Along with congee and salty fried Chinese doughnut, a steaming bowl of warm soy milk and rice sticks (粢飯 – chee fan) are the next things that come to mind when I think of a traditional Chinese breakfast. Yes, there’s also dim sum, but unless you’re a retired elderly with lots of time everyday, dim sum is usually reserved for weekend fare with your extended family and friends. My parents and I set out for Huge Tree Pastry in Monterey Park for a late breakfast, a location they let me pick since I had so successfully picked a delicious Chinese pie house last time. The restaurant is a throwback to the 90’s, with mirror panels against one wall and a wooden ceiling fan humming above for ventilation (although that didn’t prevent us from smelling like the kitchen after we went out). We ordered a cup of cold soy milk, rice sticks, radish pastry, beef roll, steamed pork dumplings (shao lung bao), oyster omelette, and beef noodle soup.
The rice sticks were delicious, a perfect blend of sticky glutinous rice, crunchy yau cha guai (or salty Chinese doughnut), salty pork sung, and sweet and sour pickled vegetables. The most surprising element for me was the crisp of the yau cha guai inside, since the dough itself can easily become soggy due to the moisture from the warm rice.
I adored the smooth soy milk, which came in a huge Styrofoam cup that could easily feed four people. The drink wasn’t overly sweet, but was very fragrant with a hint of rice flavor.
Both the beef roll and radish pastry were extremely flaky. The sesame seeds added an aromatic crunch, but I found it too dry for my tastes. Neither the radish nor beef and pickled vegetables contents were too salty, but they were not spectacular.
The beef noodle soup was fairly bland. A lot of scallions and bean sprouts were added for texture, but the noodles were not as springy as I liked and the soup fell flat.
Although the shao lung bao didn’t have a lot of soup inside, they were very meaty and flavorful. The wrap outside was also very thin. My only complaint was that I found a piece of aluminum foil inside one of my dumplings.
The omelette was possibly the most disappointing dish we ordered that day. The texture resembled more of a rubbery flour mixture than egg, and the thick starchy sauce layered on top reminded me of American Chinese sweet and sour sauce. There were also a lot of bean sprouts inside the dish to my surprise, and not nearly enough oysters.
To be honest, Huge Tree Pastry fell flat of my expectations. Sometimes Yelp can be a bit skewed as to what is considered good food, and I suppose I should conduct more careful research next time. Do however, come for the soy milk and the rice sticks. They’re a perfect pick-me-up for a Monday morning before work or a snack in between.
Huge Tree Pastry
423 N Atlantic Boulevard Ste 105-106
Monterey Park, CA 91754