Restaurant: Spicy Moment V2.0
Location: 1015 S Nogales St, Rowland Heights, CA 91748. (626) 581-4966
Date: March 1, 2020
Cuisine: Szechuan Chinese
Rating: check: Terrible menu, surprisingly good home-style food
Back in August we did a 6 restaurant crawl in and around the Mandarin Plaza. One of the places we visited was Spicy Moment and we agreed to come back for a full dinner, or maybe a 2-fer combined with Hunan next door.
In the meantime Spicy Moment “rebooted” with a new owner, new menu, new concept — but they kept the name, build out and sign. However, despite what the sign says, it’s no longer “modern Chinese cuisine” and is a much much smaller menu Chongqing place.
The decor is pretty much unchanged. They still have the ugly drop ceiling, but they have made a tiny effort at decorating.
This menu set me up with low expectations. It’s basically cold apps and noodle soups. Noodle soups don’t share well and I’m not that into them anyway. There is nothing here. But Yarom never likes to give up on a plan so we went anyway — and were in for a super pleasant surprise.
They have Chongqing crispy duck — we’ll come back to that later.
And an array of “attractive” cold apps. But we love cold apps. Serious, they maybe a touch scary but we love them.
Smashed garlic cucumbers. Nice and crunchy, but could have used a stronger garlic flavor.
Cold marinated pig ear and sliced pork or beef parts.
Savory sweet peanuts with little fish (delicious), pulled spicy pork, and crunchy celery with tofu.
Chongqing special tofu pudding. Soft homestyle tofu.
Spicy sauce for the tofu.
You take a scoop of tofu and add sauce — we also added peanuts. The tofu had a fascinating smokey wood-fire flavor. The chili sauce was salty and had a ton of flavor. Really interesting and great combination.
Chongqing crispy smoked duck. Very crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Tons of flavor.
I have a feeling this duck is made more or less in this manner. Check out this video — and the cook’s adorable dog!
Noodles with beans and pork and egg and veggies.
You mix it all up with the sauce and it was quite delicious.
Chicken cold dry noodles.
These had a thinner noodle. You mix it all up and it had a great texture and a wonderful slightly tangy texture.
Overall, we were blown away considering the expectations from the limited menu. Just a terrible menu that looks like all of one thing. But this was some delicious stuff and really different. Hadn’t had this exact sort of duck before and everything we tried was pretty delicious. Plus that tofu pudding was totally unique and I could just imagine eating it in some dirt floor ancient Chinese farm hut! That dish has to be like 1,000 years old!
This place was like teleporting to China. Super interesting and a whole lot of fun. Very nice people too with great hospitality.