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Food

Sam Woo: Whoo Hoo!

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LAist was unsuspectingly whisked off to the wilds of Alhambra the other day for what was promised to be some of the best Chinese food in the city, taken under wing to Sam Woo BBQ by some folks who swear by this hole-in-the wall place for chowing down on some chow mein.

Take your pick from the hundreds of dishes listed in dizzying order on the text-only menu; the only pictures you'll get here are from the prominently displayed case of barbequed meat in the entry way or the steaming plates of food landing on the tables of eager patrons. At mid-afternoon there was a mellow din of late lunchers chatting in all kinds of languages; it's easy to suspect that during peak hours when the tables are crowded with diners sharing moderate portions of savory dishes the small room reverberates with a cacaphony worthy of any Chinatown eatery. One expert at our table endorsed a series of dishes, all with a combination of words like "pork" and "rice" and "fried." Vegetarians beware: Sam Woo's BBQ is not for the faint of heart nor friend of fowl.

We decided to leave the dishes like Loofah with Slice (sic) Fish, Pigs Offals, Pork Blood with Pig Skin and anything listing Intestines as an ingredient, to the more adventurous or native palates, and settled on some Crispy Chow Mein with Shrimp and Tangerine Peel Chicken. Our expert guides picked the pork, as predicted, and some Szechuan Shrimp, but liberal bites were exchanged; sharing being the best tradition in authentic Chinese dining, and the best bang for reasonable bucks. The crispy chow mein noodles are just the kind you crave and can't find at any quick and dirty combo-plate place, and the Tangerine Peel Chicken will easily kick any Chinese chain's Orange Chicken's butt, any day. The food comes fast, the bill comes faster, and take-out boxes come home with you. But leave your check-card in your wallet; Sam Woo is a cash-only joint. LAist knows there generally isn't much to say about Alhambra, but no one's going to hear a word you're saying when you've got a mouthful of Sam Woo's food.

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Besides, it's Chinese New Year! Ring in the Year of the Rooster right with some authentic Chinese eats.

Sam Woo's BBQ, 514 West Valley Boulevard, Alhambra (626) 281-0038