin Tun. We were left with chains like Sam Woo and Tapioca Express. Options grew so uninspired that I all but gave up on San Gabriel Square…until Jonathan Gold’s Best Dishes of 2009 listed Shufeng Garden, the three-month-old Sichuan spinoff of a seven-year-old Rowland Heights original. Now San Gabriel Square is once again a culinary destination.

Decor is limited to baby blue walls and decorative dried flowers anchored in Styrofoam packing peanuts. Thankfully, the menu is much more interesting, and highly affordable. There are dozens of options, divided by Speciality, Seafood, Cold Dishes, Dishes with Hot Chili, another category of Speciality, Dishes w/Sizzling Rice, Family Style Dishes, Dishes in Casseroles, Vegetable, Soup and Noodle & Rice, but your attention should stay fixed on tantalizing Shufeng Garden Specials.

Chinese Food San Gabriel

Rabbit with Red Spicy Sauce ($6.95) featured cold-hacked rabbit chunks that were nearly indistinguishable in taste and texture from white meat chicken. The dainty creature was tricky to eat, since tiny bones were still present, but the blizzard of chilies, scallions, chile flakes, sesame seeds and chile oil left a lingering flavor blast.

Dumplings San Gabriel

Zhong’s Dumplings ($4.50) were sensational, flat pork dumplings layered with chile oil and chile flakes and doused with sesame seeds. The dumplings named for a famous Chengdu chef cooked at high heat, so the oil practically fused with dumpling skins.

Chinese Food San Gabriel

Steamed Pork with Mixed Flour ($7.95) featured a sticky dome of pork belly interspersed with flour and chile flakes, plated on top of potato chunks. The slabs’ sticky texture was reminiscent of Chang’s Garden pork spare ribs, with striations of melting bacon fat.

Chinese Food San Gabriel

Gold raved about the Dan Dan Noodles ($4.50), and they were certainly worth ordering, al dente noodles showered with ground pork and submerged in a bath of chile oil. They got better as we worked our way toward the bottom of the bowl, where a spicy, porcine sludge packed a tongue-numbing glow.

Chinese Food San Gabriel

Several Shanghai-style restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley make a very good fried yellow croaker with seaweed-laced batter. Shufeng Garden opts for sole and briny kelp, and tiny, crispy fish fingers benefited further from a dried chile shower.

There were so many tempting options listed just under Shufeng Garden Specials that the restaurant could easily warrant several return trips. Next time, I’ll recruit more people so we can work our way through the menu, ordering dishes like Hot & Spicy Lobster, Lamb Steak with Hot Sauce, Tea Smoked Duck and Sliced Pork Ear with Red Spicy Sauce.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

Nice blog. Found the picture of dried flower looks awesome. It was nice going through your blog. keep up the good work.

Nice blog. Found the picture of dried flower looks awesome. It was nice going through your blog. keep up the good work.


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[…] Food GPS » Shufeng Garden – San Gabriel, CA – January 1, 2010 […]

ah! look so good. i’ve been craving this kind of food for a long time.

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