New taiwanese joint: Tamsui River in La Verne

I was so psyched about this new Taiwanese restaurant opening so close to home, literally within 3 minutes walk from where I live…I’ve been curiously peeking in the space while walking my dog for the past 6 months or so. They did a complete build out in a new-ish mixed use apartment complex that opened not too long ago.

Tried take-out tonight. Will have pics if I go again, but very unimpressive

We ordered three things, and they got one dish of our order wrong which understandable for a new restaurant but on to the food…

-Seafood tofu hot pot: They call this a hotpot? It was just sauteed clams, squid, shrimp, scallions and tofu. No soupy-ness to speak of. A bit oily and lacking salt, any discernable flavor other than soy sauce.

-Haka style stir fry pork: Cured pork belly stir fried with squid, chinese celery, and seasoned tofu. The tofu was dry and chewy, the pork belly was underwhelming: I have better cured pork hock in my freezer right now! Needed more MSG.

-Kung pao style taiwanese cabbage: very garlicky, okay.

-Braised pork and dried bamboo: I thought this was going to be the savory dried bamboo South China style but instead it was the gnarly stinky bamboo from Taiwan. Duh, taiwanese joint; my mistake for assuming but cot damn the pork belly was awful. Chewy and fat was still chewy and gristly, inedible.

I really have high hopes for this place; I hope this is just new restaurant mistakes but they better get their act together! This immediate area of La Verne, Claremont and North Pomona has a serious dearth of authentic Chinese restaurants. If only…

I plan to try some of the more mainstream dishes in the coming weeks, hope its better by then!

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How does one even offer a “hot pot” as take out? Or am I missing something? :frowning:

Thanks for taking one for the team…

Spicy Charm in San Gabriel does a hotpot takeout. Probably facilitated by their regular format, where you don’t cook at your table. Rather you go to the refrigerator, pick your ingredients and pay by weight. They then take your raw food into the kitchen and cook up the hotpot there, bringing the finished product to your table.

It’s not really a hot pot, I think in the restaurant they would serve it in a stone pot.

I don’t know if that’s hilarious or kinda weird. Maybe a bit of both. Western Pocha, now closed, in koreatown used to do take-out drinks like yogurt soju. They were lax about alcohol and alcohol serving hours, probably why they’re closed now.

This is like the new Red Cape in Koreatown on 6th/Kenmore.

now there’s a phrase you don’t expect to read in a restaurant review.

The way MSG is perceived is different depending on where you look. Here is an article with some data re: usage and perceptions of MSG in the U.S. versus other countries.


And also depends what you mean by MSG (naturally occurring, or something not naturally occurring).

yes, glutamates can also be developed through the ‘natural’ process of aging, etc. david chang uses that to bolster his argument that there’s nothing wrong artificially enhancing the glutamate concentration. i tend to agree with his argument. but i expect that you won’t find too many restaurants reviews suggesting that chinese food should have had more MSG added to it.

Not U.S.-based ones, at least…

to all the taiwanese that have never visited the US but were still drawn by the heading to read this thread because you have family living in la verne, the gweilo here associate chinese food with an excess of MSG. so it’s funny to see a review suggesting that more MSG should be added to the food.

for any other threads you read where someone posts something that makes no sense, you’re on your own.

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Again, I think this depends on how MSG is characterized, and how the wording is phrased.

For example, if a review said something along the lines of

The MaPo Tofu lacked a depth of flavor, and could have used some more seasoning.

Then that’s just code for either (1) more soy sauce (which is MSG), or (2) more mushrooms (which contains natural MSG) or (3) more fermented beans paste (another source of MSG) or (4) more MSG (which is just MSG).

All of those things, soy sauce, mushrooms, bean paste, etc. are all typical ingredients in MaPo Tofu.


When I go to Chinese restaurants now, unless the restaurant explicitly states “No MSG” then I pretty much expect it; a couple months ago I was at Ji Rong Peking Duck House in Rosemead and they we had the duck 3 ways, peking duck, stir fry bean sprout with duck meat, and duck soup and we were all surprised at how delicious the stir fry bean sprout was. It had wok hei just short of a char, and a beautiful savoriness that I doubt was from the duck itself. We could only attribute it to MSG, which really isn’t a bad thing imo.

I get that MSG is stigmatized and its usage is generally frowned upon but after having worked in a Chinese kitchen, I see it as just another ingredient to be wielded masterfully. In this case I thought that the dishes were lacking in the xian wei or umami.

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I specifically meant monosodium glutamate, not naturally occurring glutamates. If the restaurant states that they are NO MSG then I expect them to boost their natural glutamates through stocks, and glutamate heavy veg and sauces, but otherwise I’m totally cool with a bit MSG.

MSG allergy or sensitivity is a total farce, more due to the public’s prejudice against Chinese food than any physiological properties of MSG…

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You are wise in the ways of glutamate. Have I said how great it is to have you contribute on our board?


had the original wording substituted any specific ingredient or had it used some variant of your phrasing i would not have had reason to comment. it was the choice of the specific term MSG that i found remarkable, given how it is still associated by the uninformed with chinese restaurant syndrome.

i find it even more remarkable that we’re going down this path.

Back to the original topic, this place is a puzzle on a couple of counts. Didn’t think there were many Taiwanese residents in the La Verne-Claremont area. Wondering if this is filling more of a regional void for Taiwanese who find Rowland Heights too far south. The other thing is pricing. This is an expensive place with $30 sesame oil chicken soup and a large “Buddha’s Favorite” for $89. I think even the lunch specials are $10. Anybody with insight about the demographics?

I don’t have any percipient insight as to the demographics vis-a-vis Tamsui River, but the demographics in that area generally (La Verne, Montclair, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, etc.) is increasingly Taiwanese, esp. as you move into the new housing developments in Rancho Cucamonga. For example, if you go to Bella Vista Estates off the 15 fwy, I’d daresay that over 75% of the homeowners are Chinese of one type or another.

Any Taiwanese eateries of note near Bradbury??? Thanks man.

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