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Aug 19, 1999 01:51 PM

what is western/islamic chinese food?

  • m

Just what do we mean by "Islamic" or
"western Chinese" food in the USA? Does
it tend to be food from Mongolia, or further
west (Urumqi, Kashgar), or a completely
different new-world variant (or does
bad mutton=bad mutton no matter how you
slice it, so to speak?) As you can see,
I have only the most stereotyped notions
of it, and welcome enlightenment.
And where do I find it? I read with interest
J. Gold's recommendation of the place in San
Gabriel. Anything in NYC? And does some place
in the L.A. eastern sweatshop belt with "Rose"
in its name ring any bells? Thanks.

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  1. Islamic Chinese food, at least as practiced in the San Gabriel Valley, is mostly northern Chinese food with a few Muslim inflections: lots of lamb; grilled meats; elaborate flatbreads. (The best of them, Tung Lai Shun, was a popular restaurant in Beijing for more than a century before it moved to San Gabriel.) You will occasionally run across a more ``authentic'' dish, usually in the form of fried lamb dried out beyond recognition, but I assume Beijing-Muslim is as artificial a style as Tex-Mex...and as wonderful.

    There are a lot of restaurants with Rose in the name: the Rose Cafe in Venice, the Scientology-friendly Rose Cafe in East Hollywood; the Rose Garden teahouse in Pasadena; the Stinking Rose in Beverly Hills, among others, but none of them sound like what you're looking for. Can you be more specific?

    4 Replies
    1. re: j gold

      Mr. Gold I'm immensely gratified that you continue to
      participate in public online discussions. Are you all
      aware that we have among us the New York restaurant
      reviewer for the most prestigious food magazine on the
      planet? A magazine that is now starting to earn that
      prestige? Mr. Gold your review of Nobu et cetera was
      perhaps the single best piece of restaurant reviewing
      I have ever seen. Best of luck to you.

      And now back to my regularly scheduled vacation.

      1. re: PastryChef

        Of course you can never be sure in these ascii
        conversations (and I hate those stupid "emoticons"),
        but do I detect a note of sarcasm in your posting?

        If not, excuse my from-the-hinterlands ignorance, but
        what's the mag and which issue has the review?


        1. re: Jim Dixon

          okay, I just read the post in "Not About Food" so now I

      2. re: j gold

        Thanks for the explanation. It actually sounds
        like eating the food in L.A. would NOT kill my
        desire to travel to western China (where I would
        probably be in for a rude shock, due to the
        Tex-Mex phenomenon you identified).

        My apologies for the vagueness of the Rose
        question--I meant a western Chinese restaurant
        by that name (I can't imagine the 4 you mentioned
        are such cuisine, unless it's the latest fad...).
        All I remember of the tip I got was that it was
        located east of L.A. towards or into the Imperial
        Valley, maybe near San Dimas? It's a dim memory,
        so perhaps too vague to follow, and I'll just
        start with Tung Lai Shun, when in L.A.