Rec for first time "real" chinese food? Willing to drive...
So, the last "real" chinese food I had was years ago at Green Village before it closed. I'm taking my SO, who's never had anything but mall and gringo Chinese, we're not really looking for dim sum, what would be a good place to start out? I'd like to go somewhere that's the real deal, but where I won't be out of place ordering for us (I know next to nothing about ordering Chinese food, I've read a bunch about all the provinces and the differences but I can't remember a damn thing, I remember something like Yellow Croaker with sauteed liver moss at green village...wtf???)
I assume we'll be driving to Rosemead or SG Valley...thanks in advance!
That yellow croaker with liver moss is a winner, and still available at the new Green Village. But since you've already been there, you might narrow it down a bit as to what you want. If you like it really spicy and with strong flavors of Szechwan peppercorns, then Chung King is the place to go.
If you want more mild Cantonese-style seafood, try Triumphal Palace or New Concept. Lots of other choices in this category, I'm sure other posters can help.
We had a great, cheap meal at Macau Street the other night, and ordering was very easy.
For a simpler dumpling-intensive meal, try Din Tai Fung.
If you want to try Islamic-style Chinese, which is heavier and doughier than more familiar varieties, try China Islamic.
Mei Long Village is also good for dumplings and Shanghai style food.
Addresses are easily available through Yahoo or Google; several reviews are listed on my blog in the San Gabriel Valley area.
At most of these places, you'll have the most fun if you go in a group to sample a selection of dishes.