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Jun 21, 2007 05:42 PM

Chinese in Chinatown

I just don't know how to find a really good place there and i need help. I'm looking for specific dish recommendations as well. I'm not particularly into offal, but do eat LOTS of things.

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  1. In Chinatown for Cantonese style seafood you might do pretty well at Hop Li Seafood on Alpine near Hill Street.
    You want stuff like Chow Mein, Jook or noodle dishes then Sam Woo or May Flower are pretty reliable.

    1. Sum Wu, upstairs in that mall next to Ocean Seafood. Still the best Cantonese food in Chinatown.

      5 Replies
      1. re: slacker

        If you're a newbie to Chinatown it's worth noting that "Sum Wu" is a copycat of "Sam Woo". There are half a dozen "Sam Woo" copycats all over Chinatown.

        Mr Taster
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        1. re: Mr Taster

          No, Sum Wu used to be Sam Woo, it was a Sam Woo for many many years. It's only recently that they changed their name, slightly. Not sure if that's because there was a change of ownership and they wanted to differentiate themselves a bit. The guys who work there have stayed on. The cooks in the kitchen and the recipes seem to have stayed on too.
          Across from it is a Sam Woo Cafe (I think that's still the name), serving up Hong Kong/western hybrid food that I can't stand. The other Sam Woo in Chinatown is on Broadway, this is one of the noodle/cafe restaurants of the Sam Woo chain. Where are the copycats you refer to?

          1. re: slacker

            I believe the new Sum Wu name reflects a change in ownership. When restaurants change hands sometimes there is a provision in the contract requiring a name change, sometimes there isn't. There used to be a Sam Woo BBQ takeout in the same building as the upstairs Sam Woo Seafood and Sam Woo Cafe, which was also sold and is now known as San Woo BBQ.

            1. re: Chandavkl

              That's right, forgot about the BBQ.
              And right, I'm sure it was an ownership change. The new owner was smart enough to retain everything else.

            2. re: slacker

              I don't have exact examples off the top of my head, but on many visits to Chinatown I've seen many hilarious permutations of the name to the effect of "Sum Woo" "Sam Wu" "Sun Wo" and the like.

              Mr Taster
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        2. I know it gets little respect on this board, but I always walk out of Yang Chow happy, well-fed, and having had a great time. OK, it is a bit Americanized. But their slippery shrimp is addictive, and Hop Li and other places in Chinatown such as Chinese Friends serve serviceable but pale imitations. Start with the surprisingly spicy won ton soup, include the string beans and eggplant in garlic sauce, add a personal favorite or two and you've got a great meal. I've always had good service there and I appreciate the hot chili oil available on each table along with soy. They even have their Tetris-like parking in the back or validated across the street. I only get there a couple times a year these days, but I still feel like I'm treated a bit like a regular.

          12 Replies
          1. re: nosh

            Funny thing is I never see Chinese people eating at Yang Chow.

            1. re: monku

              That is always a good indicator in books if all the locals are eating there its probably a safe bet and when looking for good Chinese food .......

              1. re: lexnrena

                Yang Chow has good food, but for some reason maybe price Chinese people don't eat there or at Plum Tree.

                1. re: monku

                  We ate at Yang Chow and Plum Tree 25 years ago, but Chinese food has evolved so much since then (in a positive way) and these places didn't. Tried Plum Tree recently because of their new location and it was horrid.

                  1. re: Chandavkl

                    They're doomed to failure there...every restaurant that has been there fails.

                    1. re: monku

                      Yes, well as you may recall from our previous thread on that location, that's because that building is haunted.

                    1. re: silleehillee

                      I second Hop Li. It had been YEARS since I'd eaten in Chinatown (I think YeeMee Lu's (sp?) was still open!), but last Friday, had a great meal. Loved the spicy chicken/asparagus, & my 4 year old mowed the the soft shell crab. Plan to definitely go back soon.

                      1. re: LANative

                        Sorry to chime in here so late but is this Yang Chow related to the one on Topanga Cyn in Woodland Hills? I was there years ago with a friend who swears by the place but I thought it was average at best.

                        1. re: SIMIHOUND

                          Yes, they're related. A third location is in Pasadena.

              2. re: nosh

                I like Yang Chow. I was there in May and definitely saw Chinese people eating.

                The thing about it that bugs me though is having to pay extra for white rice. I haven't been to too many other places - this is not common, is it??

                The Slippery Shrimp is their "famous" dish. I really like their Slippery Chicken and Kung Pao Chicken.

                Avoid the noodles - they really lack flavor.

                1. re: LisaStitch

                  Paying extra for white rice has been going on for a few years now in many Chinese restaurants-usually a per person charge. From what I hear its beginning to happen in Vietnamese restaurants too. (many Chinese restaurants are owned by Vietnamese Chinese--like May Flower).

              3. We have been to Mandarin Chateau a few times in the last several weeks. Pretty good, not great. Very friendly, if the B doesn't scare you off.
                Fine shanghai dumplings....with sliced ginger and vinegar garnish. Ditto hot Eggplant with pork and chicken with mushroom and pea pods. Lions head meatballs and cabbage was in a starchy, gloppy, brown sauce. not so great. shrimp in black bean sauce had whole peas, and the bb sauce was sweetish and not what I am used to, but the shrimp were fresh and uncoated. I am not a fan of breaded or coated shrimp or sweet flavor in chinese dishes.
                That all said, and it is a good place pre-dodger game (Police concert) or pre-Mark Taper, I would still tell all chowers that PCH in Lomita has a growing and deserved reputation for Chinese food. There are at least a half dozen very good Chinese restaurants, with live fish and shellfish tanks.
                Our favorite is Szechuan, but Regal Palace and PCH Chinese are also good.

                1. IN Chinatown, I like to eat at Won Kok on Alpine, just 1 block east of Broadway? There's limited parking there, and I always get their chow fun, while my GF gets the Hong Kong style chow mein. Also, you can get baked and steamed baos and other pastries to go.