Foo Foo Tei (鳳鳳亭, “phoenix pavilion”) is one of Hacienda Heights’ great ramen hotspots (846 Yelp reviews as of date). I’ve heard this place mentioned by many people when I tell them I’m from that area. This past week, I finally tried it for myself, accompanied by my sister.
The place itself is in a rather obscure part of town. It’s located in a seedy industrial area, neighboring factories and auto shops. The interior is modest, with few decorations and plain furnishings. The table was rather sticky on my visit. But there was a bustling lunch crowd, happily slurping away their ramen noodles.
The menu, 6 pages long, was overwhelming at best. There were hundreds of items available. For an indecisive diner like myself, it was a bit taxing to find something I wanted. I suggest you look at their online menu before dining there, to save time.
My sister was already set on what to order: the #17 ramen: nanchatte tonkotsu, with a 75¢ add-on of corn. The broth in tonkotsu ramen is made from simmering pork bones. However, Foo Foo Tei’s twist is that it substitutes pork with tofu. The broth was noticeably less milky (perhaps because it lacks the dissolved pork fat and collagen).
On the contrary, the broth was creamy and light, but I didn’t enjoy the noodles. Also, I found the soup base to be a bit too salty (perhaps it’s just my personal preference). The slices of pork were tasty though. The portion size was humongous, enough to split between the two of us.
Our second and final order was the takana bacon fried rice, a pretty basic dish that could be replicated at home with ease. Takana is a Japanese type of mustard green similar to Chinese kiam tsai (鹹菜). The whole dish combines scrambled eggs, bits of bacon, mustard greens, garnished with some ginger and green onions. It was tasty, but as expected, the portion size (for $6.50) was surprisingly large. This dish could have easily been shared among four people. (I was disappointed the dish had tiny bits of bacon sparingly sprinkled…)
Although I was a bit underwhelmed, considering all the praise Foo Foo Tei has been getting, it’s definitely a solid place for a hearty Japanese meal. Don’t come alone, or else you should prepare yourself to box up the leftovers.
15018 Clark Ave
Hacienda Heights, CA 91745