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Aug 1, 2010 08:48 PM

Shanghai Brunch?

Hi! I'm wondering if there were any places around LA for shanghai brunch--the soy bean milk, chinese donut, XLB, fried onion pancakes...and the nowhere to be found "ha kook wong" --yellow crab shell--(see pics that I took in Vancouver! Its filled with sugar). Din Tai Fun was good with the shanghai rice cakes and the noodles, but are there other places?


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    1. Well, soybean milk, chinese crullers (or yiou-tiao), and I presume you mean scallion pancakes (and not onion pancakes) are not exactly Shanghai specialties.

      Lots of places will have what you are looking for, begin with Four Seas in San Gabriel.

      Four Sea Restaurant
      2020 S Hacienda Blvd, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745

      8 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Xian doujiang, youtiao, and congyou bing are most certainly Shanghai specialties, though they are often copied with more or less success.

        1. re: soupçon

          I'm guessing the Taiwanese community is not as large or concentrated as SGV/MP/environs, compared to Vancouver/Toronto which are more Hong Kong Cantonese based (with more representation of Cantonese cuisine), and thus to get soymilk, crullers, fan tuan, and the ilk, one goes to a Shanghainese joint (the more common type of non Canto Chinese that is popular with the Canto crowd). At least this was my experience and observation visiting Toronto's Richmond Hill some years ago.

          Also in Hong Kong, scallion pancakes are deep fried, multi layered with lots of scallion (and oil) inbetween, like this.

          unlike the crepe thin like version that is more commonplace in Taipei and practically all of California.

          1. re: K K

            You hit the nail on the head. The Taiwanese influence on the Chinese community in LA is far greater than any of the other North American Chinese communities, even Flushing, which was "founded" by Taiwanese.

            1. re: Chandavkl

              Yeah it's the same in Hong Kong as well, nobody seems to be able to do really good Taiwanese (and in Taiwan, authentic Cantonese is virtually impossible to find), and you will find regional interpretations on each other to suit local tastes, thus the clashing. I believe in HK, even one has to go to a Shanghainese or Northern Chinese joint specifically to get soymilk and cruller, scallion pancakes, that crabshell puff pastry w/sesame seeds (or the shredded daikon version with minced pork which is a personal favorite), although one can easily get crullers by going to a Canto congee joint or equivalent (but that's also a Canto breakfast which is a different animal).

              Which also goes to show that Taiwanese small businesses (foodwise) tend to be much less successful compared to their Cantonese counterparts, at least in Richmond Hill area of Ontario. The food has to be dumbed down to suit the Cantonese expats.

              Taiwanese breakfast starch places in LA pretty much mirror the style of the ones found in Taiwan, even down to the names, like Yongho Doujiang (a township in Taipei county pretty much famous only for its soymilk, starch based offerings, all very excellent in their own right), even if they don't taste the same, but they've pretty much made it part of their own identity and food culture.

              1. re: K K

                > I believe in HK, even one has to go to a Shanghainese or Northern Chinese joint specifically to get soymilk and cruller, scallion pancakes, that crabshell puff pastry w/sesame seeds.

                Could that be because that type of breakfast came from Northern China and Shanghai? It wasn't until the Chinese fled the mainland to Taiwan that that type of breakfast started appearing on the island.

                1. re: PandanExpress

                  Yes, good points. The other reason is the beast of the business.

                  The folks in Taiwan and parts of China have it good, in that there are exclusive dedicated establishments that provide this kind of nosh all the time, with the hardcore places in Taipei, like Yongho World Soymilk King opening 24 hours.
                  It's also nice that those living in SoCal can also experience shops that do similar things.

                  For Hong Kong, no such place exists to my knowledge (ie making cruller, soymilk savory and sweet, sticky rice rolls and starchy goodness exclusively), unless someone living there now can refute. There are old style Cantonese tofu shops that sell fried and fresh tofu, tofu fa, as well as soymilk, but it's all localized and nothing Northern about them, although excellent in their own right. While there is a lot of regional Chinese food available in HK, it is still the famous kings that are widely known to many, e.g. Shanghainese, Sichuan, Beiping/Pekingnese and perhaps not all of them even offer the breakfast fare (especially if they are in the business of higher end dining/attracting spendy types).

                  1. re: K K

                    You tiao are of course common and widely available in HK, as well as the ox-tongue shaped fried dough. Sweet soy milk and douhua is pretty common, but as you say, the salty versions are a little harder to find. All in the same place -- a little tougher; they do exist, though... we found a place with salty soy milk / douhua simply by walking 5 minutes from where we were staying in Tsimshatsui. But it definitely wasn't as good as the xian doujiang in either Shanghai or Taibei.

                    Back to the original topic, I think Si Hai, Yi Mei, etc. carry the thing the OP is asking for. I guess it's still up in the air as to whether the Yi Mei on Atlantic is going to reopen. They also should have shao bing (烧饼), which are kind of similar, though not sure it's anywhere near as good as the ones in Shanghai, fresh off the top of a metal drum used to cook them.

              2. re: Chandavkl

                Taiwanese influence in Flushing was supreme from 1950 to 1975; then waned with the political fortunes of the Generalissimo and the KMT - and as the Taiwanese gentry fanned out across America. Only three Taiwanese restaurants and one food court vendor left in Flushing.

        2. The crab shell dumpling is known as xie ke huang (蟹壳黄) in Mandarin and comesin both sweet and savory versions. I'm surprised you can't find it in LA, there are a number of places in the Bay Area that have it.

          6 Replies
          1. re: soupçon

            really? We haven't found any in the bay area either--last time I had it was in Vancouver!

            1. re: guavagirl

              Guessing you will have better luck in the South Bay (the South Bay up there, not the one down here) than in SF proper or Oakland.

              1. re: guavagirl

                Two places that I know for a fact have them (or have in the past) are Shanghai Restaurant on Webster Street in Oakland, and Joy Restaurant in Foster City. King of Chinese Dumpling on Noriega makes a good cook-at-home version (both savory and sweet , and I imagine they serve them at their sit-down restaurant on Taraval.

                1. re: soupçon

                  Since Joy Restaurant is one of the relatively few Taiwanese restaurants in the Bay Area, I'd suspect one of the many Taiwanese restaurants down here would have the dish.

                  1. re: Chandavkl

                    I LOVE Joy, but they didn't have it the past few times I've been there

                  2. re: soupçon

                    I guess this section of the thread should probably get moved to the Bay area board; I've been to the Shanghai place in Oakland, though it doesn't seem to be open early enough for breakfast most weekdays. It's only so-so, but most of the other stuff I've had in Oakland Chinatown is also so-so.

                    For So Bay (northern California So Bay, not the one down here), you could also check out this place: 永康豆坊早餐 - SOGO Tofu in English ( I think there are a number of other Taiwanese places in San Jose / Milpitas. See also this thread:

              2. Now if you had asked for "Taiwanese breakfast" you would have gotten more direct responses.