Tasty Chinese food has plenty of options for not a lot of money at these South Bay eateries – Daily Breeze

Now, I’m not saying that Lomita and surrounding towns are about to become serious competition for the Chinese enclaves of Alhambra, Rosemead, San Gabriel, Monterey Park, Arcadia and so on.

But in recent days, enough serious quality places with truly authentic cuisine have popped up that it’s safe to say that a Chinese culinary community is growing on the southern edge of the South Bay. From the recently opened Muodu Shanghai, to Ruiji Sichuan, A-1 Chinese BBQ, Szechuan Chinese and Lucky #1, there are plenty of great reasons to hone your chopstick skills.

And add to this calculation the South Bay branch of Tasty Noodle House Shanghai Cuisineand the argument becomes all the stronger.

There are seven Tasty Noodle branches in Southern California, stretching from West LA to San Diego, with a branch in Hacienda Heights east of the San Gabriel Valley, in the middle of another world of Chinese restaurants. And as the local Tasty Noodle proves, it’s a restaurant well suited to the more discerning Chinese populace and Anglo diners who might have a penchant for sweet and sour pork and orange chicken.

It’s a Chinese restaurant with something for everyone. Including its namesake noodles – although perhaps a bit oddly, noodles aren’t the dominant food on the menu. There are a lot of them, it’s true, including a crazy number of noodle soups, 32 in all. And the noodles are very good, especially the soupless cold noodles with shredded chicken, a dish that has long been a personal favourite, maybe because like a lot of guys I have a thing for cold food.

But for me, one of the best things about Tasty Noodle is the selection of 18 dim sum dishes, served for lunch and dinner, which means you don’t have to venture into San Valley. Gabriel for dim sum breakfast/lunch and breakfast/lunch only. The selection isn’t as large as at some of the San Gabriel Valley’s dim sum palaces, with dozens of dishes emerging on rolling carts. But it is certainly enough.

A good meal can consist of scallion pancakes, grilled pork bun or grilled beef bun, pork potstickers, shrimp and pork dumplings — and xiao long bao, soup dumplings, dim sum object of desire, much appreciated in restaurants where it is served (and nowadays, with its cult, there are many of them). It may not be the soup dumpling served at Din Tai Fung in the Del Amo Center. But it will be fine. And if you want it with an order of Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice – well, here it is.

  • The Triple-T Tea House and Restaurant, located in a mini-mall adjacent to a college in Gardena, serves Chinese cuisine at prices under $10 for almost everything on the menu.

  • Crispy Chicken at Triple-T Tea House and Restaurant in Gardena

  • Onion Beef at Triple-T Tea House and Restaurant in Gardena

  • Mixed salad at Triple-T Tea House and Restaurant in Gardena (Photo by Merrill Shindler)

Tea room and Triple-T restaurant

The objects of desire Tea room and Triple-T restaurant maybe drinks on the tea house side of the menu, which is dominated by teas, about 30 of them, but also includes smoothies, coffees, lattes, lemonades, coffees, non-alcoholic mojitos , detox drinks and more.

The very tasty signature iced tea is a Thai creation with green tea and lime, but you can also wet the old whistle with grapefruit green tea, “Cloudy Tea” (made with coconut milk), a blueberry matcha smoothie or a “Military Latte” – tea, milk, vanilla and coffee. Tea and coffee in the same drink are decidedly… different.

The menu, and it’s large, covers even more ground than the tea house side – from a choice of popcorn shrimp, chicken and fish, tossed with fries, to kimchi fried rice with pork belly, kung pao rice (not a dish you’ll come across very often, if at all), various Thai noodle dishes, a handful of Korean dishes, lots of Chinese dishes, and the kind of Americana defined by chicken wings. Cajun flavored chicken, lemon pepper and something called a “spicy sweetheart special.

These are dishes that sound good with a beer, which they don’t serve at Triple-T. Dishes that seem to cater to college students at nearby El Camino College, who are very hungry, but not a lot of cash. Portions are big, prices are low here. Student food personified.

Merrill Shindler is a freelance food critic based in Los Angeles. Email him at mreats@aol.com.

Tasty noodle house

Rating: 2.5 stars

Address: 2373 Pacific Coast Highway, Lomita

Information: 424-347-7277

Food: Chinese

When: Lunch and dinner, daily

Details: Tea and soft drinks; large reservations

Atmosphere: Specialist in casual and functional Shanghainese noodles and dumplings, but with a very extensive menu too, something for everyone, served in a mini-mall glass box, the South Bay branch of a Chinese chain spanning from West LA to San Diego.

Prices: About $15 per person

Suggested dishes: 12 starters ($4.50 – $8.99), 8 soups ($7.50 – $8.50), 18 dim sum ($2.50 – $9.99), 32 noodle soups (6, $50-$15.99), 14 Fried Noodle Dishes ($8.99-$10.50), 15 Fried Rice Dishes ($8.50-$11.99), 56 Appetizers ($8.99 $ – $35.99), 45 cold drinks ($1.75 – $4.99)

Cards: CM, V

Tea room and Triple-T restaurant

Rating: 2 stars

Address: 15703 Crenshaw Blvd, Gardena

Information: 424-348-8666

Food: Chinese

When: Lunch and dinner, daily

Details: Boba and soft drinks; reservations not necessary

Atmosphere: Large teahouse and restaurant in a mini-mall adjacent to a college, with a menu of both teas and smoothies and an eclectic Chinese cafe, priced under $10 for virtually the entire menu.

Prices: About $12 per person

Suggested dishes: 17 starters ($3.39 – $10.89), 8 fried rice dishes ($6.96 – $9.98), 10 steamed rice dishes ($7.68 – $10.69) , 8 noodle dishes ($6.96 – $10.96), 30 teas ($3.65 – $7)

Cards: CM, V

What do the stars mean: Ratings range from 4 stars to zero. 4 star is world class (worth a drive from anywhere). 3 stars is the most excellent, if not exceptional (worth a drive from anywhere in Southern California). 2 stars it’s a good place to go for a meal (to visit if you are in the neighborhood). 1 star is a place to go if you’re hungry and it’s nearby. Zero stars is not worth writing.

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