Kam Hong Garden

Top Ten Chinese Restaurants: No. 3, May 2011

If you’re lucky, you’ll catch the knife-cut noodles being made at Kam Hong, an eight-table cube of glass near the intersection of New and Garvey avenues in Monterey Park. Beveled strips shear off as the cook, a blur of energy, runs a block of dense dough over a guillotine-sharp blade. They form a delicious tangle in the clear lamb soup, their firmness contrasting with the yielding meat, their earthiness underscoring that of the floppy mushrooms. A crackling pancake, made with a wheat dough that’s hand rolled behind the counter and wrapped around a pinch of braised pork and soft-cooked leeks, has the airiness of a great pupusa. At another restaurant this offering would be reason enough to go. Here it is outshined by courses like the Shanxi-style oat noodles. The same length as the seared pork they’re tossed with, the tiny crescents sputter over a Sterno flame in a sauce that is all underbrush and gaminess. As at every good noodle house, contented slurping provides the soundtrack.