Café Bungalow opened three weeks ago. It is still in its soft opening, but there has already been buzz around campus about it. If you haven’t heard about it yet ,don’t worry, you will soon. It’s got everything college students look for: good prices, excellent taste, impeccable décor—it’s completely Instagram worthy.
Café Bungalow is located at 992 E. Alosta Ave., Unit B, Azusa, CA 91702. It’s in the plaza behind McDonald’s, on the far right corner tucked away, awaiting Azusa Pacific University students specifically.
The menu consists of small plate appetizers, sandwiches, salads, Asian-styled entrees, premium teas, desserts and boba with added toppings like aloe vera, red bean, grass jelly, lychee jelly and honey boba. The restaurant prides itself on making a fresh batch of boba every 90 minutes.
The attention to detail is incredible at Café Bungalow. Fries are served in mini shopping baskets, cold drinks are served in mason jars and potted milk tea is served with ground Oreos on top and a mint leaf springing out to resemble a live plant growing from the ground.
“We like to use a lot of fresh fruits as garnish. It’s visually more stunning and it tastes good,” restaurant co-owner Robert Lee said.
The menu offers interesting munchies like truffled egg open-faced sandwiches, curry chicken sandwiches, bacon ranch tater tots, spicy eggs, spam and cheese noodles, Taiwanese sausage, bursting fish balls, brick toast and egg pudding.
If any of these items are unfamiliar or seem strange to you, it’s time to commit your taste buds to another culture. Lee describes the cuisine as Taiwanese-Chinese fusion.
“The more traditional Taiwanese plates are the popcorn chicken, Taiwanese sausage rice plate and pork chop rice plate,” Lee said.
All the plates are served with coleslaw and a side of creamed corn.
“Coming into this area, I couldn’t find food that I really enjoyed. You have your typical Thai restaurants, Vietnamese and Japanese sushi restaurants but we didn’t really have a place where you can get really tasty boba, really delicious popcorn chicken, the rice plates, things that Taiwanese cuisine offers,” Lee said.
The first restaurant Lee opened with partners Lulu Zhang and Howard Cheung was Bon Appetea Café in Alhambra. With the success of Bon Appetea Café, the partners decided they wanted to open a sister store in Azusa.
“We felt like Azusa was growing…It’s getting more and more eclectic and very diverse,” Lee said.
Lee and his partners decided that they wanted to give the people of this changing community food they would enjoy.
Lee’s primary job is in real estate. He has worked in the Rosedale development and found that there was a large population of Chinese and Korean people.
“That’s a reason we wanted to bring this restaurant to this community…We are one of the first pioneers for bringing this type of food,” Lee said.
Café Bungalow has received positive feedback from the community thanking them for finally opening up a restaurant that is native to many people in the community.
“We have waited for so long for someone to come in and open something like this,” a Chinese American customer said to Lee.
There is one tea bar in the surrounding area, but besides that, patrons would have to drive out of the city to get cuisine similar to what is served at Café Bungalow.
What is exciting about Café Bungalow is that patrons will enjoy their entire experience. From the time they walk in the door, the aroma of spices hits their senses, assuring them that they are going to eat some really tasty food.
The way employees treat customers is also part of the experience. You might find partner Lulu Zhang, and culinary artist Tony Chen at the establishment. They created a lot of the dishes and they, along with the servers, are more than willing to help you choose what you would like to eat.
Lee, Zhang and Chen were inspired by different eating establishments around Los Angeles, and decided what they liked, what was missing and what they could create to introduce a unique style of food that blended together what they thought most local residents would like.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, Chen has created candy-filled mason jars as a cute gift to give to loved ones. The mason jars are filled with dried strawberries, marshmallows and chocolate. Mix with hot milk and each jar makes two cups of red velvet lattes. Customers can purchase one for $7.25.
The grand opening of Café Bungalow will be on February 23. Visit www.cafebungalow.com for more information.