An update after returning to the 1940s hooker motel for more awesome Chinese BBQ.
An update after returning to the 1940s hooker motel for more awesome Chinese BBQ.
Restaurant: Sham Tseng BBQ
Location:634 Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91754. (626) 289-4858
Date: February 12 & October 22, 2017 & July 21, 2019 & November 13, 2022
Cuisine: Chinese BBQ
Rating: Best BBQ fowl and pig!
One of the first Hedonist Chinese diners I ever went to — 5 or more years ago! — was at Sham Tseng, but back when they had a different location.
And even mysteriously for lease is…
Beef tendon and pig ear. Not my favorites. I actually love beef tendon, but in spicy sauce where it’s chew is complemented by some flavor.
Corn Soup (7/21/19). A corn egg drop soup. Light and delicious.
Garlic, Ginger, and Scallion Lobster on Chow Mein. The lobster sauce was very nice with a great ginger flavor. The lobster meat itself was well cooked. However, the lobster was tiny and so there was almost no tail and it was hard to get the meat out of the body. The crispy noodles were insanely good.
Lobster in black pepper sauce. Fine, although not their speciality.
Lobster with garlic ginger sauce and noodles (7/21/19). This was a better lobster prep for them, although a bit of a tough beast, the sauce on the noodles was excellent.
Roast goose (2 pictures). This was an incredible dish too. Super moist and great crunchy skin. Eaten with the sweet orange sauce.
Egg yolk salt shrimp. A little too heavy for my taste.
Salted Egg Yolk Crab. A frozen Dungeness Crab because Yarom was too cheap to pay for the much better live crab. The fry was very heavy, grainy, salty, with a bit of funky fish sauce taste. I didn’t like it at all. The meat was meally and fell apart. Not a good dish.
This chili oil isn’t nearly as good as mine.
Roast chicken. Some of the best straight up chicken I’ve had! Again cooked perfectly.
Hyper fried pork or such. Actually pretty darn tasty.
The party spread even to the staff.
Green beans. Fine.
Chinese broccoli (10/22/17). Fairly typical Chinese green.
Pea tendrils with garlic (10/22/17). I like this kind of colon sweeper better.
Chinese broccoli (and regular broccoli?) with mushrooms in velvet sauce (7/21/19).
Rice noodles with chicken (10/22/17). Vaguely sweet.
Ma Po tofu. Not very spicy sort of goopy version.
Peking duck. Some more stunning poultry! Fabulous and as good as Tasty Duck.
Different presentation on 10/22/17.
Beef Tendon Curry. I really enjoyed this dish. The tendons were almost all tendon which isn’t for everyone and while the curry wasn’t as awesome as the Henry’s version of this same dish it was quite good. Certainly an excellent dish.
Chewy fried rice balls with red bean inside (10/22/17). What historically passed for dessert in China.
Confetti cake. Even odder.
Radical new flavor: Gianduja Extra Virgin Olive Oil — a tricky high fat EVOO base made with 2014 Giuseppe Quintarelli Olive Oil and layered with house-made Piedmontese Hazelnut and Valrhona Chocolate Ganache — 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 #evoo #OiliveOil #Quintarelli #SavorySweet #ganache #valrhona #chocolate #hazelnut
Italian Lemon Cookie Meringue Pie — Limoncello Zabaione base with lemon cookie flavor mixed with Italian Lemon Creme Cookies and Sicilian Candied Lemon and topped with house-made toasted Meringue — 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 #lemon #LemonCookie #cookie #Sicily #Sorento #Limoncello #Meringue #LemonMeringuePie
Overall the private room is a fun time at Sham Tseng — although it almost guarantees the dreaded “2 table” vibe which I think severely reduces the fun at SGV Chinese. Downstairs is a crowded mess and basically 2 tops. And while most of their non-BBQ dishes are just fine (solid, but nothing amazing), their BBQ poultry and pig is off the charts great — really really good.
On the 11/13/22 meal it was even more clear how much of a division there was between their BBQ (birds and pig) dishes and the rest. All of the former: whole pig, pig leg, duck, squab, goose, chicken were fabulous, first in class, but the seafood dishes kinda sucked. Plus some totally bad or wasteoid dishes like the bad eggs and the soy sauce pig’s feet. The ordering was not particularly well planned.
Still, with the right care this can be an amazing and special place.
And I brought this too. Not enough fruit.
Restaurant: Sham Tseng BBQ
Location: 203 West Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA. 626-289-4858
Date: December 17, 2012
Cuisine: Cantonese Chinese
Rating: Awesome goose!
It’s time for the next Hedonist adventure, this time out into the San Gabriel Valley for some really serious Cantonese.
The menu. Haha. You can find one in English here.
Parker 90. “This 100% Semillon made from relatively young vines in the Haut-Brion vineyard is crisp, steely, with plenty of grapefruit, lemon zest, and white currants in a medium-bodied, fresh, lively style.” Very youthful for a 15 year-old white, it had plenty of mineralogy and floral components.
The NV Brut Rose is a pretty, gracious wine. Freshly cut roses, red berries and spices take shape nicely in the glass as the wine shows off its understated, timeless personality. Billecart-Salmon’s NV Brut Rose is a reliably tasty wine.
A bonus wine from my cellar, “Incorporating fruit principally from Wehlener Nonnenberg, Graacher Himmelreich, and Bernkasteler Johannisbrunnchen, the generic Prum 2010 Riesling Kabinett displays an archetypal Mosel Riesling nose of fresh apple, lemon, and clover allied to faintly cheesy, leesy youthful “stink”; and comes to the palate bright and zippy, with hints of wet stone, and prominent cyanic piquancy of apple pit invigoratingly extending its mouthwateringly juicy, if tart and relatively simple finish.”
A vegetarian dish combining mixed Chinese vegetables and this kind of spongy stuff I’ve had lots of times but have no idea what it is. It’s one of those textural Asian ingredients that is a bit weird to the American palette.
Parker 92, “The 2002 Pinot Noir Kistler Vineyard offers wonderful sweet raspberry and cherry fruit with a hint of framboise, a deep plum/ruby/purple color, medium body, and good vibrancy in a medium to full-bodied, feminine style.”
Not bad for a new world pinot, and in the Burgundy style. Of course it’s no Burgundy.
Parker 91-93, “Following the brilliant success of Kistler’s 2007s, Steve Kistler and his sidekick, Mark Bixler, deserve kudos for what they have achieved in the more challenging 2008 vintage. This is the first vintage in which 100% of the fermentations were indigenous, and, fortunately, all their Sonoma Coast vineyards were far enough south that they were not tainted by any of the smoke from the ferocious fires that spread through Mendocino. The 2008s appear to be slightly more fruit-forward, with a touch less minerality than the 2007s.”
From my cellar, the first of the “real” pinots. Burghound 95, “A perfumed, complex and mostly still primary nose offers up earthy red berry fruit, underbrush and a touch of animale that can also be found on the generous and quite fleshy flavors that possess excellent volume as well as buckets of dry extract that almost render the firm and ripe tannins invisible on the massively long finish. Wow, this is a stunner of a wine with still plenty of upside potential remaining.”
Another grand cru. Parker 91-93, “The Bocquenet 2005 Echezeaux – from high up in the Rouges du Bas section, adjoining Les Beaux Monts – exhibits abundant, nose- and palate-filling black fruits, prominent sweet spiciness, formidable though fine tannins, and a long, sweet, smoky, very lightly cooked and caramelized finish that is sumptuous even with the tannins. It will take years for them to round out, but some progress may well be made in tank prior to bottling.”
Parker 93, “Based on the strength of his 1994s, proprietor Roman Bratasiuk was named one of my “Wine Producers of the Year” in issue #108. His skill in turning old head-pruned vines into majestic wines of extraordinary richness and purity has been confirmed with the release of the 1995s. These wines are massive and rich as well as extraordinarily well-balanced and pure. I have never tasted an Australian Merlot that was more concentrated than Penfold’s Grange, a Shiraz-based wine. Clarendon Hills’ 1995 Merlot (250 cases available for America) is an opaque purple-colored wine with a knock-out nose of raspberry liqueur, chocolate, smoke, and spice. The wine is enormously extracted with a density and texture reminiscent of pre-1976 vintages of Petrus. Sumptuous, and almost over the top in its richness and density, this unctuously thick, full-bodied wine is fabulous to smell, taste, and consume. This is great stuff! As youthful as this Merlot is, I have no doubt it will last for 15 or more years. These are amazing wines.”
Parker 90,”The 1999 Altagracia, a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon cuvee from estate vineyards, is the debut vintage. The wine is medium to full-bodied, with low acidity, and plump, sweet, pure, black currant fruit intermixed with mineral and licorice notes. This delicious Cabernet is on a faster revolutionary track than its more profound sibling, the celebrated Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.”
Parker 91, “Smoke, cedar, tobacco and earthiness are among the nuances that come to life in the estate’s 1999 Barbera d’Asti Vigna del Noce. Some of the primary fruit has melted away, resulting in a highly complex, engaging Barbera that is very rewarding to drink now.”
Parker 93, “This is unquestionably a profound Grand-Puy-Lacoste, but it is excruciatingly backward. It reveals an essence of creme de cassis character which sets it apart from other Pauillacs. The wine is displaying plenty of tannin, huge body, and sweet black currant fruit intermixed with minerals and subtle oak. Massive, extremely structured, and with 25-30 or more years of longevity, this immensely-styled Grand-Puy-Lacoste will require 7-8 years of patience, perhaps longer. A superb, classic Pauillac.”
Black cod with Ginger, Green Onion & Dry Bean Stick.
Parker 94, “The 2009 Bone Rock is a round, enticing red laced with sweet, succulent dark cherries, plums, flowers and spices. It shows remarkable intensity and fabulous balance. Bone Rock is made from the first blocks planted in the James Berry vineyard and is predominantly Syrah, while the James Berry Vineyard (the wine) is Grenache focused. In 2009 the blend was 57% Syrah, 31% Mourvedre and 12% Grenache. The Syrah component was vinified with 100% stems and saw a maceration lasting 50 days. The wine was aged in 60% new oak. Smith bottled the 2009 in May 2011, earlier than the norm (around 30 months), as he wanted to preserve the freshness he had in the tannins.”
Overall, this was fabulous fun, food, and wine. There were a number of really outstanding dishes (like the goose, roast pig, etc) and everything was well executed — even if a few were a little squirmy for my taste (intestines!). Things were very fried, but that’s this cuisine. I actually like many other regional cuisines in China better than Cantonese. Szechuan for example, but that didn’t stop this from being a wonderful meal.
Umm, that goose was so good!