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Iconic Neighborhood Restaurants: Rowland Heights

 

Rowland Heights is an unincorporated town in the far east corridor of Los Angeles County. The main strip -- Colima Road -- is heavily populated with Asian eateries. Originally a pig-farm-turned-orange-grove, it's now a suburban town with an eclectic dining scene of Chinese, Taiwanese, and Korean restaurants. Rowland Heights has also become somewhat of a hot spot for new restaurant openings, quite possibly due to lenient building codes and regulations in the unincorporated city.

Yet turnover rate for restaurants is extremely high and it's considered quite a feat if an eatery can withstand the test of time. Here are five places that do:

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Class 302: Class 302 is a Taiwanese diner, serving out pork chop over rice and cuts of sweet Taiwanese-style sausages. It was also the first place to do shaved snow in Los Angeles -- which drew and still draws long lines and crowds from all over. The green tea shaved snow, pleasantly earthy, is topped with a heaping of fruit and a thick chocolate drizzle. Other variations include mango and chocolate, but nothing quite beats the original. Made with sweet milk, it's seasoned with generous red beans and mochi-like rice cakes. 1015 Nogales St #125, Rowland Heights, CA 91748; (626) 965-5809.

 

Yellow curry at Banana Bay | Photo by Clarissa Wei
Yellow curry at Banana Bay | Photo by Clarissa Wei

Banana Bay: Any Rowland Heights native will tell you: Banana Bay is where all cool kids used to hang out. The Thai eatery has a live band during the evenings and is mostly sought out for its spacious interior and at this point, its nostalgic factor. Food is decidedly Thai and though the menu is a bit tame -- they do great pad thai, satay, and Crying Tiger, which is essentially a seared steak. Wash it all down with bright and fresh juice from a real coconut. 18230 Colima Rd, Rowland Heights, CA 91748; (626) 839-5511.

 

Chicken platter at Silk Road Garden | Photo by Clarissa Wei
Chicken platter at Silk Road Garden | Photo by Clarissa Wei

Silk Road Garden": Silk Road Garden is newer than all the other eateries on this list, but decidedly iconic because of its distinctive food. It's an homage to Uyghur cuisine and the portion sizes are titanic here. A single meat pie, served with a braided crust and stuffed with marinated ground beef, will easily amount to one full meal. The notably long laghman noodles is the signature dish, served with lamb, tomatoes, wood ear mushrooms, and bell peppers. Finish off with their Xinjiang yogurt, topped with sesame seeds and raisins. The yogurt is made in-house and is akin to Greek yogurt or kefir. It's tangy and thick, and Silk Road likes to drizzle on a bit of honey to sweeten it. 18920 E. Gale Ave., Rowland Heights, CA; 626-999-6165.

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Shau Mei Taiwanese Deli: This Taiwanese deli dates back to 1997 and has been consistently slinging out reliable plates of Formosan specials like oyster pancakes and beef noodle soup. It's simply comfort food, done quickly and efficiently. It's also one of the few places in town left where you can get a full meal for under $10. Food is served bento-style and cash only. 18438 E Colima Rd Rowland Heights, CA 91748; (626) 964-1833.

 

Hong Kong Palace | Photo by Clarissa Wei
Hong Kong Palace | Photo by Clarissa Wei

Hong Kong Palace: Hong Kong Palace was one of the earliest Chinese restaurants in town. They opened in 1990 and to this day, have stood their ground as a dim sum by day, banquet hall by night, establishment. Note that it's one of the few place in Los Angeles that still serves out dim sum by the carts. And at one point, in its prime, it used to be one of the best dim sum restaurants in town. Even though its been overshadowed by newer and more innovative places, a lot of people still come here for its familiar vibe. Plus, the food has proven itself to be quite reliable. 19101 Colima Rd, Rowland Heights, CA 91748; (626) 854-9829.

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