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Any GREAT chinese on the west side??

All my favorites have gone away. Oriental Seafood Inn on Lincoln - gone. Royal Star on Wilshire- gone. Please hook me up with something DELICIOUS. Venice, Santa Monica, West LA area would be best. Thanks.

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    1. re: carter

      second the motion.
      there is no great chinese food on the westside.

    2. I'm a big fan of Hu's Szechuan In Palms. Also, the Golden Bowl next to Real Food Daily on Santa Monica is alright.

      7 Replies
      1. re: PimpinDG

        I think the poster is looking for something more authentic than those. Strange how we were better off in West LA 10 years ago with the original VIP Harbor Seafood, Royal Star, Unicorn Inn and J.R. Seafood than today. VIP Harbor is way downhill and Hop Li doesn't match J.R. Seafood. Hop Woo at Olympic and Sepulveda was dismissed as second tier when it opened up about 5 years ago, but now it may well be the best of the bunch. I believe that the owners of Oriental Seafood Inn did re-open as Lotus, 3905 Sepulveda in Culver City (at the 405 onramp) but this version has been Americanized.

        1. re: Chandavkl

          Exactly right! I am seeking something more authentic. I completely agree that VIP Harbor and Hop Li completely don't cut it. Szechwan is very close to me and right now is my fall back. Will check out Hop Woo and revamped Oriental but won't get my hopes up. While my stomach would have no problem traveling to SGV after I got off work, my head is looking for a quicker fix than that. But it's a relief to know I am not alone in my disappointment with westside chinese-- the first two responses killed me -- they were right on!

          1. re: neverskipsameal

            I recently asked a similar question and Hop Woo was recommended. We tried it and we have returned a seconfd time. It is not great, but it is not bad. It is very reasonaby priced and the lobster is a real bargain for the Westside. I amso like the fried rice. One of the few sit down restaurants in the area that is as cheap as eating at home. BYOB
            -Mateo R

          2. re: Chandavkl

            I agree with Hop Woo. It is good food. One might complain that they don't do dim sum or offer other specialties like xiao long bao or teochew cuisine but I argue that we just don't have the incredible variety that SGV has. Hop Woo's dishes are perfectly acceptable to me if all I want is some conjee, fried rice, noodles, or some basic bbq. When I get a chance, I head out to SGV for more variety.

            To be honest, I don't know what authentic Chinese food is, as I've never been to China. But I have been to Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan, where many people or Chinese extraction live and make food that has roots in Chinese cuisine. I've had food there that has been better than Hop Woo, and I've had food that has been worse than Hop Woo. But most of all, I've had food that is very different than most dishes that Hop Woo offers. But that is not to say that Hop Woo is bad.

            As long as there is the 10 freeway, people will make their pilgrimage from the Westside out to the SGV, the mecca of Chinese cuisine, and the demand for good Chinese food to be sourced in the Westside will stay low. However, as long as Hop Woo keeps doing what they are doing, I will eat there without pretense.

            1. re: bulavinaka

              This is about the most sensible response I have read so far. People have to accept the West side for what it is and that Chinese restaurants cater to the people who live in the area.

          3. re: PimpinDG

            Golden Bowl? Really. Interesting. I have studiously avoided that place because it just looked like scary, gloppy food. What do you like there?

            I work w/in walking distance and I would really love to be able to have any even decent Chinese food in Santa Monica. I had completely given up on Chinese food on the Westside entirely. Just cut it out of my rotation after far too many bland, gloppy disasters.

            1. re: igj

              Isn't it called Golden China? I didn't think it was very good.

          4. This is a topic we see a lot.

            Great Chinese food (as in actual Chinese food) is available only where there are large concentrations of Chinese to support it; this means the San Gabriel Valley and, to a lesser extent, Irvine.

            There is no "great" Chinese food, in that sense of the word, on the Westside. The nearest would be BBQ Unlimited #2 on Melrose in East Hollywood.

            If you're looking for great Chinese-American food, your options are still quite limited, but there's Hu's Szechwan, for sure. I remember someone talking about a hole-in-the-wall in Marina del Rey, too.

            I guarantee that someone will mention Hop Li... all I'll say is that it would be great Cantonese food in Topeka, but not in L.A.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              Another option is to ask the staff to cook meals for you as if they were cooking for Chinese customers. The staff would almost certainly be able to do it, especially if you ask them in advance.

              1. re: raytamsgv

                I have done this... if you know that they specialise in a particular region, you could ask for dishes that aren't on the menu. This is very common in "real" Chinese restaurants, where you are charged accordingly. The only issue is if the restaurant is owned by people who aren't Chinese (say, Korean), or if there are no Chinese kitchen staff, which can happen.

                I have had fantastic tofu in black bean sauce and xiang du roast duck at restaurant run by people from Hunan province. I get better response if I order in my (admittedly crappy) Chinese than if I order in my (slightly less crappy) English.

              2. re: Das Ubergeek

                There is actually a pretty large westside chinese contigency- the UCLA family housing in palms. I would venture to say that a majority of its thousands of units is comprised of Chinese international students. I live here and my Chinese friends here often lament about the lack of good chinese food in the westside. It's pretty tragic.

                It's amazing that one of the bajillions of restaurants in San Gabriel can't open a chain in the westside. It would do so amazingly well.

                1. re: greengelato

                  Apparently the dollars don't add up. Royal Star was the sister to Ocean Star in Monterey Park and they finally went under last year. Their dim sum business seemed to be thriving, but somebody posted that the owner said it was a money loser. VIP Harbor opened as the West L.A. branch of San Gabriel's Harbor Seafood, but the owners sold out. Hop Li and Hop Woo are branches of chains having branches in Chinatown and the San Gabriel Valley. Only J.R. Seafood opened without a SGV affiliation and they sold out to Hop Li.

              3. there is no good chinese restaurant on the west side. have anyone seen this week's la weekly. there is an article on newport seafood restaurant & i was curious if anybody has been there.

                1 Reply
                1. re: hhh168

                  Great? I live out on the westside and I wouldn't say there are any "good" or even anything resembling "mediocre" chinese food out here.

                2. OK, so the Chinese restaurants on the west side of L.A. aren't as "authentic" as the SGV. Admittedly. But c'mon -- it is still head and shoulders above the "Chinese" food you can get in 98% of the rest of the country.

                  Hu's has tasty shrimp dishes, good szechwan dumplings, and they serve a refreshing little chinese chicken salad with some of their lunch combos. VIP Seafood's dim sum may not be as delicate or unique as many of the huge emporiums in the SGV, but they have the fun carts, a pretty good variety on weekends, and it fits a niche while saving over an hour on the freeways there and back. Hop Li makes a good chicken in black bean sauce or shrimp or scallop entree. Many on this board disdain it, but I enjoy the inexpensive lunch combos at Cheng Du with my favorite hot'n'sour soup and generous entrees of Mongolian beef, shrimp in garlic sauce or their shredded pork with broccoli. Chang's on San Vicente in Brentwood has easy validated parking (not a given in that neighborhood) and an upscale decor and service at reasonable prices.

                  Again, if you desire geoduck clam or chicken feet, it is not here. Sure, there are reasons why the food on the west side is more Americanized. But quit all the bitching. Most of the same posters who look down their noses at westside Chinese also demean the food in Chinatown. True, the SGV has its uniqueness, as do some pockets in San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver. But I'd much rather take my chances at a westside Chinese restaurant rather than the gloppy crap that some posters love from their growing up in NYC's Chinatown. There is good, tasty, satisfying Chinese to be had on the westside, if one investigates the strengths and weaknesses of the given restaurants and chooses and orders accordingly.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: nosh

                    Well, if I lived in Kansas or even Santa Barbara I'd be satisfied with places like Hop Woo, VIP Harbor Seafood, and probably even Little Hong Kong on Sawtelle. I think it's the fact that there's such great stuff a half hour away when there's no traffic, but an hour and a half away when the freeway is jammed, that's a little frustrating for Westsiders.

                    1. re: Chandavkl

                      Hop Woo for their crab or lobster is fine. Most unfortunately, it is the traffic that confines us to West LA. There are a few dishes at Hop Woo in WLA that we like, and that makes it worthwhile.

                    2. re: nosh

                      You are a poet in the making...

                    3. Has anyone ever tried Uncle Chen's on Ventura? Every time I go to Tony Roma's across the street I see it but I haven't had the chance to check it out. I actually ate at an Uncle Chen's in Santa Barbara (I think it was SB...kind of a long time ago) and it wasn't all that bad. I try to stay away from Chinese food, but sometimes you just get that craving.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: onigiriyumyum

                        ICK ICK ICK. Gwailo food with brown gloppy sauce.

                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                          Yea, that probably applies to BOTH places, especially T.Roma's!

                          1. re: sel

                            Is it just me or did TR (1) increased their prices (2) decreased the quality of their beef?...I don't really go there anymore for these two reasons. In any case, thanks for the heads up about UC's, I don't think I'll be looking at that place the same way!

                        2. re: onigiriyumyum

                          Maybe as bad as Chinese food gets in the Valley.
                          Truly dreadful.

                          1. re: carter

                            You have to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em... there are maybe 2 or 3 Chinese places in the Valley worth eating at, all of them in slightly "rougher" neighbourhoods.

                        3. If you don't mind driving a little east, Hunan Taste on the corner of Olympic and San Vincente, just past Fairfax is very good. Same family as Yang CHow. Good food at reasonable prices and good service.

                          1. My family gets delivery from Golden Hunan on Reseda and Devonshire, near the McDonald's, in Northridge. They use quality ingredients and are a family-run business, with a loyal customer base. We've probably ordered from them for 20 years. I just realized this post is about the west side, but Golden Hunan is in Northridge, in case anyone wants a place in the San Fernando Valley.

                            Also, I would categorize this place as Chinese-American, for lack of a better term. They serve an ethnically diverse clientele, and all of the menu items are pretty recognizable. You will probably find more adventurous options in the San Gabriel Valley, but the quality at Golden Hunan is always high. My mom will eat there, and she is hard to please, when it comes to food.

                            If you are ever in Northridge, check it out. I recommend the dishes with shrimp. It seems to me that they use fresh shrimp of a nice size, as opposed to frozen shrimp, and you can taste the difference.

                            Golden Hunan
                            (818) 363-5511
                            10334 Reseda Blvd
                            Northridge, CA

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: katkoupai

                              I actually think Little Hong Kong on Sawtelle is pretty decent. In my mind, it comes quite close to the casual joints we get back in Hong Kong (the "tea restaurants", like Tsui Wah). They have a wide range menu of Hong Kong style casual cantonese food (i.e. rice noodles, rice porridge and Hong Kong style baked rice dishes). If you're not looking for anything fancy, this is a pretty good choice :)

                              For those of you not familiar with Hong Kong style canto food, you might find some of the choices oddly Western for Chinese food (like fish with corn or baked pork chop with rice), but that's actually the way they make them in Hong Kong, it's like a strange fusion, but yummy.

                              I've had the Singapore style fried rice noodle, the fish with corn, and the baked seafood casserole with rice, all of which I'd highly recommend.

                              2129 Sawtelle Blvd (Cross Street: Mississippi Avenue)
                              Los Angeles, CA 90025
                              (310) 478-7329

                              1. re: vbabe

                                Their ma po dou fu is quite good as well.

                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                  Really...mapo tofu?! That's surprising for a Chinese place on the west side, particularly one that doesn't specialize in sichuan cuisine...

                                2. re: vbabe

                                  I ate at Little Hong Kong for a while back in the mid-90s, but after really stepping back and judging alot of the stir-fry dishes, I started to realize that the kitchen used lots oil and salt to smooth and accent flavors. What is your opinion? This is one of those places that I wanted to like but couldn't keep going back to...

                                  1. re: bulavinaka

                                    Hmmm...in general, I would have to say that Cantonese food can be quite greasy and heavy, stir-fry dishes in particular. I went for lunch with a friend at Little Hong Kong recently, and he ordered some tofu stir fry that looked like your typical avergae chinese take out with brown sauce, so I tend to agree the stir-fry dishes may not be spectacular there... having said that the stuff that I have ordered have been quite good though, so guess it really depends on what you order.

                                    To be honest, I can't even be bothered with Chinese food around the area, but the lesser of the evils, and if you're just looking for a casual decent Chinese meal, it makes the cut.

                                    1. re: vbabe

                                      Fair enough... I concur on the Cantonese use of oil, but some have a heavier hand than others... and I agree that their food in general is tasty... thanks for your thoughts!

                                    2. re: bulavinaka

                                      Restaurant cooking is often heavier in oil and salt, especially compared to what Cantonese people eat at home. Cantonese cook will often add a extra oil at the end of cooking to make the dish look shinier. You can always request less oil for most of your dishes. You can usually request less salt, too.

                                      1. re: raytamsgv

                                        Thanks... I tend to stick with the places that have a lighter hand or order dishes that I feel are lighter as I always forget to request this...

                                  2. re: katkoupai

                                    In the westside, the only Chinese restaurant I can stand is Little Hong Kong Cafe on Sawtelle. It isn't phenomenal, but I have never been disappointed.

                                  3. VIP Harbor is awful, imo. For old-school standard Chinese, the best I've found thus far is Chang's on San Vicente. Don't go there looking for spicy, but the General Tso's is freshly fried and the vegetables (e.g., sauteed string beans with garlic) are fresh and high quality. Little Hong Kong Cafe is next on my list.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: a_and_w

                                      VIP Harbor used to be good, but that was in 1997. It was probably better at that time than the parent Harbor Seafood in San Gabriel.

                                    2. another vote for little hong kong cafe here. although bewared, don't go in expecting great traditional dishes... they have ok rice noodles and rice platters in cantanese style, but i usually stay off the rest of the menu. it'll hold you over until you are willing to drive 45 mins in traffic to go to sgv. i love their cream chicken and corn soup! reminds me of my mom's but better. just don't tell my mom that.