Where to go for Chinese on Christmas?
Coming in from out of town, specifically SE Florida where the Chinese is mediocre. We have a long standing tradition of going out for chinese for dinner on Christmas and need to keep it up. Where is the place to be? Chinatown? SVG? Would love to find a place that will allow us to be a bit adventerous and maybe get some Soup Dumplings! Any help would be appreciated.
Here's a topic about Christmas time dim sum from December 2009.
The restaurant I went to had little to no traditional ambiance. (J & J) It was busy--my husband and I ate at a communal table, and got to look and drool over other parties orders.
The Chinese restaurant scene in the LA area is unlike most other places in the US. if you would kindly provide some answers about your personal preferences, it would help chowhounders give you some recommendations:
1. What do you consider to be good Chinese food?
2. Where will you be staying, and how far are you willing to drive?
3. Are there any food preferences (e.g. spicy, seafood, vegetarian)?
4. Are there any foods you wish to avoid?
5. How important is the ambiance?
6. What is your price range?
7. Do you speak or read any dialects of Chinese?
Love the questions!
1. What do you consider to be good Chinese food? - I'm not sure I can intelligently answer this question. Growing up in Michigan and living in Iowa, North Carolina, and Florida I can honestly say that I have probably never eaten real chinese food. New York style take out is oily and over salted. Too much fried stuff. The best chinese I have had was dim sum at Asian Legend in Toronto. Northern style soup dumplings and pancakes. Lah Wai Heen in Toronto was pretty great also. Recreating that Northern style dim sum experience would be perfect!
2. Where will you be staying, and how far are you willing to drive? - We are staying at the Residence Inn Beverly Hills but will be up to Hollywood and perhaps Griffith Park or Mulholland Drive prior to diner so anywhere within a half hour of those places would be fine. SGV seems within our range.
3. Are there any food preferences (e.g. spicy, seafood, vegetarian)? - Our Caucasian kids eat their food mild and prefer vegetarian or beef dishes. The wife and I like our food spicy and seafood is preferred but we are open to everything!
4. Are there any foods you wish to avoid? - NO!!!!!!! We want it all!! The more interesting the better!!!
5. How important is the ambiance? - Not as important as the food of course. Take Point Loma Seafood in San Diego. Ambiance not so good but the food is killer. Loved the place.
6. What is your price range? - $200 for a meal doesn’t scare me too much.
7. Do you speak or read any dialects of Chinese? - Not at all
You can't go wrong with ipsedixit's reccos. I would add that Cantonese ala Sea Harbour or Elite, is somewhat easier to find throughout the country (or Canada) than Hunan and Sichuan. If you are interested in those cusines in the San Gabriel Valley, and you ought to be, read up on Hunan Seafood, New Chong Qing, Chung King and the like.
Chung King Restaurant
1000 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776
Hunan Seafood Restaurant
8772 E Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770
New Chong Qing
120 N San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91775
For dinner, I would also recommend Elite in Monterey Park. Their menu is well-translated, and the food is excellent. Cantonese food is generally mild and emphasizes seafood. You could order a feast for markedly less than $200.
If you want some dishes from Northern China, you can try JTYH in Rosemead for Shanxi-style food. The flavors are very different from someplace the Elite. The menu has somewhat decent translations, but it would be better to search chowhound for menu suggestions. For $200, you could probably eat four or five meals there if you splurge.
Also, I second Chandavkl's advice: ignore any Chinese restaurant that isn't in the San Gabriel Valley.
For Chinese dinner on Christmas, I would recommend either ea Harbour or Elite, both in SGV.
For soup dumplings, I would recommend either Dean Sin World (aka Tastio), or Happy Kitchen. Again, both in SGV.
For soup dumplings, some will immediately in a "knee jerk" type of reaction point you to Din Tai Fung. For me, that's like recommending Pink's for hot dogs in LA. It's ok, it's famous, but is it "the" place to go for great hot dogs? Is the earth flat? Same with Din Tai Fung.
Enjoy your stay.