10 San Gabriel Valley Easter Eggs in Netflix’s ‘The Brothers Sun’

Yes, Netflix’s new crime dramedy “The Brothers Sun,” starring Michelle Yeoh, Sam Song Li and Justin Chien, is seeped with Asian American culture. However, as a San Gabriel Valley (SGV) native who spent their childhood between Atlantic Boulevard and Grand Avenue, it’s easy to see that the cultural representation seen in the series is distinctly rooted in the 626. An integral part of Los Angeles’ diversity and one of the largest concentrations of Asian Americans in the country, it’s about time that the ethnoburb gets the recognition it deserves on the world stage. 

Here are some of the little SGV easter eggs we caught in season one of “The Brothers Sun.”

1. Bruce drinking Visoy soy milk with his fan tuan for breakfast.

The camera pan over the soy milk carton while Bruce spends his breakfast studying is less of a product placement and more of a wink to SoCal audiences who can immediately recognize the logo from their local Asian grocery store’s tofu section. 

2. The individually wrapped moist towelette from Newport Seafood in the sauce drawer

Not only are the free moist towelettes from Chinese banquet restaurants convenient for wiping down your fingers in between the steamed shrimp and garlic crab courses so you don’t have to run to the restroom to wash your hands, they’re also convenient to keep in your car, in your bag, in your junk drawer or any other instance where it supplements your existing stockpile of “stolen” Chipotle napkins.

3. Newport Seafood Restaurant with the secret mahjong den in the back

Speaking of, how could we not also shout out the legendary Newport Seafood Restaurant that, in the show, serves as a front to the underground mahjong den that Eileen frequents for information? Though seen briefly, the Michelin Guide-approved eatery’s remodeled interiors are recognizable to any SGV native who has had their famous house special lobster.

4. Charles going to Kee Wah Bakery for treats when he first arrives in Los Angeles

A Hong Kong institution, Kee Wah Bakery is a stronghold of traditional Chinese delicacies fit for celebrations such as the Mid-Autumn Festival, Lunar New Year and even weddings and tea ceremonies. If you want to impress any Chinese elder with a treat that’s “not too sweet,” we recommend their homestyle crispy waffle eggrolls, custard-filled pineapple buns and rice crispies.

5. Alexis’ 99 Ranch haul

99 Ranch Market (or Ranch 99 if you’re nasty) is the largest Asian supermarket chain in the United States, having first opened in Westminster, California, and offers a wide selection of products imported from countries including mainland China, Japan and Vietnam. While the grocery store isn’t entirely specific to the 626, we would be remissed if we didn’t include it in this list. 

6. Leo being a callback to popular K-Town nightclubs

The nightclub Charles rents out the night before the suspensive meeting between the triads may be fictional, but all the SoCal kids who ventured out to the nightclubs in Koreatown can recognize the influences Leo pulled from Mama Lion, Terracotta and now-closed Arena (may she rest in peace).

7. The Jim’s Bakery shoutout

We’re sure Charles’ egg tarts are delicious, but Bruce was correct in naming Jim’s Bakery as the best in Monterey Park. The Chinese bakery boasts a number of traditional favorites perfect for afternoon tea or a quick snack. Be sure to pick up a dozen of their famous egg tarts and maybe a gym membership from the LA Fitness next door.

8. Golden Soup showdown

Located on the second level towards the back of the Golden World Plaza in San Gabriel, Golden Soup is the backdrop of the season’s climactic triad showdown in the penultimate episode. With beautiful interiors and delicious Cantonese-style dishes, the restaurant is great for your next birthday party, a wedding banquet or even a gang meeting.

9. Eileen gifting products from Wing Hop Fung

SGV natives who grew up with parents who are super into traditional Chinese medicine might be familiar with the likes of Wing Hop Fung, a premier retailer of Chinese specialty herbs, tea and delicacies. With how pricy some of the items may be, Eileen gifting multiple boxes to the aunties at the mahjong den is a sure sign of her status at the end of the series.

10. The San Gabriel Square in the background of the show’s poster

While never in the series directly, the San Gabriel Square can be seen in the background of “The Brothers Sun” show poster. A landmark of the 626 since the ‘90s, the plaza is iconic for being one of the first malls in the area to cater to Chinese customers and is one of the many strip malls and commercial plazas of family and immigrant-run businesses that characterize the San Gabriel Valley.