Pasadena, being a part of the San Gabriel Valley, has a wide variety of Asian cuisine from all over the globe. In fact, the San Gabriel Valley boasts a wider variety of authentic Chinese cuisines than most metropolitan areas, also representing the “Eight Cuisines of China,” as well as many lesser-known regional styles. It is often said that the San Gabriel Valley, Pasadena included, has the best Chinese food of any area (outside of China itself.) So if you’re looking for a place to get Thai, Japanese, Korean, and especially Chinese, this Asian Food Guide to Pasadena is for you.
Pasadena has quite a few Thai staples, many in the downtown area. For vegetarians, My Vegan is a great place to satisfy a Thai craving without having to compromise on ingredients or flavors. For those in the heart of downtown, Tiffany’s, located across from the Paseo, is a popular lunch spot for dining in or getting take out. A little further down on Fair Oaks Avenue, sits Saladang Thai, a two-part sister restaurant that includes Saladang Thai and Saladang Gardens. And right in Old Pasadena, you can find Pearl Thai Eatery, which also does Grubhub deliveries for when you want Thai in the comfort of your own home.
The smell of Vietnamese food is enough to send a stomach rumbling and the Playhouse District’s Ginger & Spice, with it’s huge, steaming bowls of pho and perfectly wrapped summer rolls is no exception. For those in the Old Pasadena area, do not worry. There’s plenty of places to get you “noods” including the family-owned Saigon Noodle Restaurant, where you can start with a variety of egg and spring rolls before filling up with the main course of stir fried noodles, pho, or rice combo plates. And if you’re just looking for spring rolls, try Paper Rice and their spring rolls and spring bowls with a twist in One Colorado (coming Fall 2019.)
Walking into Bone Kettle, a unique Indonesian restaurant, will remind you of the villa huts spread across Asia. Start with an appetizer like oxtail dumplings and some Asian fusion teasers before ordering your main course. The restaurant is famous for its bone broth that is boiled for 36 hours before being served. Filled with flavor, the broth is the perfect base for soupy noodles and bone marrow.
Japanese food, like the city of Pasadena, is diverse and comes in many shapes, sizes, and flavors. But one thing’s for sure, no matter what type of Japanese food you prefer, it’s all delicious. For those looking for a place to get shabu shabu Osawa is the place to be, while its subset restaurant, Delicatessen by Osawa, is the ideal place for Japanese bento boxes and a quicker sit-down meal. Of course, ramen is a token of Japanese cuisine, and you can get it at Ramen Tatsunoya or Again Café & Chibiscus Ramen. Searching for something heavy and savory? Gyu-Kaku serves mouthwatering Japanese BBQ for meat lovers to indulge in. And for the most popular of Japanese foods – sushi and poke bowls – the list goes on and on with places like Mama M Sushi & Rolls, Sushi Ichi, Poke Salad Bar, Roll Factory by Stray Cat, Sushi Enya, Sushi Kimagure, and Sushi Roku.
China, being 3.7 square miles, is a land of many subcultures and over time, each district has developed its own style of cooking. In Pasadena, you can get a taste of them all. For Mongolian hot pot and warm broths, Little Sheep Hot Pot and Chong Qing Yao Mei Hot Pot are two great places to create your own flavors. (You can even split the pot into multiple sections. Every ingredient you add to your hot pot soup only adds to the flavor, making it tastier and tastier as you continue to eat. For steamed dumplings and shumai, Cantonese dim sum locations like Lunasia are our recommended picks. And for the more traditional pot stickers, noodles, or fried rice dishes, check out Dan Modern Chinese or ShanDong Dumplings.
Bonus – check out our boba guide for a list of delicious spots to get the Taiwanese drink, perfect for dessert.
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