Restaurant: China Islamic
Location: 7727 Garvey Ave, Rosemead, CA 91770. (626) 288-4246
Date: April 23, 2023
Cuisine: Western Islamic Chinese
Rating: Very tasty — although no wine due to halal
China Islamic is a Halal (hence no wine) Chinese place right there on garvey. Yarom has been coming here for over 30 years.
Interior is pretty much as you’d expect. They are on the 3rd or 4th owner, currently named Omar. That guy behind the counter did all the front of house work and after dark it got very crowded. He was very busy.
My crib sheet.
Cold Spice Sliced Beef. Not the “soaked in chili oil” version, but instead drizzled with an excellent garlicky chili oil.
Pickled Cucumber. It wasn’t actually really pickled, but was the smashed cucumber and a nice one with good crunch.
Spicy Ox Tripe. Very nice chili flavor and a good soft texture to the tripe. Quite excellent really although not the spicy sesame (super chewy) one that I had in Xi’an.
Lamb with Pickled Cabbage Warm Pot. The broth on this soup had a fabulous savory and sour flavor. The lamb was gamey, but delicious in contrast and there were glassy noodles. Really lovely soup. I kept drinking the broth.
Sesame Thick Bread with Onion.
This is a specialty of the area and the restaurant. It had a great crispy/bready texture but I found it just too bready (bland) for my taste — but that’s me.
Chinese Cumin Lamb “Burger.” This “Roger Moore” dish isn’t really a burger. These were however some of the best ones I’ve had. Really nice warm bread and great flavor to the meat.
Eggplant with Spicy Sauce and Ground Beef. Really nice garlic and chili oil eggplant. Great texture.
Spicy Lamb Ribs. Not particularly spicy but super fried, super salty, and mega delicious.
Mooshu Chicken. It was covered in an omelet instead of having the shredded omelet mixed in. This was actually quite tastey and a bit of a guilty pleasure. It’s here, like many of the dishes we didn’t order (aka Orange Beef) because as a Halal Chinese Restaurant a good number of non Chinese muslims seem to come in and just order regular Chinese American food.
The mooshu came with tortillas — lol.
And a sweet hoisin which was actually pretty good with it.
Beef Dumplings with Soup and Hot Soup. Awesome tender dumplings with great flavor (they were out of the lamb ones too) and a really nice tangy and slightly spicy broth. Kept drinking this too.
Braised Spicy Chicken Bone-in. This was our least favor dish. The chicken itself was tasty, but it was dominated by Jalepeno flavor — and it was fairly spicy.
Cumin Beef. Super tender with that strong cumin, onion, and char flavor.
Lamb Back Bone Warm Pot. Another awesome broth and the incredible lamb spine meat. So tender and almost like lamb pastrami.
The meat is a little scary but it tasted so good!
These noodles, cabbage, etc were for dumping in the warm pot.
Pita Bread Soaked in Lamb Soup. Another awesome broth — they really know broth here — with the shredded “pita” bread and lamb. The bread gave an effect like gnocchi and was very tender. Fabulous dish and a little different than the Shaanxi version I’ve had that is more like a pasta fazool or something.
Overall, this was some really tasty and a bit different Chinese. It’s fairly close in style to Shaanxi, although they also have a lot of Chinese American dishes on the menu (we only ordered the Mooshu). They don’t seem to have the knife cut noodles that are typical of Shaanxi however. But almost all dishes were really delicious, if rustic, and there was a ton of flavor. Particularly the addictive broths.