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Jan 3, 2004 07:05 PM

Man Fook Lo Dim Sum

  • r

Just got back from a Dim Sum outing with my family from Hong Kong Palace in Rowland Heights. It was written up in the LA Times a while back. It was average at best.

But the reason I'm posting is because No Dim Sum regardless of where we go with my In-Laws can live up to the reputation of MAN FOOK LO. (sp?) I guess it was a take out place on San Pedro Street in Downtown LA. It's been closed for a long time. It wasn't until a co-worker of mine mentioned this place with the same reverance that my in-laws did that I became I curious.

Does anyone who grew up in LA remember this place? They always talk about the Cha Shu Bao, but I guess Man Fook Lo's didn't have the traditional red pork filling but something like Shu Mai filling in a Cha Shu Bao. If you know where I can find this dish please let me know as I would love to score some points with my wife's family : )

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  1. d
    Dave Feldman

    As a child, I ate at MFL more than any other downtown Chinese, and I don't remember dim sum there. They offered very well-prepared Cantonese.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dave Feldman

      I remember MFL offering dim sum at lunchtime. The list was short and you ordered it from the menu. It wasn't served from rolling carts.

    2. Man Fook Low was not take out. It was an eat in restaurant with old fashioned booths, similiar to the Chop Suey place on First St. that was in many movies. It was Cantonese, before we knew about any other kind of Chinese food. I still remember their great Lobster Cantonese and pork fried rice--never been able to get as good. And of course, you asked for and got your favorite waiter---ours was Paul.

      5 Replies
      1. re: brwencino

        Paul was great but Mr. Yee was the show.

        1. re: Hughlipton

          Hmmm, Yee you say? I wonder if this Mr. Yee went on to open his own place on Slauson, which exists today as Yee's Chinese. Still old school stuff. Some years ago they moved from the north side of Slauson near Overhill to a lot across the street, and their version of pressed duck didn't survive the move much to my chagrin...they were delicious, those small rectangles of squashed duck with a strong sweet and sour flavor.

          1. re: Hughlipton

            Thanks Hughlipton, I'll be sure to tell my Dad you remember him.

          2. re: brwencino

            I'm 84 years old and I still remember eating at Man Fook Low's since I was a young kid. As a married adult, my wife and I always went there when we wanted the best Chinese food ever. Yee was always our waiter, the one thing I will always remember of Yee is that he always spred a table cloth on our table. When ordering I would leave it to him to order for us and we were never sorry. We have been living in Albuquerque NM for over 40 years. Many years ago, we drove a rental car from LAX hoping to have a great Chinese dinner, but to our surprise, MFL was gone. Just the produce markets on San Pedro were there. If any one knows where we can still get food like the old days please let us know.

            1. re: brwencino

              it was also take out, i took out many times, and they had big pink boxes with white string tied around it. when you entered the room with that box, everyone knew it was man fook low, dim was the best in l.a. i had some great ones in canada ... but i miss man fook low

            2. There was a sub-thread with some Man Fook Low content within the larger thread "Eateries of Old LA" from December 18th or so. Sorry but I haven't figured out how to link threads yet, maybe soon. But you don't have to scroll down very far.

              Last night I finally got around to asking my dad if he remembered Yee from Man Fook Low, in response to a query (from Les, I think) in that thread. He didn't, but he instantly recalled that the waiter we always had was Albert.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Debbie

                When we had an office downtown more than twenty years ago we used to drift between Man Fook Low and the restaurant on 9th near Alameda which had the most divine chicken salad and Princess shrimp (I'll remember the name of restaurant soon). I have had dreams over the years of this purposefully blended salad with just the right amount of white (not too much) and dark chicken meat with a dressing you could spoon and fresh won ton crisps. The Princess shrimp were HUGE served in a delicate sweetish sauce (sorry this was a long time ago but I know it was just delicious). Restaurant now pulled down and last year we found it now at 9th and Olympic - chick salad pretty good but son of old owner said no more Princess shrimp because 'the chef who made it, died' - I said didn't he leave the receipe? Son: No he died standing up making a last order (I think he was pulling my leg he saw how desperate I was).

                1. re: Debbie

                  Funny you should mention it...

                  I used to go to MFL when I was in grad school a millenium or so ago. It was actually an old cello teacher who told me to go, and insisted that I ask for Yee.

                  The fact that I recall its excellence must be called in question,clouded as my memories are by the mists of time [someone stop him before we choke on purple prose!!!]--and also, consider how much great Chinese food we've all had since the time I hung out there (mid '70s)...

                  1. re: Debbie

                    Here is a link to the thread on old eateries in L.A.

                    By the way, Paul was always our waiter with Yee poping by often to visit!


                    1. re: Debbie

                      Albert had a very pretty daughter and when I asked the owner Frank about asking her out I was told a day or too later that it would not be acceptable. Oh well, fond memories. I got engaged there. Frank had the Hong Kong Noodle Co. around the corner from the restaurant bake the ring into a fortune cookie. My girlfriend could not figure out why everybody from the restaurant was standing around our booth when she was served her fortune cookie.

                    2. The owner of Man Fook Low passed away several years ago, but one of his son's as recently as 5 years ago was still operating the Wok Inn in the mall in Santa Monica.
                      The Cha shew Bao that I believe you are thinking about was not Cha shew (pork) but was gai bow, a chicken filling. You should give the Empress Pavillion in China Town a shot. Great dim sum for center of the city.
                      I do miss the old place on 9th and San Pedro. I remember all of the waiters (and attitudes) Mr. Yee being famous for his. Other than dim sum if you are looking for a really solid restaurant in China Town with a bent towards seafood, try Hop Li.

                      1. Aw.... what great memories... made many a pilgrimage to MFL... we always ordered the BBQ even though it wasn't on the menu.