May 2013

Southern Mini Town – San Gabriel

Southern Mini Town - San Gabriel

Guess who’s going on holiday to Shanghai this fall? Yep! The Astronomer and I recently booked our flights, which reminded me of this most excellent Shanghainese dinner that we shared with Diep a few months back. Located in the same busy San Gabriel strip mall as Golden Deli and Ton Chan Ramen, Southern Mini Town came highly recommended to me by my friend Tsz.

Seemingly less splashy than its northern, western, and southern Chinese counterparts, Shanghai cuisine satisfies with subtlety and finesse rather than a double punch of sodium and spice. Sometimes, it’s just what I crave.

Southern Mini Town - San Gabriel

A ‘lil dish of salty peanuts covered in seaweed, as well as hot tea, arrived with the menus. A classic Shanghainese start.

Southern Mini Town - San Gabriel

Next on the scene was a platter of fresh-from-the-fryer “Fried Seaweed Yellow Fish.” The fish, coated in an airy, tempura-like batter flecked with green algae, were crisp-tender and completely addictive sprinkled with a bit of coarse salt. These are the kind of fish sticks that I can really get behind.

Southern Mini Town - San Gabriel

The “Sautéed Finless Eel,” a mountain of baby eels coated in a thick and shiny brown sauce, hit the table soon after. This dish wasn’t the easiest on the eyes, but we’re not the squeamish types, so we spooned the baby eels onto steamed white rice and dug right in.

I liked how the seasonings here were well-balanced enough that the squirmy suckers could be eaten straight up if we so desired.

Southern Mini Town - San Gabriel

Shanghai-style rice cakes are a passion of mine, and this soy sauce-less rendition with pork and preserved vegetables was excellent.

Southern Mini Town - San Gabriel

An order of xiao long bao (soup dumplings) is essential at every Shanghainese feast. The ones served here are steamed to order with pliable skins and scalding innards. These weren’t the best soup dumplings ever, but we didn’t really mind.

Southern Mini Town - San Gabriel

For dessert, we took the fragrant and floral “Osman Sesame Rice Ball with Wine Soup” for a spin. The little tapioca balls filled with black sesame paste melted in our mouths. I could’ve eaten the entire warm and boozy bowlful solo. Mmm, osthmanthus blossoms.

The eats in Shanghai better be as tasty as their San Gabriel counterparts. Full report to come.

Southern Mini Town
833 West Las Tunas Drive
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Phone: 626-289-6578

There’s more to eat in San Gabriel on Gastronomy:

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One thought on “Southern Mini Town – San Gabriel

  1. Now you’re making me hungry. Of course, it could be that I just finish my exercise and haven’t had breakfast or coffee.

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