Gan Bien Su Ji Do?
At a Bay Area Chinese restaurant, a friend asked for -- and got -- some amazing long, skinny, blackened green beans by this name (spelling is his; I'm not certain that it's correct). They were delicious, by far the best green beans I've ever eaten.
Does this ring a bell for anybody? Do I have the name right, or do they also go by some other name? Any idea what restaurant(s) serve them, preferably in the South Bay / Harbor / Westside areas?
Yes, this is a pretty common dish in Chinese restaurants. I recently had a fab version at Tasty Noodle House in San Gabriel, but as I recall Hop Woo at Sepulveda and Olympic does a pretty good version as well.
11110 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064
Tasty Noodle House (Yi Pin)
827 W. Las Tunas Dr., San Gabriel, CA 91776
gān biān sì jì dòu - 干煸四季豆 - literally something like dry-fried four seasons bean (i.e., green bean). It's a very common Sichuan dish, though I don't know for sure if that's where the dish originated.
Traditionally, they are pan-fried in some oil for about 5+ minutes (until they pucker) before being stir-fried with other ingredients, but restaurants generally deep fry them first. It's a good one to order in restaurants because, even if you deep-fry the beans, it's harder than you think to replicate the texture at home.
I've seen it made with both long beans and with western string beans. There's sometimes ground pork, and usually some salted vegetable - like zha cai / ya cai kind of thing. It's a pretty common dish at almost any Chinese restaurant -- the English translation on the menu will probably vary, but if there's a green bean dish, there's a good chance it's this one. You will have the most luck in the SGV, but you can get a pretty good rendition in the South Bay on PCH in the Lomita / Torrance area. You could try PV Palace. House of Vege (also on PCH) should have a decent vegetarian version.
House of Vege
2439 Pacific Coast Hwy, Lomita, CA 90717