Last Meal at Embassy Kitchen 彌敦閣 in San Gabriel, CA
Today will mark the final day of service for this very popular Cantonese restaurant, as the owner has decided to retire and not seek a new location for the restaurant after it was announced that the entire block where Embassy Kitchen sits has been sold to developers, who will convert much of the block into a multi-purpose building of apartments and storefronts (construction will break ground in September 2019).
What made this place popular over the last two decades were their “special order” dishes, which required one to order these labor-intensive dishes by at least 24 hours advanced. The most popular ones have been the Boneless Crispy Chicken Stuffed with Shrimp Paste (脆皮江南百花雞) and the Stuffed Boneless Chicken Wings (焗釀雞翼). Unfortunately, since word of the restaurant’s closing got out, one would have to order these dishes a week in advance as so many table reservations and special orders began to come in, and the restaurant needed to know how much product to purchase in order to make these advanced special orders (unfortunately for those who will be dining on this last day of service, none of the special order dishes will be available — in fact, most items on the entire menu will not be available). For us, we were only able to special order the Tilapia Rolls with Crispy Tilapia Carcass (嶺南立魚卷). Tilapia rolls were filets of tilapia stuffed with pickled vegetables (such as red ginger) and 1,000-year-old egg.
Stuffed Tilapia Rolls with Carcass 嶺南立魚卷
Another popular dish of theirs was the House Special Dungeness Crab Fried Rice (彌敦閣蟹飯). Unfortunately, they were out of crabs (and they weren’t able to get any live crabs from their live seafood purveyor). We were, however, able to get this dish made with a lobster instead (6 lbs at $23.99 per pound). Presentation of the dish was lovely, and the rice was delicious (wished the lobster had roe in it).
Another popular dish we managed to get was their Stir-Fried Vegetarian Shark’s Fin with Egg Whites (桂花銀針炒素翅), which featured vermicelli needles, egg whites, bean sprouts.
Off their Chinese Only Menus, were able to order the following:
Fatty Beef with Mixed Mushrooms in Korean (Bugolgi) Sauce 照燒鮮箘爆肥牛
Shrimp in Lotus Pond 荷塘子母蝦, made with soft tofu, asparagus, mushrooms and a layer of steamed egg underneath
We’ve also managed to order a few of the dishes listed in their Chef’s Specials section of the menu.
Pan Fried Minced Pork with Salted Fish
Stir-Fried Beef Tongue in Spicy Sauce
Steamed Assorted Vegetables with Bean Curd Skin, filled with mushrooms, snow ear fungus, bamboo, bamboo pith, ginkgo biloba
Empress Seafood Soup
Stir-Fried Shrimp with Asparagus in Spicy XO Sauce
Steamed Chicken with Ginger and Scallion (Soy Sauce)
Beef Chow Fun
Omelette with BBQ Pork and Preserved Turnip Leaves
Crusted-Custard Tofu Braised with Bamboo Fungus (Pith), over Baby Bok Choy
Stir-Fried Pea Shoot Leaves with Garlic
Seafood Chow Mein Hong Kong Style
Since they have been so busy during this last week of business, they weren’t able to offer a tasty Malaysian style hot dessert soup with tapioca, red bean, coconut.
We were last to leave the restaurant, and it just seemed so befitting to see a totally empty dining room as my last memory of Embassy Kitchen. I feel fortunate that we had a lovely meal with excellent service to remember Embassy Kitchen by.