Road Trip! Foodie Walking Tour of Cantonese San Gabriel Valley

hot dog bunThree and a half hours, more eating than walking, we were rapt students during our culinary tour of LA’s “new Chinatown.” The San Gabriel Valley Food Tour by Six Taste Tours was Larry’s idea (again, he luvs this stuff). Adventure pals Cathi and Barry (the ones who zipped around Long Beach on Segways with us), were on board.  

Dim Sum

If you have a passion for Asian eats, as do we, bookmark Six Tastes. They walk you through the cuisine and cultural life of various ethnic neighborhoods. The fact that this is the brainchild of two recent USC grads – Alex Tao and Jeff Okita — was an especially happy discovery of Trojan Larry (he’s been teaching at USC for 35 years).

hanging pekin duck

Six Taste offers 6 different tours around LA. This one, SGV New Chinatown, was our first experience with them; Larry’s already booked us again for the Financial District tour. (Other walking food tours are in my Travel and Road Trips category.)

San Gabriel, not touristy, is definitely crowded. All locals, authentic Cantonese. Guide, Judy, born in Taiwan, skillfully wrangled five hungry couples, kept our attention before we could bolt into each dish of interesting eats, provided intriguing insights into culture and ingredients, and got us to the next place before the outside world filled all the seats. “There are no Chinese people left in downtown Chinatown,” sez Judy. “They all moved east.” Hmmm, I hadn’t noticed, but now I will.


Tea – “We drink it with every meal. It helps digestion and washes off the oil. Chinese people cook with a lot of oil,” Judy reported. Pretty good tasting oil, I think.

When you take this tour, resist the urge to eat ALL you want (you’re encouraged to take leftovers home). But don’t be a weenie, try everything – it’s part of the adventure. We ate chicken feet. We ate duck skin. I’m just sayin’.

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Strip malls, called Plazas, are where the real food is. Starting with dim sum at New Capital Seafood, by the time our group left at 10:15 AM, the 500-seat (guess-timate) place was totally full and we squeezed out past dozens more patrons waiting in the lobby. San Woo Barbecue educated us on Pekin duck. At Kee Wah Bakery we learned about Cantonese baked goods (and fun “hot dog bun” in my top photo). Recently featured in the LA Times, Happy Kitchen enlightened us on the difference between northern and southern dishes. Tea Infused Chicken, their signature dish, was the freshest poultry you’ll ever eat in LA (live poultry store is a few blocks away). We topped our eat-athon with mango and sticky rice dessert at Tasty. There, we learned about (glad we didn’t EAT) specialties and ancient ingredients which I’ll allow YOU to hear about in person. Would hate to ruin that surprise.

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  • Six Taste Food Tours — “Eat Your Way Through LA”
  • 888-313-0936
  • Tote bag included, always nice for those leftovers
  • Other tours: Santa Monica, Thai Town, Financial District, Little Tokyo, Arcadia
  • Price: $55 – join their email list and watch for discounts.
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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 zoesmom July 9, 2010 at 1:54 pm

What a FUN idea. I love Asian cuisine and would really love to learn more about the culture of it all. thanks for this post.

2 Mac July 8, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Wow! This is CRAZY – good! Thanks for sharing. Looks and sounds FUN! Something to keep in mind when we’re hosting out of town guests. Thanks for sharing.

3 My Man's Belly July 8, 2010 at 11:16 am

This tour reminds me of my trip to Beijing. I’ve never been to the Valley for Chinese food, only downtown. Me thinks this is a trip I’m going to be signing up for very soon. Thanks for sharing this!

4 Worth The Whisk July 8, 2010 at 10:50 am

Alisa, the chicken feet were IMPORTANT to try. They looked like feet. They moved like feet. They tasted… like chicken!

5 Alisa July 8, 2010 at 10:46 am

Yum, I love food tours! I have never tried eating chicken feet, it just seems all skin and bones, but I do know some who really like it. What I do love is that hotdog bun!

6 Worth The Whisk July 8, 2010 at 8:32 am

Lynne, yup you just add mustard and eat. Gotta luv those hot dogs.

7 Lynne@CookandBeMerry July 7, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Your posts are always so interesting. I want to buy one of those hanging ducks that look so incredibly delicious. Can you explain the “hot dog bun” ~ do you just put mustard on the top and eat it?

8 Worth The Whisk July 7, 2010 at 1:38 pm

E – Me bad. You are invited to the next one, most definitely!

9 Erika - In Erika's Kitchen July 7, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Excuse me, but how is it I was not invited on this tour? (she says, pouting)

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