Chinese food in the Los Angeles metropolitan area (or yours)

Reply Mon 20 Aug, 2012 09:25 am
Sniff, I miss all this, the going to tiny hole in the wall restaurants with wonderful food. In the LA area, that can sometimes involve a two hour round trip.

But I have Jonathan Gold's restaurant reviews to make me salivate and want to cook some dishes myself.

Take this review for example:

Hui tou are the signature dish, a sort of Chinese blintz filled with pork (and pork juices — be sure to put a napkin on your lap).
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times, Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times / August 19, 2012)

Oh, and pass me some xiao long bao, please.

What about you? Do you ever read restaurant reviews in newspapers/online, or on sites like Yelp.com?
Do you search out hole-in-the-wall places, or completely avoid them?
Would you not touch chinese food with a ten foot pole? Or do you crave it?

Jonathan Gold is a pretty respected reviewer, far as I know, and one of the early ones to zone in (for at least part of his writing) on tiny family restaurants. Me, I'd just like to go with him and his photographer associate when he checks out what's out there in food land..
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Reply Tue 21 Aug, 2012 04:46 am
If we want good Chinese food we have to go over the bridge to Tampa. There isn’t much in St. Pete. We have a few in town but it’s nothing like we had when I lived in CA.

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Reply Tue 21 Aug, 2012 06:31 am
When I go downtown for interviews, RP and I try to get together for lunch and go to Chinatown. We used to go to the holes in the wall, and we still sometimes do, but often we end up with situations where I can't eat much (e. g. they just give you soup, and it's got pork in it and you can't make a substitution).
Reply Tue 21 Aug, 2012 06:45 am
I later thought I should have given a veggie or at least a beef photo. (I'll remedy that but not right now.) I see your point though, Jes, that holes-in-the-wall that are famous for one exceptional dish, or maybe a few, wouldn't have the variety some of the bigger joints do.

I haven't had good chinese food here yet, JCboy, until recently when Diane and I discovered a sort of general asian place (in a crummy mall, yep) that has gyoza that I'm addicted to - they're potstickers with a chicken filling, terrific sauce on the side, with crispy lettuce to cool ya down from the sauce - a kind of xiao long bao. Oh, and their veggie tempura is good too.
Reply Tue 21 Aug, 2012 09:37 am
Before I met the Lovely Bride, my idea of Chinese food was poo-poo
platters and Scorpian Bowls. With her I found myself in all kinds of
Chinatown hole-the-wall restaurants. It was fun and, for a guy raised
on very bland cuisine, exotic.

Now we're a boring suburban couple. There are two or three very good
Chinese places in our area but we seldom go into Chinatown these days.
The Bride isn't plugged into the network any more so she never hears
about what place just opened, what place just closed, and what good
cook just jumped from one to the other.

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Reply Tue 21 Aug, 2012 09:57 am
One thing I always have to order when in a Chinese restaurant is a cup of Hot & Sour Soup! Its one of my favorites! But good hot and sour soup is hard to find, I usually judge a Chinese restaurant by that soup!
Reply Tue 21 Aug, 2012 10:38 am
ahhh Hot and Sour soup

I really missed it when I left Toronto. I discovered that I can't live somewhere that doesn't have good Hot and Sour soup within a short walk/drive.

Toronto has something like seven different Chinatowns - they followed the different communities as they came to Toronto. There's not much you can get in Hong Kong or on the mainland that you can't find somewhere in Toronto.

around Chinatown 3


# 5


inside some of the new Chinese malls near # 7


the night market concept has also come to Toronto!



Lai Wah Heen is one of the places that has brought in some super-chefs from Hong Kong


I had an extraordinary meal there once with the hamburgboys. Extraordinary.

Steamed glutinous rice in lotus leaf will always be one of my favourite dishes. I survived on those things my first couple of years in Toronto. They were/are cheap and filling.
Reply Tue 21 Aug, 2012 10:57 am
Nuts, I realized after posting that gyoza are japanese, which I knew but screwed up in talking about - and figured it was understood that tempura is japanese. So I still haven't had actual good chinese food here as the pot stickers didn't count this time.

Beth, those photos knock my socks off.
What I'd do for the Twin Dragon's "pan fried noodles"! Well, that was a long time ago (that's where we had our wedding meal). I'd skip the jellyfish the next time, if they are still in business and I were nearby.

I know I would love Toronto, the food among many reasons.
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Reply Tue 21 Aug, 2012 11:05 am
" There's not much you can get in Hong Kong or on the mainland that you can't find somewhere in Toronto."
Similar with parts of the LA area..
It's hard to go from such riches to they-have-no-clue-ville, she whines.

Reply Tue 21 Aug, 2012 11:15 am
ossobuco wrote:
It's hard to go from such riches to they-have-no-clue-ville,

that's one of the reasons I moved back
Reply Tue 21 Aug, 2012 05:07 pm
Reply Tue 21 Aug, 2012 06:15 pm
I'll copy from a book I had a long time. I gave it away but got another one, it's fairly interesting, as a start book.
This is an old fashioned americanish recipe, but.. I loved it, at least then.

The Ortho book (Ortho!) called Adventures in Oriental Cooking (Oriental!)
Here's the photo:

quoting -
Tomato Beef Chow Mein
to add even more contrast of flavor, serve this with little dishes of soy, vinegar, and mustard.

1/2 flank steak (about 3/4 pound), cut in strips 1/8 inch wide and 1 1/2 inches long

2 tsp cornstarch
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sherry
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp monosodium glutamate (!!!!)
1 clove garlic, minced

2 quarts water
1 pound fresh chinese style egg noodles
2 tbs soy sauce
salad oil for frying

1 tbs each soy sauce, worcestershire, and cornstarch
3 tbs catsup (hmm, but I guess it happens)
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 cup water

4 tbs oil
2 large stalks celery sliced diagonally 1/8" thick
1 medium onion cut in wedges, separate layers
1 green pepper cut in bite sized pieces

3 medium tomatoes cut in 6 wedges each

1. Marinate meat in mixture of cornstarch, soy sauce, sherry, salt, mg, and garlic. Set aside while you prepare noodles and vegetables.

2. Heat 2 quarts of water to boiling. Add noodles, stir, and again bring to a boil. Add 1/2 cup cold water, reduce heat and simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and toss noodles with the 2 tbs soy sauce.
(Osso - I never have fresh chinese noodles at hand, though I suppose I could make them. No memory of what works with the packaged stuff, except following the directions)

3. Heat 2 tbs salad oil in a non stick frying pan. Spread one third of noodles in pan and cook, without stirring, over high heat until light brown. Drizzle a few drops of oil around the edges of the noodles if they appear to be sticking. Turn the sheet of noodles to brown other side. Repeat with remaining noodles, adding oil as needed.

4. Prepare gravy by combining the soy sauce, worcestershire, cornstarch, catsup, curry powder, and water.

5. Heat 2 tbs of the oil in a wok or large frying pan. Sprinkle a little salt over the oil, then stir fry celery and onion 2 minutes.
add green pepper and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes and heat through. Remove from pan.

6. Heat the remaining 2 tbs oil in wok and stir fry marinated meat for 1 minute or until sauce thickens. Stack pan fried noodles on a platter and cover with meat sauce.

Bunch of busy work, I did that a few times, delicious, at least back then.

I do like my mein on the crispy side, for at least the bottom of it. The recipe writer has more to say, but I'm tired now.

I'm attached to this recipe since it was from when I was first playing around with cooking. I suppose there are plenty out there on the web.
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