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Feb 24, 2009 04:44 PM

Looking for Authentic Chinese on Westside

Entertaining Chinese business execs tomorrow and need to find extremely decent, authentic Chinese restaurant somewhere on Westside - preferably near Santa Monica or West LA. Any ideas?

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  1. This has got to be one of the most regularly asked and answered topics on this board. The consensus is that there is none. If you want authentic Chinese food you pretty much have to go to the San Gabriel Valley. There just isn't a big enough Chinese population on the Westside to achieve the economies of scale and competition that make for good, authentic Chinese restaurants.

    That said, there are some Chinese restaurants on the Westside that people do enjoy - although there are always arguments as to their authenticity. If you do a search on this board for Westside Chinese, you'll come up with a bunch of threads.

    One thing to consider, as they are "Chinese business execs" they probably get all the good, authentic Chinese food they want at home. Perhaps they would enjoy something that you can find on the Westside, that they can't so easily find at home: Italian, Steak, French, Mexican seafood, Persian, etc.

    2 Replies
    1. re: estone888

      Believe it or not, this is their request. I also wondered why someone travelling here from China would want Chinese food. Guess they feel "safe" eating something that isn't foreign to them. Thanks for the tips.

      1. re: misty

        Same reason why Chinese group tours to Europe (even those packaged in the U.S. for Chinese Americans) feature all Chinese food for their meals. I guess it's a case of culinary snobbery, i.e., bad Chinese food is still better than what the local populace eats. Actually your request is 5 to 10 years too late. VIP Harbor Seafood, JR Seafood and Royal Star were all good, authentic places. VIP Harbor is still there but not nearly as good, as its heyday JR Seafood was bought by Hop Li (food is so so) and Royal Star closed down.

    2. Hop Woo at Olympic and Sepulveda isn't bad. It's really the Chinese only place my Chinese grandmother will eat at on the West Side.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sidwich

        Remember that you can order off-menu in any Chinese restaurant as long as they've got the ingredients. Go to Hop Woo and take a trusted cohort who both speaks Cantonese and knows how to order a fancy Cantonese meal. Otherwise you'll have to go to the SGV.

        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          Yes, you "can" order off-menu, but the problem is in the execution.

          You can describe the dish, the restaurant can have the necessary ingredients and the requisite cookware and setup, but without a living human being synergistically putting it all together you're sh*t out of luck.

      2. That's pretty hilarious that that is their would think they'd want to branch out..haha

        1. Do you and they have a big enough sense of humor so you could make a hilarious joke of going to P.F. Chang's? Hop Woo would be the easy choice, on the S/W corner of Olympic and Sepulveda -- their restaurant side has some pretty authentic dishes, but the steamtable takeout side puts a pall on things. The tastiest Chinese food on the westside is at Hu's Szechwan, in Palms where National makes a 90-degree turn. Really good kung pao shrimp, spicy dumplings, eggplant or green beans in garlic sauce -- go ahead and ask for noodles or what the staff may eat at family meal and you might get some very wonderful stuff -- call ahead, I'll bet they could do something really good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: nosh

            I'm Chinese, so I kinda understand why we eat Chinese food no matter where we are. I think it's a a comfort level thing. Believe me it's not food snobbery. I love Italian, Mexican, Peruvian, but I always have to have something Asian every day no matter what: Chinese, Vietnamese, once in a while Japanese. Hop Li is good. They'll be satisfied.

          2. that is so bizarre. have the chinese execs ever had non-authentic chinese food in the US? PLEASE report back on how this dinner goes. i really want to hear about this.

            5 Replies
            1. re: ceviche

              So... this dinner was really great!! Our Chinese guests loved it. They ordered about 10 different menu items - most were things I've never tried before. They even requested that we go back on their next trip into town. So - thanks to all who suggested this restaurant!! Regards, Misty

              1. re: misty

                Where did you end up going? What were some of the dishes that were new to you? I'm glad it worked out so well.

                1. re: misty

                  This I have GOT to hear -- I need to see details of an authentic Chinese dinner on the Westside that didn't result in an increase in Sino-American trade relations.

                  What did you order?!

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    C'mon, misty. Where did you end up going? What dishes were great?

                2. re: ceviche

                  Having worked with Chinese nationals, most who have not spent as much time internationally would prefer Chinese food. This has resulted in several funny stories about looking for Chinese food in other countries, like the Czech Republic. You can always find a Chinese restaurant (Cheuk Kwan has a wonderful series) around the world. I suspect that Hop Li or VIP Harbor would be where I would go since the decor is nicer than Hop Woo (which I prefer for the food). They would be reasonable choices in just about any other U.S. city.