Monterey Park, as I found out, is synonymous with outstanding Chinese food. I was given the option to single out an ethnic cuisine from the babelous litany of choices afforded by the city—Thai, Indian, Ethiopian, Chinese… After narrowing it down to Thai and Chinese, I erred on the side of excitement, going with Chinese since I had finally come down off my Thai kick. Early in the afternoon, roving east with the purposes of trying hand cut noodles, we (a clique of serious eaters) were looking forward to an authentic Lunch at Kam Hong Garden while testing our pairing prowess with Alsace Riesling.

The freeway traffic was light as we made it across town. We were all fairly hungry, making sure to eat light before heading off, our group having adopted the chef’s credo on dining out: Test the kitchen and order everything! Kam Hong Garden was also cash only, so, on top of ordering everything it was a good idea to bankroll our stomachs with the necessary form of tender, a la an ATM. Once inside the benign and inexpensive restaurant, we took our seats and studied the menus. Since we were there for the noodles, it did not take us long to sort out the entrées and choose the dishes. While ordering, we were told a couple of times that we had substantial amount of food, but we ignored our servers’ concerns and continued piling on the items to her chagrin (but not in spite!).

We had put in for three soups and three other dishes, covering our bases by ordering diversely, spicy seafood with pulled noodles, hot and sour with pulled noodles, house specialty with knife cut noodles, dumplings and two additional noodle plates with pork and beef.

The menu items trickled in and before us stood three mammoth soup bowls, each enough to warrant their own ample meals. By the time all the courses made the table we garnered some stares from the stoic occupants of the restaurant and curious eyes of the chef darting over the partition in the front of the eatery. We shoveled and divvied up portions, making concise motions and trying to be deft with the chopsticks as we fetched endless noodles from their voluminous containers. Once we plated our foods we gorged ourselves, sensibly. It was at this time that we began the pairing of the 2007 Beck-Hartweg Alsace Grand Cru Riesling Frankstein (#172). The wine was surprisingly full; the alcohol boosted the body of the Riesling, which made it a more harmonious pair with the savory plates of noodles. The wine faired well with nearly all the dishes but shined brightest with a couple of the soups. Its intense acidity was balanced and the prominent flavor of fresh squeezed lime juice squeegeed the salinity and played clean-up duty on our tongues.

The dumplings were fantastic and their accompanying black vinegar dipping sauce was delectable. The hot and sour soup was gelatinous, its texture was unlike any soup—Chinese or not—that I have had the pleasure of tasting. Just about every dish hit my fancy and that went for my compatriots as well. We had picked a range of foods that presented different textures, spices and levels of flavors to hit the umami factor. We were pleased with the treasure trove of items and the bantam prices that accompanied the food. We were loaded with portions that could comfortably feed six people for a just shy of forty dollars. No doubt this was an economic hotspot.

Almost wholly satisfied, we were looking to continue our fortune by stopping off at a couple local Chinese bakeries, down the street, to appease our sweet tooth.  We ate our savory desserts on the road as we headed west on the 10 Freeway. It was an affordable outing that was more than rewarding; Kam Hong Garden refreshed my view of Chinese food and the bounty of grub paired beautifully with the Riesling. Monterey Park was not a destination for me prior to eating here, but after tasting just one of a multitude of restaurants I cannot wait to go back and try many more eateries off Garfield Avenue when I am craving Chinese fare.