8 Ways to Immerse Yourself in Chinese Culture in the San Gabriel Valley

Dim sum, Chinese gardens, massages, and more

Dine L.A. director Stacey Sun knows a thing or two about good food in Los Angeles (obviously).  Here is her guide to your next foray into the county’s thriving Chinese neighborhoods.

All of the articles and photos from our special Immigration Issue are available in the October 2016 issue, on newsstands now.

Rose Bowl Flea Market


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“From 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., it’s $20 admission—that’s the key time to go. I’m a junkie for midcentury items—everyone wants to find that Eames chair at the best price, right? You need your fanny pack, your roller cart, and a Camel-Bak. That’s how you do it.” » 1001 Rose Bowl Dr., Pasadena

RELATED: Big Stories in Little China

China Red


“It’s my favorite dim sum spot in L.A. right now. They make pan-fried sheng jian bao that is crispy on the bottom and juicy on the inside. They also do this purple bao filled with bright yellow custard, which feels very Lakers.” » 855 Baldwin Ave., Arcadia

Chinese Garden at the Huntington


“It’s a no-brainer. Growing up, we took the Huntington for granted because it’s in our backyard, but as adults, we’re so lucky to have a place like the Chinese garden. It’s a nod to how the area’s population has shifted in the past 15 years.” » 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino

Chuan Spa at the Langham Huntington, Pasadena


“The Langham relaunched its spa program, which is based on traditional Chinese massage techniques. It’s very Eastern focused—they’re all about helping you stay balanced.” » 1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena

Kee Wah Bakery


“I’m always hungry after a massage. I grew up going to Kee Wah Bakery; they’re known for their bo lo bao, or pineapple buns, which are a very Hong Kong thing. There are no pineapples in them, but there is a yellow crumbly sugar crust on top that is scored in a way that mimics a pineapple.” » Various Locations

Hsi Lai Temple


“It’s a Buddhist temple, but they’re open to the public because they have a vegetarian buffet that’s only $8 a person. You can get some culture in by visiting the temple and then having a vegetarian meal. You can also get married there for free—my friend did it years ago.” » 3456 Glenmark Dr, Hacienda Heights

101 Noodle Express


“Their beef roll is phenomenal. Think of it as a burrito but with a roti-style dough that’s layered with beef brisket, cilantro, green onions, and hoisin sauce. It’s the best thing. My parents told me about it—they’re my guides to the SGV.” » Various Locations

626 Night Market


“I see it as an Asian food incubator. There are so many creative vendors there. One makes curry rice, and it’s formed into the shape of a bear head and then plunked into a bowl of curry. It’s so Asian, it’s so cute, and it’s probably one of the most Instagrammed items to come out of the summer market.” » Four weekends a year at Santa Anita Park

This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of Los Angeles magazine.