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NY/SF style Chinese food in San Diego

  • m

Now that Jimmy Wong's is gone, I don't know where to go for Chinese food in San Diego. I'm originally from NY and I prefer traditional style Cantonese and Hunan food. I mean god, greasy, large egg rolls, good egg drop and wonton soups, shrimp toast, real chow mein (not the stuff they call chow mein here, which is really lo mein), and, most importantly, egg foo young.

This is the type of stuff you find in Chinatown in both NY and SF. Jimmy Wong's on University was the only place I have found here in SD that qualified. Open till 3:00 AM (another important factor), a little divy, and good authentic food.

I think most San Diegans are used to restaurants like PF Chang's, which are overpriced, serve tiny portions, and have mediocre or worse food. Are there any transplanted New Yorkers or San Franciscans here in San Diego who know the type of place I'm talking about? If so, is there hope now that Jimmy Wong's is gone? Does anyone know of another good, authentic Chinese restaurant like I've just described?

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  1. From your description, it sounds like you're describing the old fashioned "Cantonese" style (but "made in USA") stuff. When I first came to San Diego, there were a lot of those places (Chop Suey joints), with the old China Land on Midway perhaps the foremost exponent. I seem to recall Jimmy Wongs having the same type of menu.

    Over the years, however, people have been introduced to a wider range of different dishes, arguably more authentic, and few diners (or chefs) have much interest in the old stuff. I'd bet you'd have trouble finding it even in NY and SFO. Having said all that, I fully empathize with you; I grew up eating in those kinds of joints, and occasionally get nostalgic for "Number 1 Family Dinner." Let us know if you unearth anything.
    . . . jim strain in san diego.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jim Strain

      What's the name of that restaurant in Hillcrest--the Hong Kong? That doesn't sound right. It's near University on 5th, if I recall correctly. They serve wonderful chow fun...and yes, egg foo yung, and lo mein that reminded me very much of the lo mein I used to eat in NY Chinatown, back in the 70s. There are pots of hot mustard on the tables, and sweet plum sauce, and fried noodles come before you eat.

      It just might fill the bill for the OP. But what the heck is the name of it?

      1. re: cristina

        Hong Kong is the name. It's on 4th, between University and Robinson, and is open until (I believe) 2-3am.

    2. If you're really feeling nostalgic try Mandarin House in Bankers Hill. I used to work right next door, and when I met him - my husband's apartment was in the same block, so we used to go there for takeout occasionally. They have good pan fried dumplings (dump the entire cup of chile oil in the carton and shake it up!) and I like the crispy beef and pan fried noodles, but stay far far away from the lemon chicken, it's doused in some sort of neon yellow goo.

      1. There is a place on Pearl St. in LJ that touts "NY Style Chinese Food" right on the sign. Located next to El Pescador, near Mitch's. I have not tried it. Mandarin Wok on Balboa sound like what you might be looking for.

        "I think most San Diegans are used to restaurants like PF Chang's", Ouch, this is kind of a sterotype, and a little insulting. I think most people on this board from SD know their Chinese food rather well.

        I hope you find what you're looking for, although it's not authentic Chinese food.


        1 Reply
        1. re: stevuchan

          Yeah, he has us totally confused with Orange County.

        2. It's not a stereotype--most people from SD wouldn't know good Chinese food--or most cuisines, for that matter--if it bit them in the nose. Please, the Chinese scene does not even come close to that in the cities the originator of this post indicated. If you think so, I encourage you to buy a plane ticket and travel.

          Best bet is to save it for a trip back to NY, SF, or LA (Monterrey Park or Chinatown)...I've tried the place on Pearl n La Jolla and it is not like what you are looking for and nothing special...downtown, I have been to Red Pearl Kitchen--which serves "Pan Asian", consisting of a choice of Chinese (very good, but not the NY style you have asked for) as well as Thai and Japanese/sushi dishes.....SD does a much better job in Thai cuisine than it does Chinese.

          9 Replies
          1. re: El Chevere

            Ouch again. I was not comparing NY,SF,LA to San Diego. Please re-read the post, don't just read...comprehend.

            1. re: stevuchan

              you may have not been comparing the Chinese food scene in SD to NY or SF, but the originator of this post was. Furthermore, you claimed that most people in SD "know their Chinese food quite well"--which, if they did, they would compare it to NY and SF and realize that the offerings in this region are weak....feel free to elaborate on the "non-authentic" offerings in these other 2 cities.

              1. re: El Chevere

                In cities like NY and SF, there are some amazing things to eat that aren't available anywhere else. That doesn't mean, however, that everything in those places is superior to what one can get in Keokuk or even San Diego. NY is home to lots of great pizza, for example, but that city also supports a lot of very successful Domino's stores operations. To quote Steveuchan, if you read carefully, I really think you'll see that the only one who has compared "the Chinese food scene" in SD to NY or SF is you.

                1. re: Jim Strain

                  Please, not every place in NY, SF, etc. is superior to Chinese elsewhere, such as Podunk or Ames, Iowa. Believe it or not, they do have crappy fast food chains, such as Panda Express, in NY malls that most people in San Diego would vote as "Best Chinese Restaurant" in a San Diego Reader poll. I also, never realized Domino's billed itself as "NY Pizza". However, having grown up in NY I Domino's never was nor never will be my 1st choice when I'm in the mood for pizza. Surely, you can distinguish the differences. What's next--will someone from Salt Lake City post they have waterfront places that rival La Jolla and you'll agree?

                2. re: El Chevere

                  The originator was looking for NY/SF style in SD, he was not comparing. Also I calimed "most people on this board from SD", this board being chowhound, which is a lot diffrent than most people in SD. The non-authentic I was refering to is "greasy, large egg rolls, good egg drop...".
                  I also dissagree, I think SD does Chinese better than Thai. Please post your favorite Thai spots, I've been to most (SD proper) and always on the look out for a new good one. Any way, if we define chinese food as food from China (all styles included, even greasy egg roll stlye) I would put Ba Ren up against any place in the nation (yes it's that good).


                  1. re: stevuchan

                    This post may be off-topic.

                    Would you be interested in going to Ba Ren this Thursday? A few folks on the SDChow yahoogroup email list are trying to get together for that night (9/28). All chowhounds and wannabes (like me) should feel free to sign up; the more the merrier.

                    1. re: Joseph

                      Please post an email address for the Yahoo group, so that those interested may reply there. It sounds like fun, but organizing get-togethers are off topic for this board.


                      1. re: The Chowhound Team

                        In order to send an e-mail to the SDChow group you have to be a member. To become a member all anyone needs to do is send a blank e-mail to -




              2. re: El Chevere

                Sorry. Posted a reply here, meant to reply to MVNYC. Have moved it.

              3. You mentioned egg foo young. The best I have ever had is at a tiny dive in Pacific Beach named Super Wok. I never even liked egg goo young until I had it here. The old chinese man who runs the kitchen cooks this dish one at a time, fresh to order, and the portions are huge. If there are people ahead of you there can be a bit of a wait as he is the only person in the tiny kitchen, working with only four burners.

                Super Wok
                4468 Ingraham St. (SW corner of Garnet behind Chevron)
                858 270 4859

                4 Replies
                1. re: Captain Jack

                  Nice to see Super Wok still doing well. It was my favorite for takeout when I lived in PB. Don't really recall much about the style of the food any more. Good but not memorable, I guess.

                  The OP should check out Kirk's blog as Kirk has definitive and informative reviews of numerous Chinese restaurants. I think the OP is looking for what Kirk calls ABCDE places: American Born Chinese Dining Establishments. Here's a link to Kirk's Chinese restaurant posts:


                  good eating,


                  1. re: Ed Dibble

                    Strangely enough, there's not really that much classic "Chop Suey House" type cuisine(i.e. Egg Foo Yung, General Tso's chicken) in San Diego. I can think of Mandarin Wok(There's an article on the wall saying best Chinese Restaurant from something like 1984???), the afore mentioned Mandarin House(a few coworkers love this place - food was so sweet it hurt my teeth) and Szechuan Mandarin - who a former coworker from NY said was really good, it's on Mission Gorge Road - I've never been there, though. Here's the website.


                    Good Luck in finding New York Regional Chinese Cuisine. It's rather funny, when I moved from Hawaii to the West Coast I found that Chow Mein in LA, is what I knew to be Lo Mein in Hawaii......

                    1. re: KirkK

                      Szechuan Mandarin is in my neck of the woods and I used to eat there occasionally when I still worked in Mission Valley. My under-edcuated Asian tastebuds liked it and their lunch special is a pretty good value, and at lunch they are f-a-s-t. They do a nice job on their fish and noodle dishes.

                      One day a co-worker and I arrived early for lunch, before the crowd. At the table across from us was an elderly Asian woman cleaning and stringing an enormous mound of snow peas that covered nearly the entire table.

                      1. re: DiningDiva

                        Wow this has become a really informative post. Just had my memory jogged, China Inn on Hornblend in PB, fits the bill for Egg Foo Yung, Gnrl Tso chicken, Poo Poo plater, egg drop, etc.


                2. As a transplanted NYer i have not found any place like what you are looking for. The Chinese food scene here is not really that good no matter what style you are looking for. If you are from NY, LA, SF, Toronto or Vancouver, etc.. you will be disapointed. Though not authenticly Chinese, The NY style of food you mention is good in its own right. There are sometimes i get cravings for a nice big greasy egg roll or shrimp with lobster sauce as well. But since i am out here for the time being i try to stay away from things that arent as good out here. I dont eat bagels, pizza, deli, etc...

                  I do try to get what they do well out here. For the most part the Vietnamese scene out here is superior to what we would get back in NYC, so that is what i eat the most. There are some good Chinese places that i frequent but they really are nothing spectacular.

                  Hmm now that i think about it, Double Hapiness in Del Mar might have what you are looking for. I only ate there once or twice but remember them bringing out frechly fried nooodles like the old places back in NY. They might have some of the dishes you are looking for.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: MVNYC

                    MVNYC wrote, "The Chinese food scene here is not really that good no matter what style you are looking for."

                    I respectfully disagree. If you are looking for Shanghai cuisine, San Diego does well. While the skins are not quite up to the standard's of the original Joe's Shanghai in Flushing or Din Tai Fang in Taipei, the Xiao Long Bao (little pork buns) at the Dumpling Inn are quite acceptable. The jellyfish at the Dumpling Inn could hold its head up at the best of the Flushing restaurants. In addition the Chinese language menu at Shanghai City is fantastic. The fish with tofu is something we have only found in one other restaurant in Flushing, and Shanghai City does it incredibly well. Also, they make a hot beef noodle soup good enough to be served on Tao Juan Jie in Taipei. And their pork shoulder is no slouch. Both Dumpling Inn and Shanghai City do a decent twice fried noodle. Finally, Shanghai City's northern breakfast is quite acceptable. We are foodies, raised in Flushing, NY with a year under our belts in Taiwan. We have found San Diego to have better authentic Shanghai cuisine than many other cities we have lived in (such as Boston and Chicago).

                    1. re: llbcsbiggs

                      SD does a pretty good job with Shanghainese Food.

                      Shanghai City makes our favorite version of Niu Rou Mein, the broth has a nice amount of richness and depth, and almost no ever mentions this; I really enjoy the texture of the noodles, slightly doughy and with a bit of pull...close to home made. Shanghai City's broth can be somewhat inconcictent at times.

                      Chin's on Miramar is our current favorite Chinese/Shanghainese/Jiangsu/Zhejiang(call it what you will - it's still Shanghainese to me) weekend breakfast spot. And even has Crystal Xiaorou on the Chinese Breakfast menu.



                      Dumping Inn does a fine job with the Jellyfish salad, though I think the Jiaozhi is just okay, but it is my own jaded opinion, as my MIL and Wife are from Shandong(nothing quite like home made Jiaozhi)I'm not a big fan of the XLB at Dumpling Inn, to me it tastes like Jiaozhi filling, and doesn't have the sweeter flavor of XLB filling, in addition the flavor imparted on the meat by a "savory liquid"(usually a ginger scallion water) is missing. The "soup" is fine, but there is usually too little of it. Shanghai City makes our favorite XLB, though it too can be rather inconsistent.

                      Thanks to a great recommendation we've found pretty decent frozen XLB at the San Diego China Center & Chinese Institute:

                      San Diego China Center & Chinese Institute
                      10505 Sorrento Valley Road, Suite #390
                      San Diego, CA 92121

                      I must say they were better than some we've had (i.e. Mandarin Garden, Chin's).

                      To me when most make statements like you mentioned, it's almost addressing Guangdong style American cuisine, or American Style Hunan(my FIL is from Hunan/Sichuan, and thinks Hunan food in the US is terrible).

                      FWIW, I'm not a foodie, just an eater of food.......

                      1. re: KirkK

                        Great response. I thought it was just the lack of crab in the XLB that made it taste so different at the Dumpling Inn (our family has a preference for the crab version, so that is what we have become accustomed to). I'll also add that the skin leaves a great deal to be desired. It is hard to do good skin. We love Shanghai City, but we were really really sad when we tried the XLB there. There was no soup at all, and the skins just didn't cut it. We even tried it again just to be sure. On your recommendation, we'll try it one more time. We'll definitely give the Chinese Institute a try. I've been meaning to get there but have been too lazy.

                        1. re: llbcsbiggs

                          I was unimpressed by Dumpling inn's XLB. Some of the other dishes are decent there but all in all not outstanding. I do like their twice fried noodles. I have only been to Shanghai City once and will give it another try. I am always on the lookout for tasty authentic dishes. As a lover of XLB I left very dissapointed from Shanghai City but berhaps i shouldnt have judged just on that.

                          1. re: MVNYC

                            On a good day the XLB at Shanghai City is pretty decent...on a bad day, well...but still we think it's the best in San Diego. They do make a good Niu Rou Mein, and I enjoy the Wined Chicken, though some people think it's too strong.
                            I enjoy a little bit of a thicker(though not too think) XLB skin....sort of like those at Meilong Village in San Gabriel. I'm not a fan of the much too thin XLB wrapper, like those at Din Tai Fung.

                  2. We grew up in Mass. and moved here 7 years ago and spent a few years searching for the same kind of place I think. Of all those mentioned above, I think Double Happiness in Del Mar comes closest, but not that close. Slightly closer (and geographically so, if you're in central SD) might be Mandarin Dynasty, 1458 University Ave, 92103, 619-298-8899.

                    If it makes you feel better, we ate at so many places in our search that we came to appreciate the local fare. Our favorite is China Max on Convoy; we haven't been to Ba Ren, but we'll have to try it now. Actually though, I thought it was an east/west coast difference; we've only spent a week in SF, but it didn't seem much closer to what we had back East. I thought all the NY/East Coast places got their dishes from the same NY place (Cecil Adams or someone like that wrote about this); for instance, "lobster sauce" means two different things on the two coasts, no?

                    1. to KirkK-- "I'm not a foodie, just an eater of food.......",
                      I reply, an educated and discriminating eater of food at that! Keep blogging!

                      1. Mandarin Wok on Balboa is a disaster. 2nd worst Chinese food I've ever eaten. I knew something was wrong when we walked in to find all the customers where caucasian!

                        - Cashew Chicken: I've never seen red cashew chicken. Over salted. Too sweet. The large chunks of chicken were far too sinewy to pick up with chopsticks... and guess what? The restaurant did not have a chopstick in sight!

                        - Moo Shu Pork: DISGUSTING. The veges were off. Way too salty. No egg. And they came pre-wrapped with too much hoisin sause! Can you believe that?

                        - Beef Lo Mein: Awful. Too salty. Chewy like rubberband (the beef, not the noodles).

                        - Rice: good.

                        And most perplexing... we heard an occasional gwei lo say "delicious" every few minutes...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: westcoastfoodie

                          It's a shame the wok disappointed you so much. The cashew chicken, lemon chicken, and hunan beef. (or, in recent years, hunan chicken too) have been take-out staples of mine for years. They're not immune to the occasional off night, though, and I've had bad meals -- but I'd say less than five in about twenty years.

                          I would definitely second it as a decent example of the Jimmy Wong's genre of chinese, though I can't remember much about their noodles.

                        2. mjoc,

                          Try 'Hong Kong Chef' in the UTC area on Governor. Its a real hole in the wall place. Its in the same shopping center as a Henry's market.

                          This place is as close as I've been able to come to the kind of American Chinese that you and I remember.

                          Strangely, El Chevere's comments aside, San Diego once did have some good Chinese-American type joints...but they are becoming quite rare...and I, for one, am sad for that.

                          In any case, Hong Kong Chef has great Almond Chicken, Lo Mein, and (though I've not tried it myself) the Egg Foo Yung looked pretty good. That's a hard one to find anymore.

                          A special note to you, I see a lot of New York types come to this place as well as quite a few Chinese. It reminds me of the mix we once had at a place in Chula Vista called "The Teapot Inn" which was, bar none, the best Chinese food I've ever had.

                          Give it a try!

                          1. Has anyone ever tried Hong Kong BBQ & Dimsum in Mira Mesa? I had crispy duck there today and it was pretty good and they seem to have an authentic menu. It's in the same building as Vinh Hung Market, that is great as well. I would love to find other places like this in San Diego. If you know of any let me know!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: MayLeeSD

                              I love the dim sum and the pan fried noodles there!

                            2. Yeah, finally I have felt like an alien here..... frozen egg rolls with cabbage is all they got here. I tell them what I am looking for the I see blankness in the eyes..... I can walk in a place and smell and know if they do or don't get it.

                              Last time I had the kind was in SF. Soooooo please let me know if you find a place. I just got some C.F. to nite.... oh man was it bad. HELP!

                              1. Yes, that is true..... NY and SF style Chinese is not "Authentic Chinese food". But that is what we are looking for. That distinction is why it is so hard to explain to someone who has not experienced it. It is this "Americanize versions" we seek. And these versions are what we are after for good reason. It took extremely good “Authentic” Chinese cooks to come up with these Americanize dishes that are wonderful. We need them….. We hurt not finding them. This is important to us…… whaaaaaa!

                                “Americanize” does not mean it is inferior either. It is different. Here in San Diego you can find Authentic everywhere. Great, but when someone is saying they are looking for NY and SF style, there is a huge difference for all those that have experienced the difference.

                                It is kind of funny because the people who know the difference have a common speak…. They will say things like: Egg Rolls, Egg Fu young, Chop Suey, plum sauce sitting on the table. These are clues we look for because it is a specific gender of Chinese food that has its own smell, its own taste. We can tell in the second when we walk into the place whether it has it or not.

                                Most San Diego egg rolls are filled with Cabbage. I think some food services company has San Diego tied up in pre-made frozen egg rolls, and they all taste exactly the same. And when a restaurant makes their own here in San Diego, they make them exactly like the frozen ones……. SICK! The egg rolls we are looking for are 2inch in diameter, about 5 inches long. Flakey crust, and bean sprouts, water chestnuts I think, and other things that have a special flavor and smell. They actually have egg in them….. EGG ROLLS! get it?

                                Egg Fu Young has lots of bean sprouts and a brown sauce over the top. The cakes are about 5 inches in diameter by about ¾ inch thick, with a very Eggie’ flavor. Not like the hockey pucks here in San Diego or the damn huge plate size Mommas that are tasteless wonders.

                                I am so home sick for real, "non-authentic!" Chinese food…. I am crying.  Even a tin can of La Choy chop suey is even closer to what we are looking for than anything here in San Diego, and that sucks…… whaaaaaaa!

                                12 Replies
                                1. re: DRAuten

                                  Jeez, did you read the whole thread? If the Hong Kong is still open, on 4th between University and Robinson, you'll find what you're looking for--including the little bowl of plum sauce on the table.

                                  If it's closed, please tell me.

                                  Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

                                  1. re: DRAuten

                                    I don't think I've ever had egg fu young in San Diego. Or chop suey. Not in 40 years.

                                    My family in the MKE area always would get some carry-out egg fu young from the local Chinese place when I visited, and so I got my fill.

                                    Those were indeed the 5 in. dia. x 3/4 in. thick ones smothered in gravy that you talk about. Tasty Chinese comfort food.

                                    I suppose we could have Egg Fu Young as Dish of the Month someday -- if the SD DotM ever returns. But I wouldn't have a clue as to where to start, frankly. Maybe Hong Kong in Hillcrest, as cristina suggested.

                                    Or, I see (just checked online) that Chef Chin has Egg Fu Young on their American (red) menu. If it's American-style Chinese food you're looking for, this place on Convoy might be worth trying. (They also have pretty decent Chinese-style Chinese food, black menu.)

                                    1. re: DRAuten

                                      Why would you expect to find NY-style Chinese food in San Diego?

                                      If I were you, I wouldn't even expect to find "non-authentic" NY-style Chinese food in San Diego, or anywhere else in Southern CA for that matter.

                                      It's called "NY-style" for a reason. And it's not because it is in San Diego.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        Why not? We have "NY-style pizza", don't we?

                                        1. re: DoctorChow

                                          We do? I guess it depends on what you mean by NY-style.

                                          There are actually few distinct styles of round pizza found in NYC: New York gas-oven style, Neopolitan style, and a hybrid style of the two that is also unique to New York (usually coal oven).

                                          There are also NY-style square pies.

                                          And one can't mention NY-style pizza without referencing those ubiquitous $1 (or is it now $2?) slices that are on seemingly every other street corner from Central Park South down to the Financial District.

                                          So which ones are you talking about when you say NY-style pizza? Gas oven whole pies? Coal oven whole pies? Squares? Gas oven street slices with no or minimal toppings?

                                          Bronx comes closest to a NY-style gas oven street slice here in America's Finest City but while the pizza looks right it just doesn't taste right.

                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            I put quotes around "NY-style pizza" for a reason, ipse. I was implicitly agreeing with you. But I can see how that could have been mis-interpreted.

                                            It would be head-turning to pass a restaurant with a big sign that says "Genuine New York Style Chinese Food".

                                            1. re: DoctorChow

                                              Yes Doc, you are right, and ....Chicago style Hot Dog, Philly steak sandwich.... etc. on and on.... we are just saying.... for example... Now we have NY/SF style Chinese. We could say Tokyo style Chinese food, but that may not go down well.... :)

                                              1. re: DoctorChow

                                                Sorry Doc.

                                                I've lost too many IQ points trying to answer all of Fakey's posts about magical powers.

                                              2. re: ipsedixit

                                                Don't forget the famous NY style Cheesecake after your finished with your NY style Chinese food.

                                                1. re: cstr

                                                  Yes, who could forget that. And the Boston cream Pie, and New England clam chowder, and Kentucky fried chicken and Martian methane gasses. he he he. People have a tendency of name things from whence they came even though there are lots of variants. I love humans.

                                        2. I am going this friday night to try Hong Hong. I went to their website.... A few things that are encouraging with NY/SF type of speak...

                                          1. Chicken Chow Mein (Bean Sprout No Noodle). YEAH, finally, looking good...Bean Sprouts are what is is..... Also, they say egg drop soup, not egg flower soup. ,Yeah looking even better. I scroll down and find;

                                          Chicken Chow Mein ................ $8.95
                                          (Chicken with Bean Sprout, No Noodle)

                                          Someone slap me!!!! Holy molly.... I think it could be.

                                          202. Chicken Chop Suey ................... $9.95

                                          Oh Mama!!!!!! I am almost home

                                          203. Cashew Chicken ....................... $9.95
                                          204. Almond Chicken ........................ $9.95

                                          My pillow is ready..... this reads like the ole menu from back East..... I am calling them right now to check on their Egg Roll to find out if it is handmade or the the crappy cabbage tootsie-roll (almost a lumpia size) that I hate! There is not an egg within miles of them normally here in San Diego... yet they still call them Egg Rolls. Yeah, in my pants! They if they are cabbage rolls, then I have to keep looking elsewhere. I won't even drive down there. Here goes. I spoke to a lady, she was nice... I asked about the Egg roll. she said they are more the size of Lumpia.... Hmmmm, thats not good.
                                          I asked is it NY style, she said no it is our own style. So I am a bit disappointed in that news. But she was honest, and spoke confident. So I am going to check out the Chop Suey and Chow mein what the hell. But I am sad. My kingdom for a big crunchy, 2" in diameter real hand made Egg Roll with bamboo shoots and other stuff. Oh well. Sleepless, in San Diego Dreaming of this.....

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: DRAuten

                                            I hope you mean Hong Kong restaurant in Hillcrest, not Hong Hong restaurant in Fresno. That would be a bit of a road trip for some Chinese food.

                                            1. re: littlestevie

                                              Yep, :) here in San Diego. BTW, there lots of great Chinese restaurants in San Diego... in my trying to be a bit funny and a little slack jaw. I never want to offend anyone. I can sound critical, but I kind of am not. I like lumpia, but only when I expect it. If I order a Beer and get Iced Tea. I would complain. But I love iced tea. The childhood memories of the East Coast flavors is what I am searching for specifically. I could say, “1960’s Chinese food”, but not too long about I went to San Francisco and in China Town I found a Chinese food place. When I walked in I could smell it was the same as back East. Very noticeable. I can't remember the name of the place to save my life or I be ordering frozen and fly it down here). I have not been able to even describe it before but I found out there is a history of creation of Chin-Amer dishes that were created by great Chinese chiefs on the east and west coast. I will know tonight if Hong Kong’s - San Diego is that. It may still be good, and not be what I am on the hunt for. Never the less I am on a search for “THE KIND” Chinese’s food of ole NY/SF. whatever the heck it should be called. “Area 51 Chinese Food” hell, I don’t know. But Egg foo young, here I come.

                                              1. re: DRAuten

                                                When I was a young, before electricity, we used go to this place on the bay in Chula Vista that was old school Chinese with Chop Suey, Egg drop soup and other classics..
                                                Can't remember the name but it was by the mound of salt..

                                                BTW, are you the famous acoustic guitarist that kicks serious ass?

                                                1. re: Beach Chick

                                                  Well, thank you.... but currently I am the guitar player that loves old school Chinese food... I've taken on a new roll. Pun intended.... :) Hi! Tell me about yourself...How do you know of me? Alright then, well I went to Hong Hong in San Diego on 4th in Hillcrest. About 9:30 pm. I was really hoping for some SF/NY style ole school Chinese food. We are getting closer. The people working there were animated and tough. I liked it. That front is charming, and when you earn it, you will get into the soft, charming and warm hearted center. It is a style of not putting up with air heads, and having a tough outside. Like the old movies that depicted the Kung fu Master martial artist so hard, and unfriendly to the student, then in time... the boy becomes like a son and the warmth and soft chew center shows itself. Ok back to the food. It was crowded, so it looks like people really like the food. Good sign. I ordered Egg roll, Egg foo young, Chicken Chop Suey and Chicken Chow Mein. Egg roll was beautiful. Golden brown, a little smaller then I had hoped for but very nice looking. Tasted ok. Close, and better than most here in San Diego, but not the exact NY/SF I was looking for. It was handmade which is a plus.Needs some bean sprouts and bamboo shoots in the meat mixture. Egg foo Young, again not hitting the target, but tasty. It was a monster about 2.5” thick X 10” in diameter. It would have been better in 6 smaller pancake sections. The edge crust is some of the flavor you go for, and if it too big you lose some of that character. But the insides were very nice, bean sprouts and lots of eggs, and veggies, such that is the closest to what I remember. Yes, brown mushroom sauce, and it was on top already YEAH!, but too small portion for how huge this matha’ was. Should have had some more brown mushroom sauce on the side. But I liked the overall flavor of it. So far the best I have had in San Diego. Needs some mechanical changes, but I am still searching. The Chicken Chow Mein looks idyllic. Lot’s of bean sprout and no noodles. Most San Diego Chow Mein comes with thick round noodles…. This tasted close, but not a match. It was good but not quite what I was looking for. Same with the Chop Suey. It was good, but not quite there. I think the DNA of ole school NY/SF style that I seek is buried deep inside this place. There has been at some point an ole school Chinese Chef involved in the lineage. But it has been imbedded with the more modern style of today. I bet the other dishes rock, but I already spent 39 bucks on this load of food. Next time I am in the area, I may try some other more meaty dishes. Building was small, simple, and parking was a bi-itch (smile), but it was ok with me. Though the food was not quite what I was after, and I think it was pretty good over all. As I left, I felt like I had met a distant relative of a much missed friend. There was some comfort in that. As Arnold would say, "I'll be back!"

                                                  1. re: DRAuten

                                                    I'm a drummer.
                                                    Welcome to Chowhound!


                                          2. This thread reminds of the "Truth In Advertising" award that I mentally bestowed on the Maggiano chain of Italian restaurants the first time I ate at one in Washington, DC. Their signage at that time included the descriptor: "An Italian-American Restaurant" under their name. Very accurate. It resembled Italian food as remembered by some immigrants who hadn't been home for a very long time and who are putting out a product similar to what they remember as their grandparents cuisine.

                                            I also long for some "good" Chinese-American restaurant dishes. This doesn't meant that I would rather have an old-fashioned Chinese-American restaurant here in San Diego than a high quality, authentic Chinese restaurant. The problem is that we have neither.

                                            My cultural exchange proposal to remedy this situation is to offer the SGV and./or Mountain View in the South SF Bay a two-for-one swap. We send them two taquerias for every authentic regional Chinese restaurant they send us. Win-Win. They would get to explore the subtleties of the perfect Carne Asada Burrito and we might finally get some reasonable Szechuan, Hunan, Cantonese and other provincial Chinese cooking

                                            1. Heavily-modified-for-American tastes, Cantonese-style cuisine can easily be found in Calexico, Mexicali, Tecate and Rosarito.

                                              Chinese laborers from Canton built the railroads and dug the ditches that still supplies a vital source water to California agriculture.

                                              After that work was gone, they were summarily transported and dumped across the border.

                                              They then discovered that Americans and Mexicans were in agreement with their appreciation of the food that these former laborers prepared for themselves.

                                              So, they opened restaurants in order to survive.