Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Style Chinese Village Cuisine Found @ Bon Mar Che Bistro (Monterey Park)


Chinese cuisine have always fascinated me. It's not always what you expected nor does it follow a simple step by step formula that gets you there. There are just so many regions with so many different cooking styles and techniques, you will always get a different taste on the same particular item.

Maybe I was lost when someone mentioned to me that a Chinese New Territory Village cuisine that is Hakka influenced would be something worth trying. Trust me, I didn't know there was such a thing called New Territory Village cuisine or a province of China that included a language of Hakka. I learned something new everyday.

Bon Mar Che looked like it had just taken over a sushi bar. The counter bar next to the open kitchen had a display case that could be perfect to show off fishes made for sushi. There are some other subtle look that this place had retains the look of a regular divey, no-frill noodle bar. However, don't let the lack of decor fooled you about this place.

One big specialty that have some people going ga-ga over for was this dish aptly named Poon Choi. Due to a quick history lesson, I found out that poon choi originated from the idea that all of the best ingredients would be serve together in a bowl. Instead of stirring it up, you will get eat it layer by layer through the bowl.

Let me give you an example on how that works. The other night I came in with several dining companions who got me excited about the Poon Choi that was served it here. It can be mixtures of chicken, pork, beef, and seafood items in a wooden exterior metal bowl. Usually, it is served in a metal bowl because the food would be still served hot when it arrives.

We had ordered a Toasted duck with shrimp mixed with vegetable. Noticed on how it stacked layer by layer. By using chopsticks, you would be starting from the top and go all the way to the bottom. It would be unnecessary to stir it up as you will be still enjoying every piece that was intended to taste. No need for mixture and you still get the best of everything.


Toasted Duck and Shrimp mix with Vegetables

Often times, Poon Choi was called the Bowl of Feast because of the bowl that serves many types of different meats that is thrown into the bowl for your fulfillment.

However, we did have a dish that needed some stirring. An interesting dish that came in a clay pot that has sliced beef steak served with an egg and rice. The egg yolk obviously will need to be broken when it get mixed with the beef and rice. After stirring it up, you probably will want some soy sauce to go along with that. It was something interestingly that was needed in this dish was some sort of sauce to accompany that.


Beef Steak with Egg served with rice in a clay pot

The standard conformity of the night was a steamed sea bass served with preserved vegetables on a plate. This dish probably would have worked out a little better if they had given out more portion of the fish, but otherwise very delicious.


Steamed Sea Bass with preserved Vegetables

Overall, I enjoyed my meal here and have learned something new about this type of cuisine. I actually want to try out other Poon Choi on the menu. I saw a few Chicken and other types of seafood that comes in a bowl on the other diner's tables. It does give me some inspiration to come back here to try out more dishes.

This place does have potentials and so many possibilities, I hope the restaurant on the westside of Garvey Ave (home to many restaurant closures) would remain strong. The place is a little bit hard to find because it is buried in a hidden corner of the plaza, so get your GPS ready to find the place. Definitely worth the scavenger hunt to find the place.

Bon Mar Che Bistro
331 W Garvey Ave Ste #D
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 236-3932

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Bon Mar Che Bistro on Urbanspoon

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