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Oct 2, 2006 05:11 PM

The New Chung King

After a few dozen meals at the original Chung King (the one on Garfield), I was unable to make it out there for about 6 months. During that time, they relocated to San Gabriel Valley Blvd. I just went there yesterday for the first time, and much to my delight, the food was every bit as good as at the original location.

The interior of the restaurant is a bit "fancier" than the original, and from what I can recall of the Hunan place that used to be there, they've sealed off the kitchen and made the place a lot brighter and more cheerful.

But who cares about the decor. It's the food that matters, and it didn't disappoint. The water boiled beef is still potent and rich, the fried chicken is still the most perfectly deep-fried i've ever had, the tofu-gan is clean and bright.

And now, they even carry beer.

Give them a visit...

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  1. No thanks. I tried it once, worst Chinese I've had in years...

    5 Replies
    1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

      Could you eloborate? That is not really helpful. Why was it the worst you had in years? Was it the wait staff that put you off. Was the food not to your expectation?

      1. re: zruilong

        Well, I've never been a big fan of Chung King and I can tell you what's wrong with it.

        Most dishes are overly salted, or too oily.

        Spicy dishes lack depth of character, all you end up tasting is the chili oil or peppers.

        Dishes lack consistency. One day the ma poa tofu will be pungent and salty, and another day it will have an oft-putting sweetness to it.

        The cold, preserved dishes, however, are generally very good.

        As an aside, regarding its new location. It seems so lonely out there on a rather deserted section of San Gabriel Blvd ... can't imagine they get very many walk-up customers ...

        1. re: zruilong

          Ipsedixit said all I would and more. Also the menu is lacking. Even if I found something I liked, there wasn't enough on the menu that warranted going back again. I should have gone to Oriental Pearl, this was right before they went away.

          No problem with the wait staff, they were very nice.

        2. re: calabasas_trafalgar

          The hyperbole on this board never ceases to amaze me.
          I have been about 5 times in the last 4 months. The water boiled dishes are fantastic , as is the kung pao, the spare ribs with prickly ash, and the bacon with leeks. And they are consistent. I have had several other dishes there and they have all been fine except for the dan dan noodles which are underwheliming. I have been there with and without Chinese friends and its been consistent over the last few months. I think it's clearly better and more consistent than Best Sichuan or Lucky Dragon.
          One can quibble about whether its better or worse than one sichuan place or another but to say it's the worst Chinese you have had in years is insane unless you've been living in China.

          1. re: oro3030

            I'm with oro3030 on this one. I'd NEVER had any real Sichuan food until we took a visiting friend (who's had quite a lot) to Chung King. We were delighted with everything we had, including the dan dan noodles, especially the ribs with prickly ash. It was an exhilarating meal, very satisfying and dirt cheap, and we will definitely be back.

        3. I've been to Chung King twice in the last couple of months and I've had great meals there both times. I usually get the ribs with the prickly ash, the diced chicken with chili peppers, the puffed rice with sliced chicken (as a palate cleanser), and then one type of spicy noodle dish. And various bits from the cold buffet.


          1. I went to the Chung King on 260 Garfield (just south of Garvey) last Friday.

            My favorites were the Delicucus Smelled Beef, which were indeed "delicucus," the Fried Chicken Cubes with Red Pepper, and the Eggplant and Fried Cabbage (napa).

            Ribs with prickly ash were just alright, mostly batter and bone and the waitress recommended a fish dish ($12.99)that was again, simply alright. Sorry, I can't remember more specifics right now.

            Rounded it off with two of the cold appetizers: seaweed and pig's ear.

            Apparently, however, the restaurant has moved to San Gabriel Blvd.. Where exactly did I eat?

            1. Don't know if they are related by Chung King on Pico Blvd in West L.A. was quite good. I loved the Shredded Pork with Ginger in Szechwan sauce with Green Beans.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                i believe the place is called cheng du now.

                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                  no relation. the food is quite different. Chungking never had water boiled dishes, or frog or kidneys or even the tea and camphor smoked duck. (that's the pico one).

                2. I went to the Chung King on Garfield yesterday. It is still there. I had the roasted spareribs in prickly ash, the fried cabbage w/sour and chili flavor and the Chung King flavored noodles (Dan Dan). I really like the ribs and cabbage. I wouldn't order those noodles again. They were nothing special.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Neta

                    I went to Chung King (on Garfield) again a few days ago and had the Fried Chicken Cubes with Red Pepper (so unbelievably addicting, the beef with preserved pepper (nothing special and not spicy), the stir fried ong choy (good, but I prefer the preparation with the fermented soy), and a soup (a tart, sourish one with vermicilli - loved it).

                    I also asked a waitress if they were affiliated with the restaurant on San Gabriel Blvd and she denied it vigorously.

                    1. re: Neta

                      So which is it? There seems to be conflicting reports. I always used to go to Chungking on Garfield south of Garvey, but started going to the new one on San Gbariel Blvd because I heard they moved. Didn't notice any difference in the food, though the English translations on the menu seemed different. And now I hear Chungking is still on Garfield and totally unrelated to the Chungking on San Gabriel? Can anyone explain this?