HOME > Chowhound > Metro Portland >

Discussion

Authentic Chinese Food in PDX

Going on a family trip to Portland from San Francisco. Parents are very traditional Chinese (from Hong Kong).
Recommendations for good, authentic Chinese food? (remembering that it will most likely be judged according to San Francisco and Hong Kong standards, haha)
Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. IMO best place in town is Ocean City. Really good dim sum, good dinners - in your situation, I would call ahead and plan the meal out with them...

    And really, the best in Portland is nowhere near as good as any I have had in NYC (where I am from), Toronto, Chicago and SF...it simply won't measure up, so you might want to warn them of that...

    1 Reply
    1. re: JillO

      I mean, they have lived here for 20 years, I'd just rather skip the bad stuff, you know? haha

    2. Absolute best Chinese food in the Portland area although its a short drive away. Friends from the east coast have compared it to restaurants in New York

      -----
      Hunan Pearl Restaurants
      15160 Bangy Rd, Lake Oswego, OR 97035

      1 Reply
      1. re: ellenvw424

        ellenvw424 - This sounds great. Looked at their menu and DH and I will have to try this out. Looks delish!

      2. I took my HK-raised folks to POK-POK. They loved it. Even though my mother doesn't like spicy foods - we carefully ordered around the menu. It was "asian" but not "fusion" and different enough from from traditional Chinese / Cantonese food to avoid too many direct comparisons. We all grumbled, however, that rice had to be ordered separately. :)

        1 Reply
        1. re: MyNextMeal

          PokPok is NOT Chinese, MyNextMeal. It's a Thai restaurant. Thai food to Chinese is like comparing Russian food to American food.

        2. Wong's King, OM seafood, Powell's seafood, Ocean city are all pretty good in general.
          Wong's King is the most upscale place of those.

          -----
          Wong's King
          38776 Proctor Blvd, Sandy, OR 97055

          4 Replies
          1. re: HungFarLow

            How about the Wong's King on SE Division and 88th?

            1. re: HungFarLow

              Reading a really old thread and saw your "name" and it brought back old memories of late night suppers at Hung Far Low, across from the police station! Is it still there? I loved their pan fried noodles. In those days, we usually ate at Republic Cafe, but what I remember and miss now is pressed duck. Does anyone in pdx still make it? It's something I crave, and haven't tasted it in years. Sorry to change the subject!

              1. re: MazDee

                Are you talking about the place on the corner of 82nd and Division? I have always been scared to go in there.

              2. re: HungFarLow

                The salt and pepper squid at Om Seafood is divine.

              3. That is a tough one. I think the best Chinese/Cantonese in Portland will most likely disappoint your parents. My parents are from Malaysia and have lived in HK for a decade -- and I wouldn't take them to any Chinese restaurant in Portland. This is not a slight on Portland - it is just that good Cantonese food is very hard to find in the US.

                Instead, I would take them to other Asian restaurants - Pho An Sandy for great pho (beef soup noodles), Pok Pok for excellent Thai food.

                I'm curious to try Hunan Pearl to see how it compares. I've tried a few of the restaurants mentioned in this thread and they don't quite measure up. When I'm in need of Chinese food fix, I sometimes head over to Good Taste in Old Chinatown for their wonton noodles. Their char siu and roast pork is pretty good. Haven't tried anything else on their menu though.

                Good luck!

                -----
                Pok Pok
                3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

                Pho An Sandy
                6236 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97213

                Hunan Pearl Restaurants
                15160 Bangy Rd, Lake Oswego, OR 97035

                2 Replies
                1. re: pleen

                  Pleen,

                  I have yet to try either Hunan Pearl or Good Taste, but my favorite place if I'm craving Chinese is Kenny's Noodle house, because it's very basic. I am particularly keen on their ginger/scallion noodles (a little on the salty side though) and especially of the fish and pumkin congee/jook. Their beef broth is good as well, but a bit too salty for me. They also make their you tiao fresh so it comes out hot whenever I order it. Most of this stuff, I can make myself but I really do like their congee, so once in awhile I spoil myself when I'm in the area for food shopping. I'm curious to hear what you think/thought of them.

                  Other than that, I don't really know of anywhere in Portland and haven't had many places recommended to me, so I usually just make a trek up to Vancouver (I usually live in Seattle area, Portland is for family) or eat at one of my neighborhood places in Seattle.

                  Question for the board: Is Hunan Pearl actually Hunan cuisine? I haven't had it since I left China, so I would be curious to try it based on that alone.

                  -----
                  Hunan Pearl Restaurants
                  15160 Bangy Rd, Lake Oswego, OR 97035

                  1. re: starshinesMonet

                    starshines, thanks for the tip! Kenny's has been on my list for a while, but I haven't made the time to get out there and try it - will do so soon! Haven't tried Hunan Pearl either...am curious to know more about the place as well!

                    Another stellar Asian place comes to mind: HA V&L. This Vietnamese place is SO good! They make two different types of soup noodles everyday and usually sell out by 10:30am on the weekends. It's a little more chill on weekdays - great spot for an early lunch. No MSG at all - their soup noodles remind me of South East Asia!

                    -----
                    Hunan Pearl Restaurants
                    15160 Bangy Rd, Lake Oswego, OR 97035

                2. I moved to Portland about 4 years ago, from the bay area and I'm originally from Los Angeles. My parents are from Hong Kong, but have lived in the States for about ~50 years now. They are still very judicious about their Chinese food. Like my parents, I can be a critic too. If you're going for Cantonese Chinese, go with Wong's King for dim sum. Outside of dim sum, their chow mein special is actually awesome by my family's standards. They also made a special order of salted fish fried rice for us (off menu) - it was down home delicious.

                  We've done takeout from Good Taste. The "jook" is actually pretty good and the char siu is very good. And it's very very affordable.

                  My parents love Pok Pok and Ping. And they love Ken's Artisan and Kenny and Zuke's, but I digress...

                  -----
                  Pok Pok
                  3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

                  Wong's King Restaurant
                  310 N Broadway St, Estacada, OR 97023

                  1. If i have american friends that come here I send them to wongking's for dimsum. Pretty good food, and you wont find things there that will disgust the average americans. But best place for dim sum for a chinese pallet is ocean city IMO.

                    The hong kong style wonton/noodle soup was really good at good taste, but the quality had gone down since they opened the vancouver location. Still pretty good though.

                    There's also a new hongkong style restaurant that just opened a few months ago called five spice. They have the best hongkong milk tea there. The first 3 times we went there the milk tea was thick and strong, you can tell it's been brewed for more than a few hours, but the last time we gone there the tea was a lot thinner. they also have claypot sticky rice dishes.

                    Ah foon's is a pretty authentic cantonese style restaurant as well. They even serve you a soup for free at the start of your meal just like in hongkong/canton. The dishes are also very tasty. Do not pay any attention to the tacky sign posted on the outside. They switched owners, and the owner before served chinese american cuisine. The sign is so big, that would cost them a lot of money to take down, so its sort of just stuck there.

                    Unfortunately there isnt a lot of demand for authentic chinese food in pdx. There used to be a couple pretty authentic places, but turned to cater the american pallet after some time. Due to the size of PDX and the pop of Chinese, you just wont be able to find as good of chinese as you would in SF, Chitown, NYC, LA., Vancouver.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: frugalbass

                      Just tried Five Spice this afternoon - pretty good! I would definitely go back and try different things. I only ordered a tofu dish and vegetables, so it is not the best measure of a cantonese place, but will head back over there for further exploration of the menu.

                      If anyone is craving an egg tart (dan tat), Gary's Bakery across the street is pretty decent, especially when the egg tarts have just come out of the oven and they are still warm. They also have Portuguese egg tarts there. Yum.

                      Also, tried Kenny's and I love the snap of the noodles there, but I don't think their dumplings (both won tons and shui gau) are as good as Chen's Good Taste in Old Chinatown.

                    2. I will second Wong's King.

                      While I don't claim to have had all chinese food in Portland, I have been used to the Chinese food one would expect in the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles. Wong's comes pretty close to filling that void.

                      12 Replies
                      1. re: Drunky

                        I know this might be a stretch given the size of Portland, but are there any Chinese restaurants in the area that is not Cantonese-centric? Been to Wong's King and Ocean City. I found both to be good for what they offer but they don't serve authentic Hunan, Shanghainese or northern cuisine. Anything at all that come close in the area?

                        1. re: gottaeatsometime

                          There's one called lucky strike. They used to serve pretty authentic sichuan food. Ever since they moved to their new location on hawthorn, their food has changed to more fusion than anything else. Some dishes are still pretty authentic, but not good enough for me to want to go back.

                          If you like hot pot, there's a place called beijing hot pot. Last time I went there over 3 years ago, they were pretty good, but my hot pot at home is better so I stopped going. Those are 2 I can think of right now.

                          Oh and stay away from the restaurant called shandong unless you are looking for american chinese food. They dont have any shandong dishes there.

                          1. re: frugalbass

                            Lucky Strike wasn't very good... It was just spicy--too spicy to eat. I usually love spicy food and there, I couldn't eat some of the dishes. It was simply too hot and no umami--or deep flavor. The decor was very young and hip and the food was--not eatable. I had an impression that place was for young people who want to try something new and fun and sensational.

                            -----
                            Lucky Strike
                            3862 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

                            1. re: gumi

                              Sichuan food is a funny thing. If you go to China and the Sichuan dishes are extremely spicy (even a lot more than lucky strike), but if you go to Sichuan province, most of the dishes are not so spicy.
                              I can handle lucky strike's spicy just fine, but the location, decor, and menu definitely serves the hipster crowd now.

                              1. re: frugalbass

                                Yes, when Lucky Strike was on 122nd and Powell it was Fantastic. The Ma Po Doufu and Beef soup were hot but also complex and deeply flavorful. I went to the Hawthorne location and it quickly went from fine to just poor: they not only changed the recipe, they changed the dishes entirely. I asked for the original recipe at the Hawthorne place; they told me there was a new chef and they don't make it that way any more. I won't go back. Taste of Sichuan in Beaverton is ok, but their Mapo doufu isn't up to Lucky Strike's original version. Their xiaolong bao are ok, as is their jellyfish and doufu and peanut salads

                            2. re: frugalbass

                              Thank you for that tip! I am from Dongying (Shangdong) and my first reaction was excitement at the prospect of finding a restaurant that caters to my hometown. Oh well...

                              1. re: starshinesMonet

                                we were extremely disappointed too when we got there. Not only did they not have any shandong dishes, the owner/chef didnt even know the names of a few classic shandong dish that I know how to make.

                                1. re: frugalbass

                                  What are some of your favourites?

                                  The only place that I've ever seen make a Shangdong dish was Spiced in Washington and they made the very simple (but deicious) brisket in onion pancake dish, which is basically just street food. I am truly surprised no one has founded a great Chinese street food food cart in Portland or Seattle yet. There is a WHOLE enterprise waiting to happen there that I think is on the rise.

                                  1. re: starshinesMonet

                                    to be honest, I entertained at the possibility of opening one in Portland. There's just way too many food carts these days and quite a few of them are pretty tasty. Even if they are not in the same genre, it will be hard to compete due to the limited population, and when most of the business is done throughout the summer. Unfortunately we are already starting to see some good quality carts like Garden state, unable to support themselves and shutting down.

                                    1. re: frugalbass

                                      I dont have any favorite Shangdong restaurants in the states. So far my only real experience of eating delicious Shangdong dishes were in China and from my dad. Im going to check out the one you recommended in Washington. Thanks for the tip

                                      1. re: frugalbass

                                        You're right, there are too many right now and many will no doubt fail; I think if you open something unique and incredible though, you'll get the business, regardless of the supply glut. I know I'd be willing to drive anywhere in the city for the type of street food I remember from my trips to Shanghai.

                                        Of course if your logistics stink or your margins are too thin you'll fail anyway regardless of how many customers you get... but that's another point entirely. :)

                                  2. re: starshinesMonet

                                    The owners of Mandarin House downtown. 50 SW 2nd are from Shandong. Wonderful dumplings dan dan mian seafood.....

                            3. Portland has really great restaurants but Chinese food is not among them.....eat something else! I know Chinese parents like to eat Chinese food....I'm from Hong Kong....but you'll and they will be disappointed!
                              Try Pok Pok food is very good if you like spicy. Take them up to Vancouver BC!

                              -----
                              Pok Pok
                              3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

                              1. Just went to Taste of Sichuan in Beaverton (almost Hillsboro), which is a spinoff of Bamboo Garden in Bellevue, WA. It has leapfrogged, in my mind, to the top of the "best Chinese in Portland" category, over the (qualified) Lucky Strike (it was better before it moved to Hawthorne) and Wong's King (dim sum only; otherwise, their menu's reach doth exceed their grasp). This is on the basis of a very limited dinner: ma po tofu (yum), stir-fried dried green beans (yum), and a green onion pancake (I've had better -- Brandy Ho and Hunan Restaurant in SF, I'm looking at you -- but I've also had worse). The rest of the menu looked good, and the wait staff is large, efficient, and professional. The place probably wouldn't occasion comment if it had opened in SF, NYC, Vancouver BC or LA, but for the Portland area, it is a revelation and a Godsend. Liquor license pending -- which is too bad, because the food cries out for cold beer. Also, I didn't try to convince them I *really* like it hot, in deference to my dinner companion, so I don't know if they will do that on request.

                                -----
                                Wong's King Restaurant
                                310 N Broadway St, Estacada, OR 97023

                                Lucky Strike
                                3862 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: purefog

                                  Oooh....thanks for the tip! Lucky Strike is okay, but it doesn't quite satisfy the Sichuan food craving. Will try Taste of Sichuan soon and report back.

                                  Incidentally, Five Spice is now my go-to Cantonese restaurant in town. Their clay pot & clay pot rice dishes are super awesome. They have a very limited dim sum menu, so that is not the place to go for a big blowout dim sum fest, but if you want a snack before your main meal arrives, try their fresh-made rice noodle (any variety) - it's delicious! Their soups are also tasty. I recently had their melon & pork soup and it was heaven - took my right back to Hong Kong!

                                  -----
                                  Lucky Strike
                                  3862 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

                                  1. re: purefog

                                    Yes, we just heard about this place recently, and cant wait to try. Since they dont have a liquor license, do they allow byob?

                                  2. no one mentioned hai du seafood here. has anyone even visited?

                                    http://www.urbanspoon.com/cities/24-p...

                                    also, gary's bakery looks like it might be worth a shot?

                                    http://www.yelp.com/biz/garys-bakery-...

                                    if anyone has any experience with either of these, please share!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: orangefleabait98

                                      went to taste of sichuan friday. best chinese ive had in portland. Had lucky strike hot and sour soup last night for random take out, and it was the worst. glass noodles and some other sticks n stems. maybe they mixed up the order, because ive never seen that soup as hot and sour.

                                      1. re: eglbc

                                        orangefleabait98, I've been to Gary's for their egg tarts and they are probably the best egg tarts in town, so it is worth trying some of their other baked items. Their Portuguese egg tarts look good too, but I prefer the traditional HK-style egg tarts, so I haven't tried those.

                                        eglbc, I have tried Taste of Sichuan and I like Szechuan Chef better (5331 SW Macadam Ave, 97239). Everything I ordered at Taste of Sichuan had the same flavor profile...as if they used the same spicy oil sauce for everything. Szechuan Chef's food, while not the best Sichuan I've ever had, at least has some different flavors that harken to authenticity. Try their cumin lamb. dry fried string beans and anything else off their "Chef's Special" menu.

                                    2. It's been a few years since I've posted here, I thought I give you guys an update on some of my favorite Chinese places since then.

                                      In terms of Sichuan food, I found a new favorite: Szechuan Chef (located 5331 SW Macadam Ave in portland). I feel like both the taste and authenticity to be better than taste of Sichuan.

                                      In terms of dimsum, we still prefer ocean city for the flavor, but sometimes we will venture out to Hong Kong cafe for the variety they have there.

                                      In terms of classic cantonese/HK dishes we prefer:
                                      Kenny's noodle house- all the noodle dishes are pretty tasty here
                                      Ah Fongs- veer off the English menu here for a more authentic meal. They serve both chinese american and authentic dishes, and if you look like you're not chinese they will try to serve you the american stuff.
                                      Purple Onion (this place serves up modern HK dishes that you will find in HK now, they feel like fusion, but the food is pretty tasty regardless),
                                      Chen's good Taste (downtown location is best since the family split on the business) - come here for the wonton noodle soup
                                      Five spice - I feel like their quality had gone down quite a bit since they first opened, but their clay pot rice dishes are still fun and tasty to eat.

                                      In terms of BBQ meats, I feel like Wong kings still do the best job here.

                                      In terms Hot pot, I would go to Beijing Hot pot on 82nd, but definitely the best in town is still at my house :P

                                      For Baked goods, Gary's bakery is still probably the best though I feel like it went down hill since a few years ago.

                                      These are all the chinese places I still go to occasionally. Like the posts mentioned before PDX Chinese food scene is still disappointing if you are moving here from cities such as (LA, Vancouver, Toronto, NYC, Chicago or anywhere in Asia). I go to these places more or less just to satisfy a craving, but if you are bringing in tough critics, you might want to venture out to a different cuisine.

                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: frugalbass

                                        Would love to find some more northern Chinese noodles dumplings and xian binh

                                        1. re: jiucai

                                          Next to EC kitchen (6335 SE 82nd Ave) is a dumpling house. I can't remember what the name is now. They have pretty decent dumplings. The owner is from Northern China and moved to Korea when he was young. His food has both influences, but also some traditional stuff. We haven't been back there in ages just because their hour of Operation is unpredictable. A few times they were supposed to be open, but the doors were locked. We gave up trying after a few attempts just because its a bit of a trek to get down there for us. If you do manage to get there and they're open I would try their fish dumplings. Though they are not very traditional, but they were very good and memorable.

                                            1. re: frugalbass

                                              That would be Chinese Delicacy. Very good Chinese-Korean. Great fried chicken, bulgogi ("Korean Style Stir Fried Beef" on menu) and other stuff in addition to the dumplings.

                                              1. re: JillO

                                                I love Korean fried chicken. Can you get it in Portland?

                                                1. re: jpc8015

                                                  Boke Bowl does Korean Fried Chicken every Thursday night. It's not on their menu other nights, and you have to get the whole meal with the whole chicken. I have not tried it.

                                                  Tasty & Alder has a KFC dish on their menu, but I have not had it.

                                                  Ate-oh-Ate does grilled boneless thighs or fried wings and calls it "Korean Chicken." The wings (which are 5 for $5 at happy hour) are very tasty, but I would not describe them as traditional Korean Fried Chicken. The coating is much thicker and the sauce isn't the same...still, they are really worth seeking out (especially from 4-6pm...and that is 7 days a week - HH even on Sat and Sun). Great Mai Tais too.

                                                  I haven't been in a while but Chinese Delicacy, a Chinese Korean place on SE 82nd, had great fried chicken, much closer to traditional KFC. Here's a pic from 2007, from one of the folks that was at a group dinner I also attended, scroll all the way down, it's the last pic: http://tinysandwiches.com/?p=143

                                          1. re: frugalbass

                                            Good summary, but will disagree with dim sum, HK Cafe is much better currently the OC, and the Roast Pork at Chen Good taste is still the best and worth the extra dollar per pound. Garys bakery portugese egg tarts are a must try, but would pass on everthing else. A din tai fung would kill in portland.

                                            1. re: toro

                                              To each his own. I prefer oc dim sum because of flavor. If presentation and variety is your preference I can see why HK cafe would be better to you. But the few times we've been to HK cafe some of the dishes tasted fishy (xin), on top of it the flavor just isn't as complex.
                                              I do like din tai feng, but I prefer joes Shanghai's crab egg better than the truffles.
                                              But if we are willing to drive to the Bellevue wa location we would surely patronize it if they were here in pdx.