XLB In Oxnard? Great Chicken Siu Mai Too?
No, that's not a request. It's a surprising statement of fact. Intrigued by the restaurant named Chinese Dumpling House over the border from Oxnard in Port Hueneme at 575 W. Channel Islands Blvd., I decided to stop by and check it out. Before anybody gets too excited, it's not a particularly authentic place, and the menu is filled with your typical Americanized Chinese dishes. But they also have a small "Dumpling" section on the menu, which includes "Steamed Tiny Bao" which I was told was xiao long bao. (Now whether they bought them from the freezer case of 99 Ranch Market or not might be another issue.) They also have chicken siu mai, which is probably the best version I've found in the entire Chowhound Los Angeles board area. Keep in mind that chicken siu mai is an uncommon restaurant dish and I've only seen it at a handful of L.A. area Chinese restaurants. The version at Chinese Dumpling House with a couple of green peas embedded is quite good though. Also intriguing for an Americanized operation is the large number of fish dishes on the menu, including sliced fish with candied walnuts. If anybody else tries this place I'd be interested in follow up commentary.
17713 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, CA
Chinese Dumpling House
575 W Channel Islands Blvd, Port Hueneme, CA 93041
Interesting how more traditional Chinese dishes are touching down in a northwest migratory pattern - and we have your keen eye to thank for this phenomenon. Sam Woo in Van Nuys has been the outpost for good Chinese food in the northwest area of "L.A.," but then you discovered Tampa Garden Chinese Delight in Reseda. Now Chinese Dumpling House in Oxnard. Do you think this might be the Chinese community stretching out their wings and moving to outlying areas?
8241 Tampa Ave, Reseda, CA 91335
Don't forget there's Hot Wok in Agoura, Peking Inn in Camarillo and the schizophrenic Hunan in Thousand Oaks with the most Americanized English language menu, and a separate authentic menu in Chinese only. These three service the decent sized Chinese community in the Conejo Valley (I believe it includes a Chinese language school for the kids), which I presume is centered around Amgen's work force. This place in Port Hueneme, I don't understand, because there's no Chinese community out there. I'm guessing the dumpling name is a marketing angle, and they have to back it up with some dumplings. One of the six listed varieties on the menu is cream cheese wonton, so that gives you an idea as to their target audience.
Peking Inn Restaurant
330 N Lantana St, Camarillo, CA 93010
Wow; good to hear. Seems that Port Hueneme is so absent of anywhere interesting to eat (unless Carrows makes you happy). My Mom lives there and going out for food is always something I avoid; especially when she exuberately suggests we go to the Whale Tail or some such tourist relic restaurant on the channels.
Anyway, I've always avoided Chinese food altogether in Los Angeles, as I just can't get past the smell of rancid oil that billows out from most restaurants before you can even get to the front door. I've spent some time in Taipei, Indonesia and Thailand and there the Chinese and Asian foods are incredible and interesting.
After my snobby comment though, I am embarassed to admit that I do love the freshness and punctuated flavors on PF Changs menu. In particular, I love their seaweed steamed seabass on a bed of fresh spinach, which probably is not Chinese anyway....but I digress.
There is ONE Chinese restaurant that I dearly love in the LA area called "Hu's Szechwan" on the corner of National in that little village that turns toward Motor. The Szechwan shrimp is amazing. As for dumplings, I love going there in the late afternoon when the family sits down at one of the tables with a bucket of ground pork and together rolls and pinches dumplings by hand until they have made the alotment for the evening.