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Getting desperate for 50's Chinese food!

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: Das Ubergeek

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

          1. re: Sarah

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

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. 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: 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.