About ten years ago, I got my first taste of food from the northern, mostly Muslim areas of China at the old Tung Lai Shun in San Gabriel Square. After hunting around, I transferred my allegiance to Dumpling Master in Monterey Park with its mastery of lamb and tasty dumplings. I never got around to trying the other northern stalwart, Chinese Islamic in Rosemead, but I figured it was finally time to give it a try.
China Islamic is really two restaurants. As a halal Chinese restaurant, it caters to a mostly South Asian Muslim crowd in search of standard Chinese-American dishes. So there is beef with broccoli, sweet and sour beef, fried won tons and other standard American dishes sans pork. But, as noted, it also serves the cuisine of the Northern Chinese plains, and this means lamb. Lamb warm pot with picked cabbage had great flavor, tangier than many, but I wish the noodles had been hand cut.
Mongolian beef, a dish that caters to both sets of patrons, was one of the best versions I've had, with plenty of scallions and a rich but not viscous gravy. Lamb chow mein, though, paled in comparison to the spot-on version at Dumpling Master, and fried beef dumplings were too doughy with a filling that was too bland.
And of course, there is the mandatory starch at Islamic Chinese restaurants, scallion bread, served in large rounds that are sent out for to-go orders in pizza boxes. I like the thick version, studded with sesame seeds and filled with scallions, which is perfect for sopping up sauce.
7727 Garvey Avenue
Rosemead, CA 91770-3003