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Looking for 1950s Chinese Food?-- How About 1920s Instead?

If you don't mind driving a little, Golden Chicken Inn in Oxnard has been in business since 1929. From what I can tell it's still in its original location in old downtown Oxnard, which I believe was the site of Oxnard's small historic Chinatown. The building itself is out of the 1920s or earlier. You walk in the door and look up at a steep, wide staircase. Getting to the top you see a dining room which seems to have been last remodeled in the 1950s, with a number of small individual semi-private rooms. Certainly, ambiance wise, it looks the part of an old time Chinese restaurant. The menu is also old time Cantonese--chow mein with the crisp noodles, many varieties of chop suey (can you even get chop suey in L.A. these days?), Chinese spare ribs, moo goo gai pan, almond chicken (no duck though), fried shrimp, egg foo young, egg rolls etc. Actually, this is an old style Chinese and American restaurant, with steak, fried chicken and french fries on the menu too. The only thing breaking the ambiance is a few non-Cantonese items on the menu such as various kung pao dishes, orange chicken and spicy chicken. A must visit if only for trip through the time warp. Golden Chicken Inn is at 701 S. Oxnard Blvd.

Golden Chicken Inn
701 S Oxnard Blvd, Oxnard, CA 93030

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  1. Are the cooks merely moonlighting? Their day job building the Union Pacific Railroad?

    7 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      It was actually the Central Pacific Railroad. But I'm sure you're just testing your loyal readers. :-)

      1. re: raytamsgv

        Put a spike in it! ;-D> (And each of you is half right. The Union Pacific came from the east heading west and the Central Pacific went from the west heading east and they met)

        1. re: Servorg

          Actually Ray Tam SGV is right. The Central Pacific Railroad coming from the West was built primarily from Chinese laborers. The Union Pacific coming from the East was built by mainly Irish labor and vets of the Civil War. Mormons laborers built a significant amount of the track in Utah.

          1. re: apple7blue

            Some brilliant history there, Apple7Blue. Few people recognize who actually built the railroads that unified the country. Thank you and Ray Tam SGV for your astute obeservations.

              1. re: Servorg

                That's an interesting page Servorg. I wonder how their contribution, those early Chinese workers had, to American restaurants like the Golden Chicken Inn in 1929 was colored by great levels of discrimination, prior to the changes after WW2.

                Golden Chicken Inn
                701 S Oxnard Blvd, Oxnard, CA 93030

      2. re: ipsedixit

        Actually, in Oxnard it was working at the sugar beet factory. And it turns out that the current location is Golden China Inn's original 1929 location in what was then called China Alley.

        China Inn Restaurant
        19343 Victory Blvd, Tarzana, CA 91335

      3. Sounds awesome, Chandavkl!! I will definitely check this out, next time we go up the coast a little!! I love hearing and frequenting places like this, history, food, more history, it's all GOOD!!

        1. Good looking out, Chandavkl. From your description, Golden Chicken Inn (can the name be any less ethnic-sounding?) is precisely what many had hoped the resurrected Far East Cafe would have been but, spectacularly failed to be. Looks like a trip to The 'Nard is in the near future. Thanks again.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Kris P Pata

            Actually as soon as I drove by and saw the sign Golden Chicken Inn I figured it was an old time Chinese place. Don't go up on Monday or Tuesday as they are closed. Also, this is more about nostalgia than high quality food in an absolute sense. I grew up eating the food from Paul's Kitchen on San Pedro St., but have not eaten at Paul's in nearly 20 years, nor would I care to, as the time for that kind of food has largely passed.

            Paul's Kitchen
            1012 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

            1. re: Chandavkl

              Hey, most of us get it, and there's always a time & place for nostalgia.

              1. re: Phurstluv

                Totally. It's the historic and nostalgic value for me.

              1. re: Hershey Bomar

                The old time building actually reminds me of what would have been a bar (or saloon) on the first floor with the "ladies" space on the top floor. Does anyone know if this building was actually a saloon in that fashion?

                1. re: Marisela48

                  I read somewhere that it started out as an opium den. Not sure if this is an urban myth or not.

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Quite plausible since Golden Chicken is located in what was once Oxnard's Chinatown. Most medium sized California towns had Chinatowns dating to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and most of them have lost all traces of Chinese presence, and certainly have no remaining Chinese restaurants. In this regard, Golden Chicken is a real historical treasure.

                      Golden Chicken
                      140 W Ontario Ave, Corona, CA 92882

                2. Driving around Oxnard yesterday I decided to check out Golden Chicken Inn on your rec. It was about 1:45pm and the place was empty. So we decided to just look at the menu. I wasn't impressed by the look of the food in the link to pictures in the above post. Never the less, it was an interesting looking place and it impressed me how clean the place was. There was a juke box on the wall in one of the booths and it was the exact same kind that my grandfather had at the tables in his Chinese restaurant in Ohio in the 50's...the lady said it didn't work.

                  We decided to go to Paul's Kitchen later for dinner when we got back to town and eveyone was pleased.

                  The food in the link to the pictures looks like what you can get at Kim's in Crenshaw Square if you're interested.
                  Kim's Mandarin Cantonese Chinese Cuisine
                  3860 S Crensahw Blvd (it's around the back by Tak's Coffee Shop)
                  Los Angeles, CA 90008

                  Paul's Kitchen
                  1012 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                  Golden Chicken Inn
                  701 S Oxnard Blvd, Oxnard, CA 93030

                  1. Doesn't sound too good to me. I mean, wouldn't it be a little stale by now?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mc michael

                      They put lots of msg and salt in it so . . . it's like that McDonald's big mac that hasn't changed in 20 years . . .