Restaurant: Haige Star / Tianfu Cuisine [ CLOSED ]
Location: 18438 Colima Rd Unit 105, Rowland Heights, CA 91748. (626) 820-9638
Date: September 18, 2022
Cuisine: Sichuan Chinese
This amazing (and now sadly closed) Sichuan joint in Rowland Heights has an amusing tale.
So, sometime in the spring of 2022, Jeffrey and Yarom went here went I was out of town. Of course this annoyed me to no end because so many times I’m dragged to repeat Cantonese or Hong Kong places and certain parties complain about the difficulty of recruiting for spicy Chinese (my favorite obviously) — and then they go on one of the rare weekends when I have a conflict. Anyway, it was “clearly” labeled “Haige Star Boulevard” at this time, and while the hardcore crew loved it, many of the newbies that Yarom unwisely dragged here wouldn’t touch anything. With this description in mind I was eager to go again, and so was Jeffrey.
Now this time, 9/18/22 when I returned it had a different name. On Yelp it seemed like it had a skewer hot pot phase at some point, which wasn’t the case tonight. Jeffrey’s memory is so bad he couldn’t remember if it was exactly the same either. It was certainly Sichuan and certainly great. Unfortunately when we tried to return on 1/22/23 for a third visit they were totally boarded up and closed. We heard through the rumor mill that the owner had passed away, which is very sad for his family and a great loss for us lovers of Sichuan cuisine.
The interior is basic.
We had the place mostly to ourselves and this great table in the back.
Oh boy. I hope you read Chinese because none of us did. The staff didn’t speak any English either. None. Basically zero. Fortunately between google translate and my knowledge of Sichuan dishes I was able to order successfully.
Smashed Cucumbers. Very good version. Nicely smashed, lots of garlic, and a tasty “flavor” sauce.
Been Jelly Noodles. Nice version too. Not super spicy, but some good mala and an interesting smokey quality. Very good “noodle” texture.
Century Egg with Chilies. I haven’t had this exact century egg variation (aka without tofu) but these were really good with a great savory flavor without being mega-salty.
Cured Sausage. Very fatty, dry, and with a great slightly funky flavor.
Cold Dry Spicy Beef. Beef jerky like texture with a fabulous deep layered spicy sauce. The sauce was incredible with the sausage as well.
Couples sliced Beef/Offal. Dry pastrami like poached beef with chili sauce, Chinese celery, and peanuts. Lovely, although not quite as good as Gu Yi’s.
Tea Smoked Duck. Moist and juicy with a ton of smokey flavor. Fabulous duck.
Boiled “Meats” in Chili Oil. Includes liver (very mild and succulent), spam (delicious), tripe, and pig intenstine (funky). Good spicy/mala sauce.
Spicy Bamboo Shoots with Peanuts and Cilantro. Spectactular texture and flavor.
Twice Cooked Pork. Nice version of this dish. Not obscenely salty.
Dan Dan Mein.
Mixed up. This was enjoyable, but wasn’t very hot or nutty. It was more a broth with a bit of chili and some meat. It was helped by adding a bit of the crack peanuts.
Crack Peanuts. A bit sweet and salty with some kind of “spice” flavorant. Totally addictive.
Double Mint Oreo — Base made with Fresh Spring Mint infused milk and then laced with Crushed Mint Oreo Thins and Chopped Valrhona 70% Chocolate! — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — lovely strong mint flavor and color is all natural — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #dessertgasm #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #mint #valrhona #chocolate #oreo
Chocolate Butterfinger Crunch Gelato – The base is made with Valrhona 62% Satilla Chocolate and then layered with Dark Chocolate Peanutbutter Cream Cheese Ganache and chopped Butterfingers! — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #Valrhona #chocolate #creamcheese #ganache #icing #peanut #butterfinger
Overall, the experience here was super fun. Our ordering was helped about 2/3 through by a nice couple where the guy spoke both English and the Chengdu dialect of Chinese. He recommended a few dishes — but I’m proud that I picked 75% of these out with my “skillz.”
It was incredibly delicious, some of the best Sichuan I’ve had in America and actually on par with places I visited in Chengdu. This place is/was fairly rustic, but the balance of the dishes was spectacular. Just the right combinations of textures and different flavors (aka spice, sour, salty etc). This type of food is actually all about balance. Jeffrey and I went into mourning when we found out they closed because we had been plotting a return here for months. Sigh.
For more LA dining reviews click here.
For more LA Chinese dining reviews click here.