Written by I Teng Song Photography by Tiffany Ng and Rebekah Kamemoto
Everyone I know has a specific Hong Kong café that they like in the San Gabriel area. U2 Cafe is a hole in the wall place that often goes unnoticed. Its popularity comes from its local regulars. When I came to LA a few years ago, I couldn't find a restaurant that felt like home until my friend from Hong Kong recommended this cafe. After a long drive through Glendale and Pasadena, I finally arrived at the U2 café, which has been serving Hong Kong food lovers for over 20 years.
Spicy styled pork chop
Pork belly with vegetables
Beef and egg flower
After meeting up with my photographers, Tiffany and Beka, we got seated at a table. The interior of the restaurant has a very traditional Hong Kong themed style. There are different photographs of Hong Kong which made me feel at home. People were giggling, chatting and sharing stories over food. A lovely lady got us some iced water and menus as she kindly smiled at us. We ordered pork belly with preserved vegetable (because it is a signature dish), spicy pork chop (because it sounded great), pan fried string beans (because vegetables are important), beef and egg flower for protein and rice, of course. Also, we got hot milk tea and iced lemon tea for drinks.
When the food came, the smell was flavorful and each dish was so colorful. The pork belly was very tender and melted in your mouth, the vegetables balanced the greasiness of the pork belly. Beef and egg flower is a normal dish in my country. When I mixed it with rice, it reminded me one of my grandmother’s cooking. She cooked a lot of different styles of food because she knew that her food always brought us much joy and happiness. U2's pan fried string beans were a bit oily for my taste and I would not recommend them, however, their spicy styled pork chop was very crispy and juicy, which made me keep eating more and more of it.
The most impressive part of the meal were the drinks, the taste of hot milk tea and the iced lemon tea were exactly the same as back home in Hong Kong. U2 cafe doesn't only remind me of home, but it also reminds me of the nostalgic times that I have spent with my family.
I am glad that my friend recommended U2 café to me. It is the best Hong Kong style restaurant I have ever been in in the United States. Not only because of the delicious food, but also because of its warm and friendly atmosphere.
Rating: Price: $ (inexpensive) Sound: Moderate Recommended Dishes: Barbecue pork with scrambled egg, spicy pork chop, pork belly with preserved vegetables, milk tea and lemon tea.
U2 BBQ Cafe 1200 E. Valley Blvd., Alhambra, CA 91801