I’m actually drafting this post as I plan my day trip to Los Angeles with my best friend. It all started with a request from V to go to Aji Ichiban for some asian snacks. The plan is a day trip to Los Angeles to Monterey Park, Beverley Grove, and then Little Tokyo.
This is part 1 of 3 from my trip to Los Angeles dat trip with my best friend V. We started the day in Monterey Park for breakfast, snacks, dessert.
Breakfast at Har Lam Kee Restaurant
We started the day with breakfast/brunch at Har Lam Kee Restaurant. My mom read about Har Lam Kee Restaurant in the local Chinese newspaper and we’ve been coming back to Har Lam Kee Restaurant whenever we are in LA early enough for breakfast. Although we didn’t get to Har Lam Kee Restaurant until 11:30am we still decided to order a few breakfast items: salted pork and century egg rice porridge (congee), rice sheet rolls, and milk tea.
Rice porridge is basically rice cooked with a lot of water until the rice is soft (and almost all broken). From there, the rice porridge comes in various flavors and one of my favorite go to flavors would be the salted pork and century egg or in Chinese it is literally translated as century egg skinny meat porridge. I guess it makes me feel less guilty since it has the work skinny in it. haha. I thought it was flavored just right, I didn’t need to add salt nor did I think it was too salty (but I guess that’s always a personal preference.
The rice sheet rolls are kind of my fun favorite. They’re similar to the rice roll dishes you may get at a dim sum restaurant but this is the street food version. The rice sheets are thicker giving it a slightly chewier texture. Like its dim sum version, you can choose from different fillings ranging from plain to dried shrimp to bbq pork. I got greedy and ordered a plain rice sheet roll and a dried shimp rice sheet roll. The dried shrimp rice sheet roll was very similar to the plain just with a subtle dried shrimp and scallion flavor. The rice sheet rolls are topped with a sweet savory hoisin sauce and sesame sauce mixed together. It was too much food for the two of us knowing that we were going to continue eating throughout the day. Or we just needed one more person to help us finish this food, but then again I might ordered even more food for one more person.
And to top it all off, I ordered a hot milk tea. This is a good Hong Kong style milk tea different from the boba milk tea we usually get. It’s basically a good strong English tea with condensed milk. I actually prefer it when the condensed milk is already mixed into my drink to make me feel a little less guilty about added all of that condensed milk, but at Har Lam Kee I had to add it in myself. I wanted to make sure I had my caffeine to start the day, plus I just really like Hong Kong milk tea.
One final comment for my last visit at Har Lam Kee was the fact they have actually remodeled the restaurant. They got rid of all of the cute traditional furnishings. They used to have these cute tables with little benches, they may not have been very comfortable chairs but it gave the place some character. After the remodel, it is much brighter with the regular run of mill tables and chairs that can be seen at any other restaurant nearby. I’m glad the food is still the same, but I’m sad to see the old decor mostly gone.
After filling our stomachs with a good breakfast, we drove down the street to Atlantic Time Square to do a little bit of shopping.
Har Lam Kee Restaurant
168B E Garvey Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91755
Har Lam Kee on Yelp
Aji Ichiban 優之良品 at Atlantic Time Square
Aji Ichiban is a Hong Kong based candy/asian snack store; though the term “Aji Ichiban” means “the best and superior” in Japanese. It’s a little store with clear boxes lined along the walls with everything from jerky to preserved fruit to candy all sold by the pound. It’s fun to sample everything before buying and making your own mixed bag. Of course they also have pre packaged bags for you. I think it’s fun to mix and match, but that sure can get dangerous. The employees are really nice and are always ready to help and answer any questions you may have (and of course make sure you’re not mixing different priced items in the same bag).
We really are just kids in a candy store! We picked up some chocolate covered sunflower seeds and chocolate covered gummy bears.
The preserved plum is an acquired taste. Aji Ichiban has several different preserved plums for you to choose from ranging from pitted to unpitted to extra salty to flavored preserved plums. We took our time to taste them before filling our bags. It could get a little confusing after trying all of the flavors since the samples are lined up along the wall and not right next to the actual item.
The preserved plums are for V and my sister. I personally really like the flavored ginger. I think that’s even more of an acquired taste. The ginger is not really spicy at all and is actually kind of sweet. I got of mix of the lemon juice ginger and the plum ginger. And last, I picked up a nice big bag of pork jerky.
We walked around the Atlantic Time Square and did a little bit of shopping at some of the cute stores (accessories and asian cosmetics) in the mall before walking a couple blocks to Macchiato for dessert.
Aji Ichiban (Monterey Park)
500 N Atlantic Blvd (Ste 160)
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Aji Ichiban (Monterey Park) on Yelp
Our first dessert of the day! Macchiato is just down the street from Atlantic Time Square in the same plaza as the famous Half and Half boba shop. Instead of waiting in the long line for Half and Half’s bowl of boba drinks (definitely worth a try if you haven’t tried before) we went to Macchiato. I found this place after doing a google search for “cute desserts San Gabriel Valley ” and found a list of the “10 Cutest Foods in San Gabriel Valley” by the LAist.
I have plans to try out the other 10 cutest foods in San Gabriel Valley, and Macchiato just happened to be right down the street so I decided to give it a try. According to the LAist, you can get customized coffee art. But of course, we didn’t get anything with their cute coffee or dessert art (that’ll have to be for next time).
Macchiato looks like it may have expanded from a small corner location to taking over the store front right next to them. They have cute decor in the extended room (I didn’t really pay attention to the main store/to go area. They were already pretty packed inside, and we sat at a bar table along the front window (perfect for people watching).
We ordered a Macchiato Sunrise simply because it was a special drink listed under the flavored tea section and because it looked pretty in pictures on yelp. Our drink was served in a mason jar, garnished with a a few pieces of apples and not as pretty as the Macchiato Sunrise we saw on yelp. It tasted like the mixed fruit tea I usually get at Tea Station which is pretty much a green tea with a bunch of fruit (the fruit flavors are very light). Overall, a good refreshing drink.
Their waffles can be ordered as crispy or mochi. Thank you to Vi for letting me order the mochi (she would have prefered the crispy), we got some yummy chewy waffles. I had to make sure that they were not waffles with actual mochi pieces inside the waffle because Vi got something like that before and didn’t like that.
We ended up with the sundae waffle mainly because it sounded fancy on the menu. The waffle (one waffle cut into four pieces) really only take up a third of the plate and the rest of the plate was filled with everything else for our waffle. One scoop of chocolate ice cream, one scoop of vanilla ice cream, one scoop strawberry ice cream, a couple sprits of whipped cream, strawberries, blue berries (that look like boba at first glance), canned peaches, banana slices, and topped with chocolate syrup.
It was definitely too much dessert for us, and yes, my eyes are bigger then my stomach and ordered too much. I should have just ordered a regular waffle with a single topping. But oh well, it was yummy!
They are also famous for their potted iced milk drinks. Your drink is basically served topped with “dirt” and a sprout making it look like a potted plant. I think it’s a fun drink to try! If that’s not your thing, you can get a coffee drink with some customized coffee art on top.
Before leaving we decided to order one more drink for the road. Honey lemon green tea is a usual go to for us and it was definitely another good refreshing drink. One thing to note though, we ordered the second drink to go and then paid. We ended up waiting for a while before deciding to go up to the counter to ask (there was only one server and he was super busy). The girl told us that we had to wait a while then asked if our server told us that we had to wait. That upset me and I told her that I wish I was told that because I would not have ordered the drink to go. I knew she was very busy trying to make all of the drinks but she kind of rudely told me that she would make my drink for me right now and then went ahead to ask for the waiter that took our drink order and questioned him if he told us that we would have to wait a little longer (I don’t remember how much time she told us). I feel sorry for the server since it was so busy. We had a good time people watching and over eating, but the end of the experience upset me. I didn’t really mind having to wait but I didn’t like that I might have gotten the server in trouble.
141 N Atlantic Blvd Ste 110
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Next we are heading to Beverley Grove area. Being in Los Angeles, it was a 45 minute drive through the infamous LA traffic.