I hadn’t been back to Chang’s Garden in years, before going with my grandparents a couple of weeks ago. Jonathan Gold describes the cuisine there as Hangzhou (as evidenced by their famous dongpo pork), but the restaurant’s menu covers all Eastern Chinese cuisines. You can get your fix of Shanghainese dishes like XLB or fried fish with seaweed, or even order non-Eastern Szechuan dishes if you want something spicy. But definitely stick to Eastern dishes; you wouldn’t want to waste the drive to Arcadia just to order kung pao chicken and mapo tofu at a place that doesn’t specialize in such dishes.
Since it was just me + the grandparents, we didn’t order much. No dongpo pork on this visit unfortunately, but the pork spareribs wrapped in lotus leaf more than made up for it. Each rib is wrapped individually, and is steamed so well the meat falls off the bone. Very heavy dish, with the combination of oiliness and the heft from the glutenous rice flour, but so worth it. The fried fish with seaweed was as good as any variation I’ve tried. The other two dishes we had just couldn’t hang with these two: the soup and clams. Grandparents wanted those, so no problem. But if I were to go again (and I will), I’ll get the ribs, fish, dongpo pork, and the pancake with green beans (think veggie version of beef rolls).
After all these years, still up there among the best Eastern Chinese restaurants. I’d go there over Din Tai Fung. And no, I didn’t stutter.
Chris Hei grade: B+
627 W Duarte Rd
Arcadia, CA 91007