When friends came visiting from out of town, we often took them to the Din Tai Fung in Arcadia, and right afterwards, we would walk a few steps over to the Phoenix Food Boutique next door. I think that I was actually looking forward more to the dessert at Phoenix than the Xiao Long Bao at DTF.
There is a chain of these Phoenix Food Boutiques scattered throughout the San Gabriel valley and the neighboring areas. These restaurants specialize in fast, casual Chinese food, as well as having an extensive dessert and tropical drink menu. I have tried some of the food selections at various locations, and the qualities and taste are usually very good. However, when I do go to Phoenix, my focus had always been and still will be on the desserts, namely the hot dessert soups.
One of my favorite dessert soup is the Green Bean and Seaweed. Taste wise, it is not spectacular. The beans are cooked until mushy, the porridge has a slight sweet taste with a hint of seaweed flavor. However, in Chinese cooking, the green bean is known for its medicinal abilities to cool the body from excessive heat, and to cleanse the body of toxins. Therefore, while enjoying this refreshing dessert, I feel that I am, at the same time, restoring my body back to a better balance. Next is the Red Bean and Lotus Seed. Red beans are high in protein and iron, making it especially good for women in replenishing the red blood cells after menstruation. The lotus seed is thought to be beneficial to the kidneys and spleen, as well as having calming properties that might help with insomnia and restlessness.
The Black Sesame Puree, another of my favorite, is an ingenious dessert which utilizes a remarkably nutritious seed to make an incredibly delicious dessert that not only taste good but also nourishes the body. The seed contains substantial amount of nutrients such as copper, calcium, iron, zinc, fiber and is thought to slow the development of gray hair. I have been adding roasted black sesame seeds to my cereal for over 20 years, and people have been commenting on how dark my hair is.
As far as a more robustly sweet dessert soup is concerned, the Black Sticky Rice Young Coconut would definitely be the right choice. By combining the fragrant flavor of the young coconut with the thick and gooey sticky rice, the result is a dense concoction that is thoroughly luscious, sweet, and divine.
A Phoenix Dessert has opened recently in the Gardena neighborhood. The space is small but the Green Bean and Seaweed is just as good.
Phoenix Food Boutique: 1108 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, CA 91007 Phone: (626) 446-7668 (Please see phoenixfoodboutique.com for other locations)