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Getting desperate for 50's Chinese food!

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Far East, Sankoro, Tin Sing, New Formosa is there anything left? I tried Paul's Kitchen on San Pedro and was VERY disappointed. Does anyone remember Sankoro on First St? You could see City Hall from the upper window and it was the tallest building in LA, so that gives you an idea of the time I'm looking at, mid to late 1950's.

I am willing to travel for the old school standards of pakkai, almond duck and a big fatty patty of homyu (NOT the fishy kind).

All leads would be appreciated!

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  1. Homyu is the stinky fish they put on the steamed minced pork.
    Too bad to hear you don't like Paul's Kitchen downtown, but that may be the last of the decent 50's style joints.
    Maybe try Kim's Restaurant on Crenshaw Blvd. (it's around the back)
    3860 Crenshaw Blvd Ste 105

    6 Replies
    1. re: monku

      How is the Paul's Kitchen in Monterey Park on Atlantic?

      1. re: Burger Boy

        PK's in MP has been going downhill for years. Last week I spoke with the owner of PK's downtown (he's a cousin of the 2 brother's who own PK's in MP). He said they want to sell the business but not the building which they own.

        1. re: monku

          I was really disappointed with PK's in Monterey Park. I went especially for the Sweet and Sour Almond Duck. No comparison as to what we used to be a ble to get in this city.

      2. re: monku

        Do you go to PK often. My cousing and I were really excited because of your posting and went Saturday 8/2. We ordered everything we would have ordered if we were at Far East or Sankworo. Every item was a real disappointment, not only for '50's food, but for any rating basic chinese food. Char siu was all fat and tought. Got only 4 pieces of pineapple with our pakkai, and flavor was like fast food chinese plus it also was tough.

        I will give Kim's a try. Thank you.

        1. re: homyufan

          In your original post you said you went and said it was "Very disappointing." I'm surprised you'd go again.

          I go there a few times a month. I like their BBQ pork chow mein, home made sausage, shrimp with lobster sauce, sometimes get the almond duck, wor won ton which is a meal in itself and the complimentary seaweed soup with the fried noodles. I like the chow mein because they use the fat chow mein noodles. Never had fatty tough char siu there. Almond duck from the 50's is something I don't think people understand, but that's what it was like....they take duck and mix it with flour to make a paste then bake it in a pan and pour brown gravy over it. I've been there several times and former Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda has been eating there...yeah, he's probably no gourmet and PK's probably contributed to his poor health.

          Don't go to Kim's if you didn't like PK's. I put PK's a level or so above Kim's.

          Sometimes I think people's taste change over time and what they thought was good back in the 50's doesn't live up to their expectations 50+ years later. I don't think the food at PK's has changed, how can it? They're using the same recipes, ingredients (they aren't exotic ingredients-mostly American meats and veggies) and same kitchen and equipment. Forget Far East (Chop Suey), they couldn't get the original recipes from the original owners.

          I think people have good memories of places like Far East and PK's because that was their introduction to Chinese food. My favorite lunch in elementary school was when they had chicken chop suey...and it was probably from Chung King in a can. My grandfather had a Chinese American restaurant back in the 50's in the midwest and that's what the food was like (served on those stainless steel dishes)so maybe its more about the memories and not about the culinary attributes. His restaurant was unique in that one side of the menu was Chinese and the other was strictly American...you could order a Maine lobster, prime rib, steaks, fried shrimp, spaghetti & meatballs, veal parmigiana *(he used pork because he said it tasted better), hamburgers and sandwiches.

          If you ever have the courage to go back, before you order talk to Charlie the owner and have him order for you and express your disappointments in the past. I think he'll make it right.

          1. re: monku

            Thanks for the input on Kim's and also I definitely would not go back to Paul's. I agree with you %100 that what we experienced when were younger probably made an exceptional imprint on us whether pro or con. I'll still keep looking for my yummy memories! As far as the almond duck is concerned, places like Sankworo (however you spell it)
            did not use the flour mix but had the slice duck meat in the gravy. I just remembered there is a place called Spring Gardens in Pasadena that that has a good almond duck that is the carved meat style. I'm glad you pointed out that the squares is a traditional type of duck because when we were at PK's we were surprised at what we got.

      3. Hom(salty) yu(fish) will get you the salted fish you don't really want, so leave those words out when you order. Jeng (steam) jee yook(pig meat) is the steamed pork patty you are seeking.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Sarah

          "homyufan".....what are they thinking?

          1. re: monku

            Salty fish rice?

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              That came to mind.
              Chicken fried rice with salted fish...I get it at May Flower.

          2. re: Sarah

            hopefully with sliced chinese sausage on top rather than the salted egg.

          3. Trying to think what Cantonese restaurants not already mentioned that have been in continuous operation for a long time. There was a thread on Bamboo Inn on 7th St., but I don't think the food is very good. I think Ho Sai Kai on Western is still in business and also Chinese Garden in Montebello (856 N. Garfield) but I haven't been to either one in probably 15 to 20 years. What was originally called Paul's Kitchen #2 back in the 1960s is still in operation as Tim's Kitchen. It's on Jefferson, east of Crenshaw, but I don't know what the food is like these days. And there's the much discussed Fu Wing Low in Fountain Valley which replicates some of the Man Fook Low menu.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Chandavkl

              If anyone has gone to Ho Sai Kai please post a review.. that's where my folks would always go when I was little. First to their tiny hole in the wall on Western, and then to their "new modern" building they moved into that is their present location.. I was just wondering how the place is and if Rosie is still there! (that was like back in the mid 60's)

              1. re: monkuboy

                I will put it on my "to try" list. Thanks

              2. re: Chandavkl

                Went to Tim's a month ago. I live right down the street,anyway the food, Good Cheap, i got the chicken chop suey, shrimp fried rice and wor won ton. I am a Far East fan, Tin Sing.... Is Dewey back from his lung cancer at New Formosa in Boyle Heights? Kim's is OK to me, Now I gotta try Ho Sai Kai.....

              3. What about Dragon in K-town?

                Dragon Restaurant
                966 South Vermont Ave
                Los Angeles

                2 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Isn't that Korean style Chinese?

                  1. re: Hershey Bomar

                    Yep, Korean-Chinese. I suppose the emphasis on fried food in Korean-Chinese cuisine is kind of 1950's. But even standard dishes will be slightly different -- don't go there expecting to get bright red sauce if you order sweet and sour pork.

                2. Forget Canton City in Montebello. Went there about a month ago on a CH rec and it was horrible.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: monku

                    Canton City in Montebello has the best egg foo young I've eaten in SoCal and their chop sueys and wonton soup are good too. Can't vouch for their other menu items. If you want to talk about horrible Chinese food, Chinese Garden in Montebello and Chop Sticks in Arcadia take the cake IMHO!

                    1. re: SoCal Foodie

                      Maybe I ordered the wrong thing?
                      Sweet & sour rib combination...ribs were boney, hardly any meat but plenty of doughey batter.....eeeeeeeech ! We also ordered the chow mein and it was nothing to write home about either. Egg rolls were kind of classic NY style and were the only thing I'd go back for.

                    2. re: monku

                      My husband used to love Canton City but the last time we went, he had to admit that the food was awful. I'd always told him it tasted like I imagined that cardboard would taste. The food is way overcooked and tasteless. And forget
                      Chinese Garden on Garfield north of Canton. They are even worse than anyone can imagine, food and service.

                    3. Wow, a real blast from the past. I too grew up eating Chinese food from those kinds of restaurants. I do remember a San Kwo Lo(?). Our family ate there often when in J-Town.

                      I went to Paul's Kitchen in MP for nostalgia's sake with my wife and mother, and really disliked the food. We had chashu chow mein, almond duck with sweet/sour sauce, and shrimp egg fu young. My yearning for nostalgic LA Chinese food died last night.

                      The chow mein was alright, but I guess I love Hong Kong Style CM more. The Pressed duck was not very pressed at all and the sauce was weak. And I guess I don't know why I missed egg fu young so much.

                      Wife is from Hawaii, and on our next annual trip we will try the old Chinese food there, like Kin Wah in Kaneohe, but I really think this kind of Chinese food is becoming just that, a thing of the past.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Ogawak

                        Oh. I'm so happy that there is someone else who remembers Sankworo. Everyone always talks about Far East, but Sankworo was just as good.
                        I need to ask if you ate the "almond duck" there. When we went to PK's San Pedro, I ordered almond duck and got the spongy squares. At Sankworo, when we ordered almond duck we got real duck meat in a brown gravy on top of a bed of shredded lettuce topped with chopped almonds. Is that the pressed duck you mention?

                        Sadly, I am afraid you may be right.
                        I too have realtives

                        1. re: homyufan

                          That duck you described was what we got at PK/MP. Just horrible. I hope you find what you are looking for. Please post if you find anything decent.

                          Far East Cafe had the history and all, but we liked San Kwo Lo (Sankoro) better. Sad when it closed. When Akasaka Hanten opened up in the old Weller Court, we went there, it was a Tokyo-style Chinese food, a different slant. The way things are going in Little Tokyo, we might be talking about the best Korean BBQ places there pretty soon.

                          1. re: homyufan

                            I remember San Kwo Lo! That and Ho Sai Kai were the two places my folks used to take us to when I was little. San Kwo Lo had an upstairs and downstairs, right? And they would always put the rice in these bowls and make a dome with it on top. We never went to Far East, always San Kwo Lo.

                            1. re: monkuboy

                              Upstairs was the best! I was always afraid I would fall out the window it was so low. Also you could see the sparks coming off the cable car connections. Hmmm I think I just really dated myself.
                              The rice was always perfect like an igloo.

                              1. re: homyufan

                                That's a good description - rice like an igloo, haha.. good one!

                        2. Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. Planes depart regularly for the Bay Area.

                          1. Just did a Google on Wok Inn at 11 Santa Monica Place. I believe it is in the mall or promenade or whatever the heck it is that they call it. The Wok Inn was started by the children of the owner of Man fook Low. I was in there about 10 years ago and out of memories decided to try it. I ordered egg foo young, S & S Pork and ried rice. While I was checking out the gentleman at the register addressed me by name and it was in fact the son of Frank who owned Man Fook Low. The food was really quite good for the setting (no ambience at all, it's in a food court) and if it is still owned by the same family it may well be worth taking a look at.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Hughlipton

                              Isn't Santa Monica Place being smashed to smithereens?

                              1. re: Hughlipton

                                The entire Santa Monica Place is closed for complete rennovation, excluding Macy's, which is still open. It will be an open air mall

                                Don't know if the original food court occupants will still be there when it open again Fall 2009.

                              2. Here's another you might want to try if you still have a little faith in me. Canton Ktichen, its a take out only place (featured in the movie Rush Hour 2 with Jackie Chan and Don Cheadle as the Chinese restaurant owner). Been there since the 50's and all Chinese cooks in the kitchen, son of the original owner runs the place.
                                Canton Kitchen
                                12511 Venice Blvd
                                Los Angeles, CA 90066 (Mar Vista-near the corner of Centinella)
                                (310) 398-0030

                                There's also New Moon (original was on San Pedro St. back in the 50's when that was Chinatown). They've moved on a bit from the 50's cuisine that they were known for, but still have a few of the original items they were known for. Their claim to fame is the Chinese chicken salad (they say they invented it). Locations downtown LA (across from the California Mart), Montrose and I see now in Valencia.
                                http://www.newmoonrestaurants.com/

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: monku

                                  Of course I have faith in you. You're the one that got me to bring this subject up again after reading your older postings.

                                  I had completely forgotten about the New Moon. Another to add to the list.

                                  1. re: homyufan

                                    An interesting thing about these old time places mentioned is they're mainly patronized by Mexican families. I go to places like PK's downtown or MP and I'm practically the only Asian eating there. I think next to Mexican food, Mexican's love Chinese food.

                                    Other night I was on the edge of Thai town and a friend kept insisting I go to this place called Sunshine Restaurant(she's lives next door to the owner) so I decided to check it out. It's literally a hole in the wall Thai restaurant at 861 N. Western (between Melrose & Santa Monica) with an "A" rating no less. The owner told me he's been there 30 years and looks like it. He looked about 80 and waiting on tables with a couple Mexican guy's helping him out. Place is full of Mexican's and they're all ordering the house special soup and eating it with rice-some kind of red spicy soup with seafood. It isn't your usual "Americanized" Thai restaurant menu....no mee krob, grilled satay sticks or Thai bbq chicken. Pretty authentic Thai stuff with the papaya salads, soups and curry dishes. It was just OK, but maybe I'm probably used to Americanized Thai food like at Original Thai BBQ or Saladang.

                                  2. re: monku

                                    I had the horrible misfortune of trying Canton Kitchen after reading about their eggrolls on this board. It was truly awful. I remember getting two dishes, probably a chicken and a beef (maybe pork). What I do recall was truly disgusting meat -- gristle, tough, flabby. I recall thick, overwhelming, gloppy gravy. I asked for spicy, but whatever flavor existed was bland. I really wanted to like the place -- it is convenient to places I shop and eat, the prices are good, and I admired the simplicity. But gosh, never again.

                                  3. Anyone been to Lotus Garden in Covina? I've driven past it many times, but never have eaten there and it's been around since '75. Their menu is definitely old-school Cantonese.

                                    Lotus Garden Restaurant
                                    458 W Arrow Hwy, Covina

                                    http://www.lotusgarden.verizonsupersi...

                                    1. I'm really not sure if this is what your looking for but there's a chinese diner in Van Nuys called Won's. Their menu is a combination of american diner and 50's old school style chinese- like egg foo yung, chow mein, and sweet and sour pork. They have the best wor wonton soup. It has to have been there at least 30 or 40 years. Everyone from the Van Nuys courthouse ate there. It's on Gilmore St. near Victory and Van Nuys Blvd. You might want to check it out.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: mushky

                                        Sounds hopeful, thanks

                                        1. re: mushky

                                          Good call....a Chinese diner. Portions are huge and very popular with cops and local city workers.

                                        2. This is kind of funny as I'm old enough to remember that when Szechuan and Mandarin places started showing up in LA in the mid-1970s, foodies proclaimed it is a triumph and the chop-suey palaces, most of which really were pretty awful, were gleefully abandoned.

                                          That said, it seems to me there are a couple of Chinese places in the Farmers' Market that continue to offer chop suey, egg foo yung, etc.

                                          1. I think you will be happy with this place. It is called Chinese Garden on Garfield just south of th 80 frwy in Montebello. It is almost directly across the street from the Montebello Golf Course entrance. It is pretty much like the old Far East style food. They have all of the favorites egg foo young, hom yu, almond duck etc Decor is nothing to speak of and Macy, the owner's daughter will tell you that. She is a hoot!! She is almost like an older American born Chinese version of an Ed Debevic waitress. :-) The waiters wear the customary for that style restaurant white shirt, used to have bow ties and black pants. If this place doesn't do it for you, I heard there is another place in the Bellflower called Ming's, but I have not been there so I cannot attest to that.

                                            Chinese Garden
                                            856 N Garfield Ave
                                            Montebello, CA 90640
                                            (323) 722-6484

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: mpron

                                              Who cares about decor! I'm getting all giddy thinking that I might get my homyu patty! I think I will bump the Chinese Garden to the top of the list. thanks!!

                                              1. re: homyufan

                                                Let me know how Chinese Garden is.
                                                I play golf at Montebello CC regularly and never see anyone going in or out (lunch time?), but some people I play with have said it was OK...that old style American Chinese. If you ever want a great burrito across the street is J&S and Montebello CC Coffee shop makes a pretty darn good 1/2 pound hamburger and lately I've been having their Thai chicken salad for lunch with surprisingly is the best I've had.
                                                Word of warning....right turn on Garfield when you get off the 60 Freeway (eastbound) make sure the light is green or you come to a full stop if its red then turn right...they give out lots of photo tickets for rolling right turns ($381).

                                                1. re: monku

                                                  I think I'm becoming obsessed about this food! I called Chinese Garden and spoke with "Jane". She said they did have the old homyu patty NOT the fishy kind. She said to call in 1/2 hour before coming so they could prepare it. Hours of operation are 11:30 to 9:00, closed on Mondays. I am going to try really hard to go this Sunday.

                                                  I am so impressed at all the places you have been to and thanks for the heads up on the photo tickets.

                                                  1. re: homyufan

                                                    Now I know why I never see anyone going in there....I'm usually leaving the golf course by 11am.
                                                    J&S for a great machaca burrito. Open 24 hours and CHP eat there quite often.
                                                    Report in LA Times a few months ago said City of Montebello generates $90,000/month from 3 photo enforced intersections and that's one of them.

                                                    1. re: monku

                                                      Finally made it on Sunday the 10th Chinese Garden about 5:00. Only 2 couples there Ordered the standards pork chowmein, pakkai, HOMYU, pea chow yu. and char siu, almond duck. Here's the comparison to "my memory china meshi".
                                                      Chowmein- Lots of bean sprouts (not bok choy) flavor excellent. The pan fried noodles were mixed in (not underneath) but that's OK
                                                      Pakkai(pork) This was the clencher. It was just the right color, orangy-brown, not red, and the meat was so tender. EXACTLY like I remembered. Pineapple and celery only no bell peppers but that's OK bell peppers are expensive right now.
                                                      Homyu -Although physically it was not my dream fat patty but a very thin patty, the flavor was there. I think that they have cut out a lot of the fat (one recipe calls for 50% fat, 50% pork meat) so the texture was chewier and the flavor a little subdued. But all that set aside , I think this is the closest I'll get.
                                                      Pea chow yu- Good flavor, fair amount of peas , celery, onion, water chestnuts and pork. (I put pork in every thing)
                                                      Charsu - Flavor just like I remember. The only problem was it was cut in thick slices unlike the thinner slices. Maybe they'll cut them thin on special request.
                                                      Almond duck- Evn though this was the breaded square type I thought I would try it. Pleasantly surprised to find that this was far better than Paul's. The squares actually had larger pieces of meat in them. The gravy flavor was also very "authentic"

                                                      What really told me that I found what I was looking for was...When they brought to the table a big igloo of rice!! Yes, just like Sankworo!

                                                      I will continue to try out all the other places so kindly suggested, but I know I will go back to Chinese Garden as much as possible so they don't disappear into the sunset as have all the others.

                                                      1. re: homyufan

                                                        OK....if you said its better than PK's, I'll give it a try on your rec.
                                                        I was across the street last week having a burrito at J&S and thinking about going to China Garden instead, but didn't want to take the chance.

                                                    2. re: homyufan

                                                      Try Wings in Yorba Linda
                                                      18553 Yorba Linda Blvd
                                                      It's like going in a Time Machine back to 1950's or 60's including menu, decor and waiters. The Egg Rolls are the best outside of NYC and it's quite reasonable.

                                                    3. re: monku

                                                      Monku, is Montebello CC the golf course coffee shop? Hate to sound so dumb but never heard of it referred to as country club so want to make certain because I have to go try the Thai chicken salad. Thanx

                                                2. Had lunch today with my old grade-school buddy from back in Illinois, who was reminiscing about the oldfashioned Anglicized Chinese food at a place called Howard's, down in South-Central LA someplace. He remembers it from his days as an LAPD reserve officer - said it was a serious cop magnet, which seals its bonafides in my books. Anyone know if it's still around?

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                    Maybe Howard's Cafe at 1051 S. Alvarado in Pico Union. It's been around off and on for over 20 years, but I don't think it's a classic Cantonese restaurant going all the way back.

                                                    1. re: Chandavkl

                                                      I recall my aunt living in that area and I took her to a Howard's in the early '70's. But, at that time it was like Denny's type of restarurant.

                                                  2. If you happen to be in the Orange County area, specifically Little Saigon, Wong's would be a good place to try. They've been there since the 1960's - and they look it! Don't let that dated decor scare you away, though. If you're really jonesin' for old style Cantonese food, it's the place my family has discovered after the demise of our standby in the 1980's, Tom Cod in Long Beach. I'm not sure about the homyu, but everything else I've eaten reminds me of "home". Sweet and sour, almond duck, pan-fried noodles...If it's cold, try their wor won ton soup. My carpenter grandfather loved the latter dish so much that he build a wooden "take-out" holder so the soup wouldn't slosh around! When my Japanese-American family has eaten there, we were the only Asians...most of the other clientele that I've seen have been retiree types, so definitely don't go looking for "authentic" Chinese food. Good luck in your quest!
                                                    BTW, is the Tin Sing you mentioned the one that was in Long Beach?
                                                    Wong's
                                                    10642 Westminster Ave.
                                                    Garden Grove, CA 92843
                                                    (714)537-4920

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: OCretrogirl

                                                      The Tin Sing I'm referring to was in Gardena.

                                                      1. re: homyufan

                                                        Tin Sing? I remember that place! And my folks would always make sure to order their homyu. Me, I refused to eat it because it looked so nasty. Redondo Beach Blvd., right?

                                                      2. re: OCretrogirl

                                                        Thank you so much for this post. I will definitely try Wong's. My family used to go to Tom Cod's too, my grandmother used to take us there for special occasions. I've been wondering what happened to that place, but could never remember if I was getting the name right, I was under ten years old the last time we went.

                                                      3. Wow!!!!!! Pork homyu was THE dish of adults (and some of us) in the 50s at the Fuji Cafe (Fully Chinese in spite of the name) in the West Side of Fresno! What I would give...!!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                          You're right. Seems that only my dad and uncle got a whole patty. My older boy cousins may have split one, but I know that I only got a couple of bites probably because I was younger and a girl. Even back then they must have known all that fat wasn't the healthiest choice because my mother always would say it wasn't good for us....sure did taste good though!

                                                        2. You might want to try Mings in Bellflower. They have the bright orange 50's style booths, cork ceilings, fake bonsai plants etc.. They've been around for 55 years I think. It's at 17812 Bellflower Blvd / cross street is Cedar. Right off the 91 fwy, Bellflower Blvd exit. I LOVE their pork egg rolls...they are delish.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: BShoemaker

                                                            Thank you for the input. I will put Ming's on my list. I have several places to try, so I had better pace eating! I went to Chinese Garden in Montabello and the decor was close to what you described but the food was what I remembered! Thanks again.

                                                          2. Haven't tried Chu's Kitchen myself, but angelenic.com just reviewed a couple of Chinese restaurants -- incl Chu's -- located in the Historic Core of Downtown L.A.

                                                            http://www.angelenic.com/3050/indulgi...

                                                            1. If you're still looking, I just remembered a place out in the Pico/Sepulveda area that was the 50's type food and was pretty good. It was a place called "Chung King" I believe and it was on Pico a little west of the 405 freeway. I think it still may be there.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Neta

                                                                Chung King became Cheng Du about three years ago.

                                                                1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                  Haven't been there since I retired. Thank you for the info.

                                                              2. Well, I think we found your answer. Fu Shing in the North Torrance/Gardena area. According to my auntie (old time Gardena lady) the cook from Tin Sing is now at Fu Shing. It's in a small strip mall on the southwest corner of 182nd Street & Western with the 99 cent store (formerly Albertsons). The almond duck (in the brown gravy), pakkai, pan fried noodle chow mein & pork egg roll were pretty much as we remembered from Tin Sing. In fact, when we were in there, a lady ordered something "Tin Sing style"! I didn't see if they had hamyu on the menu. The owner said they brought back almond duck because of the requests, so I'm sure they'll do the same with hamyu if they get enough people wanting it. I also miss the days of good old Cantonese food from Tin Sing, Eagle Cafe & Mishima's (tacky tiki place on Western).

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: mamayama

                                                                  Oh my God! I miss the Tin Sing chow mein so much. mamayama thank you for your post, I will try Fu Shing tomorrow! I registered just so I could thank you for your post. The Tin Sing chow mein set the standard as far as I'm concerned. Thick noodles with the little blackened spots, bok choy, the gravy... Mamayama thank you so much! I might have to get in the car tonight. I was absolutely devistated the day I walked up to Tin Sing and found the "Thank you for your forty years of patronage, we are retiring..." sign on the door. I lived two blocks away for twenty years and frequently walked over for an order of the Tin Sing Special Chow Mein. I will report back. Yesterday I was in San Francisco and was lamenting as to how much I missed Tin Sing's chow mein. I had searched CH on several occasions hoping for good news, I guess today was the day...

                                                                2. I remember a curved counter way in the rear of the Grand Central Market downtown, that served very inexpensive chop suey, chow mein, and other Americanized Chinese dishes. Anyone know if it is still around? I think it is long gone...

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: nosh

                                                                    Is it by the west side entrance? If so It's still there....

                                                                    1. re: nosh

                                                                      I believe it was called Sun Sun and was owned by the person who owned a typical 50's chinese restaurant on Victory near Fulton. His name was Nelson. It was the first time I ever tried sweet and sour chicken drumettes that were carried on the menu as chicken pops. Tonga Hut bar is still there but Nelson and his fabulous amercanized Chinese cuisine is long gone and hard to find.

                                                                      1. re: Hughlipton

                                                                        I'll second the recommendation for Won's Coffee Shop in the heart of historic Van Nuys, California.

                                                                        If your idea of an appetizer is a bowl of crispy-fried Chung King-style noodle things (what the heck are they called anyway?) and a small bowl of ketchup with a dab of hot yellow mustard in the center, Won's is your place.

                                                                        Virtually everything is served accompanied by the chop-suey mishmash of cooked/steamed celery, onion, broccoli, water chestnut, and bean sprouts -- even the pork noodle soup (essentially Top Ramen-esque noodles served with a generic broth, a generous helping of the chop-suey, and chunks of tender pork; douse the stuff in Tabasco and you'll be just fine). The classic BBQ pork ribs are bright neon-red in color, just like the old days, and joyously chewy and fun to pick apart. Big scoops of "fried rice" accompany almost every meal -- it's good stuff, too, just like you remember from childhood. The egg rolls are good old deep-fried cylinders stuffed with a mixture of undetermined vegetable and meat matter -- why the need for specifics when the memory-refreshing tastes will do?

                                                                        Like any good old fashioned Chinese/American place, there's a great selection of American-style food available to the casual diner -- the cheeseburger, while not spectacular, is danged fine in its own right, as are the flash-frozen fries. Try a grilled cheese and fried egg on toasted sourdough if that type of thing tickles your fancy.

                                                                        Great prices, and a decent Thai iced tea on the menu (even though it's clearly a Chinese-American establishment).

                                                                        The only drawback -- for some -- might be the setting. The 1940's-era building, while incredibly charming (check out those classic, pristine casement windows), feels more like an old-school coffee shop than a Chinese restaurant. And, after all, the place is called "Won's Coffee Shop". Personally, I absolutely love the place "as is" and dread the day this fine family establishment bites the dust due to redevelopment, only to be replaced with a sterile, clean mini-mall dime-a-dozen look-a-like $.99 Chinese Buffet clone.

                                                                        May all your bean sprouts,

                                                                        -cb-

                                                                        1. re: CucumberBoy

                                                                          Enjoyed your post. Laughed about the neon-red pork and the indeterminate matter in the egg rolls. And oh boy, gotta confess that despite my love for Chinese food now, as a kid when the folks got the domed stainless steel dishes I was the kid who ordered the cheeseburgers. (They were sorta steamed, and really good.)

                                                                    2. i just went to fu shing last wednesday for lunch.....if 50's chinese food is what you seek, this is the place. ..from the decor to the menu items.....even the flavor of the hot tea served is from that time.....prices are reasonable....ordered shrimp egg foo young and chop suey (my standards from college days).....dont see that too often.... yes this is the place..... hom yuk was on the menu but i did not order it....have never had it....will try it next time.....lunch specials were varied and averaged $6.95 for two items and rice.....waitress was very nice and she did confirm that the cook is from tin sing....

                                                                      1. Realy fun reading these posts...I too began my adventures in Chinese cuisine in 1957, eating at Man Fook Low and several other places. I notice everyone pronounces the dish "homyu". I recall it pronounced "homyuk"? Not one of my favorites, but pressed duck? Ahhhhh.....old Little Tokyo gone, old San Pedro Chinese joints gone - don't really have any superior places to add to these old timers although I've tried places all over southern CA. Modern ingredients not the same - maybe the grime in those old places added to the flavor! hah!

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: LAbaby

                                                                          I signed up just so I can post some information to my fellow 'old time' cantonese craving food lovers. First, I grew up going to all the old traditional places downtown. Far East, San Kwo Lo, Man Fook Lo, New Moon, Gen. Lees, Limehouse, Grandstar, Paul Kitchen (all three), and others long forgotten. Later to Tin Sing, Eagles, Gung Hey in Gardena. New Formosa in ELA was there for awhile, but they decided to close shop. All are gone. Too bad. I'm always looking for my two favorites. Good hom yuk/homyu and a chow mein with the pan fried noodles. Like fried in a pancake shape and served under the chow mein mix. Not all mixed in. I'm going to try the Canton Kitchen in Montebello and see how that is. But, if you want to go to Torrance/So Bay, try Fu Shings, 182nd and Western, off the 405. The owner/cook cooked at Tin Sing 8-9 years ago. His father was one of the founding uncles. So, the knows the Tin Sing recipes for Hom Yuk, pressed almond duck, and chow mein. Hom Yuk in good, $6.95 for a good size portion. Leaner than old times but what can you do. As far as the pressed almond duck, you must request to be fried crispy or it can be mushy. Do the same if you go to PK on San Pedro street. I use to love almond duck as a kid but not anymore. Taste is ok, if enough gravy and fried crispy enough. Pakkai is good, but not exceptional. My favorite pakkai was the Limehouse. Perfectly batter fried pork strips, not fatty and you wouldn't get a bite of sweet and sour batter only. As far as chow mein, as for it Tin Sing style, so there is no mistake. They still don't pan fry a noodle pancake, but it's decent chow mein. Unbelievely, some years ago, at the Szchewan restaurant, on Sepulveda Blvd, in Manhattan Beach, we ordered chow mein, I always ask for pan fried noodles, but never expect to get it. But this was. The chef must have had a background at a cantonese restaurant. Haven't been back, but still remember that. Hope the cook is still there.

                                                                          I went to Paul's Kitchen last year and I thought it was pretty good. Hom Yuk similiar to Fu Shings. I read someone saying that they didn't like it. Nothing is going to taste the same as way back, when all the chinese restaurants were cantonese style. Not fatty and tasty. Would love to hear suggestions like I've read. But truthfully, only an old fart like myself, who can go back in time and remember how it was, can give recommendations that people like me can appreciate. Most younger people have grown up on non-cantonese type chinese reataurants and acquired different tastes. Looking foward to Canton Kitchen.

                                                                          1. re: luvgoodcheapeats

                                                                            Go to Paul's Kitchen and tell them to make the chow mein the way you want it with the noodles pancake style on the bottom and I think they'll accomodate your request. I like it that way too and make it that way at home.

                                                                        2. if homyu is what your looking for.. i suggest you go to Mei Mays in arcadia on duarte.. in the same plaza as Sin Bala close to the corner of Baldwin. They have claypot rice with HomYu and Minced Pork Patty. Im a huge HomYu fan myself. seeing as i grew up eating it. Their HomYu is amazing. Best oil based HomYu I have ever tasted..

                                                                          1. Reviving this thread, wondering whether Homyufan has an update. I had never had homyu growing up, but I did love pressed almond duck. Based on some of the posts here, I finally tried Fu Shing in Torrance, next door to Gardena Ramen and ordered the homyu with the duck.

                                                                            Boy was this good. Maybe not chow worthy, but a real blast from the past. I see why people like homyu, something like a beef patty, and the duck was pressed, not as much as I remember in the past, and served in brown gravy, flowered with almonds on top. But it sure was good old fashion chop suey style Chinese.

                                                                            1. Yes, homyufan, where are you. After your thread jogged my memory, I've stated making pork hom yu - delicious and memory evoking. Thank you!

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                Hi Sam! I haven't been on chowhound since my last post in late August of '08. Things became topsy-turvey for me for quite a while and my quest for homyu got bumped to the bottom of the list. I'm just getting back to the point where life can be enjoyed and appreciated again. I happened to think about homyu just now and wanted to go back over some of the suggestions since there were so many. Hopefully I can get back to my search for the "perfect" homyu patty.

                                                                                1. re: homyufan

                                                                                  Welcome back! I really hope you have things sorted out. I've had fun making and eating pork hom yu! Thank you.

                                                                                  1. re: homyufan

                                                                                    Here's a thread you may have missed from a few days ago.

                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/635527

                                                                                    1. re: homyufan

                                                                                      Welcome back Homyufan.
                                                                                      Still haven't made it to Chinese Garden after you gave it high marks. I'm sure nothings changed there in a year.
                                                                                      I'm still trolling around Paul's Kitchen downtown.

                                                                                  2. Oh, for the return of Shanghai Winter Garden!

                                                                                    1. Try Golden Star in La Habra on Whittier Blvd. Great Almond Duck!

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: SeaCook

                                                                                        Golden Star is a terrific retro-Chinese restaurant that has been there for a long time. I love their egg rolls, which are $2 each---but huge. Their lunch combo's are only $4.75-$5.25 and are a super bargain (my favorite is the "A" with pork chowmein/egg foo yung/rice). Say hello to their friendly lady-owner waitress for me!

                                                                                        1. re: HBfoodie

                                                                                          Will she know who you are if I say HBFoddie? I love their pork chop suey, cashew ding and silver wrapped chiccken. Yes the egg rolls are da bomb!

                                                                                          1. re: SeaCook

                                                                                            She will if you mention the big guy from Huntington Beach!...Its unfortunate that I live so far away from Golden Star and can only eat there when I work occasionally up in the east Whittier area. I notice that their lunch crowd regulars seem to like their big bowls of soup and I will have to give them a try (when the weather cools down).

                                                                                            1. re: HBfoodie

                                                                                              The pork won ton soup is a favorite of mine when I'm sick. It's a bowl of comfort.. I'll say howdie for you next time I'm in.

                                                                                      2. I remember a place called Man Fook Lo on San Pedro Street. I was a kid at the time, but my parents took me there a few times. In the Crenshaw district, there was a fancy Chinese restaurant called Tai Ping. I remember the waterfall and koi fishes. The Japanese American community was tight in those days. We are all spread out now. J-town has been taken over by Koreans and young artist hipster types. The "new" J-town is the Westside - Sawtelle area.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: meg3325

                                                                                          If you look up the thread you'll see reference to Fu Wing Low, operated by one of the former employees of Man Fook Low, which replicates some of that restaurant's menu items. While we lived very close to Tai Ping we only went there once in a while, sticking largely to the places on San Pedro St. (Pauls' Kitchen, On Luck, New Moon).

                                                                                          -----
                                                                                          Fu Wing Low
                                                                                          16545 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708

                                                                                          New Moon
                                                                                          112 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                                                                                          1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                            Stopped by PK's this afternoon and noticed a small sign next to the door saying they started business in 1946.

                                                                                        2. China Cafe at Grand Central Market. I used to eat there for lunch when I worked in Downtown. It's a U-shaped counter and crazy during lunch time. Old-style Cantonese with good won ton soup.

                                                                                          -----
                                                                                          Grand Central Market
                                                                                          317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                                                                          1. Yes, I remember it well. It was our families go to Chinese restaurant. To sit and watch the police cars on First Street was so fun. The trolly cars too. It had a hugh sign that sat outside vertically and lit the entire street front. Many times we would get a big large booth next to the window and the fluorescent sign. It was so cool. My Grandfather knew the cooks so we always had a feast. It was always busy with some banquets or weddings and always a fun place for a kid to explore. It was so old school. The kitchens were on the first and second floor. The second floor was the best. I'll never forget all my family happily walking up those hugh noisy steps. The sound would echo all the way thru the place. The third floor was when it was jammed packed. I'd always watch the army of those great old style Chinese cooks sweating and mixing the fry bowls. I remember my favorite cook. He was bald bald and had these shiny gold teeth. He would smile and wave at me thru the steam as he was sweating and stir frying the chow. It was great!I really miss the great food and atmosphere. Oh how times have changed for the worse. Chung mee Cafe was also a real sleeper back in the day. They had great roast pork w/ gravy. So good. Nowadays it's almost done. BUT today I went for my twice a year drive to Bakersfield. A place near the civic center. It has a owner cook named Michael and Shirley Ming. The most delightful people you could ask for. It's called "Mings Cafe". Remember "Ming's Cafe". Michael used to cook at "Chung Mee Cafe" in China town and now has their own place for many years now. He knows the old school taste and cooks the recipe we miss. Promise. It is real old school roast pork that isn't here in L.A. or San Francisco. Believe me. Check it out. It's worth the taste. During the holidays they have a super banquet of all sorts of special food that will take you back. P.S. The pork chops are to die for. Serious, I have high chlorestoral but still need this fix.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: iamronparis

                                                                                              Interesting that Mings Cafe has far outlived Chung Mee, which closed about 25 years ago. That space on Ord St. is now vacant.