Jonathan Gold: Delicious Food Corner in San Gabriel Valley is the best place to eat Hong Kong food
Delicious Food Corner, a breakfast spot on Garfield that is just north of the Pomona Freeway, is located in a Monterey Park corner that feels more like Montebello. The ancient grill-your-own-steaks bar called the Venice Room is across the street and the old-school J&S, known for its bean-and-cheese burritos, is down the street. Just a few steps away are Ravello Osteria’s Neapolitan pizzas. This is the successor to Bollini’s. Shakas offers Hawaiian plate lunches. Delicious Food Corner is the San Gabriel Valley’s most Hong Kong-friendly place. It has been my favorite spot for food since its inception. Dim sum is only for tourists. Congee, a homey rice porridge, is for everyone.
A Hong Kong-style bun is a sugar-crusted, sugar-crusted roll that’s sometimes called a pineapple bun because of its bumpy, golden appearance. It is hard to imagine a morning at the restaurant with a Hong Kong bun. It is sliced in half and served with a pat of salted butter between each half. This makes it both too much and too little. Hot, fresh youtiao, unsweetened Chinese crullers are available, either in plain form or wrapped in sticky rice noodles. There are many options for breakfast, including Spam, egg sandwiches, thick toast with condensed milk and mountains of rice, topped with minced pork and runny eggs. Delicious Food Corner might not be the right place for you if you’re watching your carbs.
Congee is a must with your youtiao, buns and other foods. Delicious Food Corner’s congee doesn’t taste like the fancy, high-end porridge you can get at fancy Hong Kong restaurants. It’s more the simple, tasty, semi-fluid, well-seasoned and sprinkled with chopped green onions and crispy bits of fried dough. The congee with meatballs is my favorite. They are small, bouncy, well emulsified and have a subtle but noticeable offal smell. Congee can be made with deliciously loose fishcake or wilted vegetables, as well as one with bone-in chicken which, for some reason, tastes better than bland boneless chicken. There’s also one that has a few pieces of velvety-soft beef. The congee with fish will have the raw fillets cooked in the porridge.
If you are lucky enough to find a spot before 11:30, the congee includes a small plate of fried noodles. These noodles include not beef noodles or shrimp noodles, but plain fried Chinese eggs vermicelli. They are leavened with one or two bean sprouts, but otherwise unadorned and smelling hot, clean oil. You can also get steamed rice flour noodles, which are rolled up and placed in a pile, with a few dried shrimps scattered around and sweetened with sweet beans sauce.