Best Chinese in LA?
- David A. Dec 2, 2005 10:28 AM
I will be visiting LA for a few days and wonder what the best Chinese might be. The more authentic the better. A list of the four or five best Chinese restaurants would be greatly appreciated.
I frequently visit Din Tai Fong in Taiwan, so there is no need to make that recommendation.
As with many things related to LA, it depends on how much you want to drive. If you're going to stay inside the city limits, good luck. But if you're willing to drive a mere 10 or 15 miles east of Downtown LA, you'll be in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley where the really good Chinese restaurants are. My faves include (Tian Jin) Gou Bu Li: on Colima near Fullerton in Rowland Heights (Beijing Style); Little Sheep (or Little Fat Sheep if you read Mandarin) on Atlantic just south of Garvey in Monterey Park (hot pot); Lu Din Jee on Valley west of Rosemead in San Gabriel (duck and more); Mission 261 on Mission near Mission San Gabriel in San Gabriel (dim sum).
The thing to get at Tianjin Gou Bu Li is the eponymous big dumplings called, yes,
wait for it
gou bu li.
HEre's a link below to explain the dish and some other tianjin snacks (just in case, Tianjin is a very large port city some two hours se of beijing)
My ex-girlfriend is from Langfang (a suburb of Beijing) and whenever she would get homesick, she would ask to go to Gou Bu Li. Really good place. Alas, she ordered everything in Mandarin, so I have no idea what the best dishes are. But it did taste like home (authentic Northern Style) and that was the point.
David, you will be much better served if you narrow the criteria for what you consider to be "best." Such as: regional cuisines, certain dishes, price or geographical range. Otherwise, your question is too "big." Sounds like you know Taiwanese food; maybe we can put you on the trail of something you've never tried. Just narrow it down.
I'll add that having visited mainland China a few times, "authentic" and "best" are not related in my mind.
re: David A.
There's a lot to choose from, 'specially if you don't mind grungy(ish). Here are a few of my picks that haven't already been listed:
Northern Chinese (Shenyang) 8450 E. Valley Bl. in Rosemead
Mei Long Village (Shanghai) 301 W. Valley Bl. in San Gabriel
Chung King (Sichuan) 206 S. Garfield Av. in Monterey Park
And, as previously mentioned:
Tung Lai Shun (Islamic) 140 W. Valley Bl. in San Gabriel
but, if you happen to be in Torrance, another Islamic choice is:
Beijing Islamic, 3160 Pacific Coast Highway
Sea Harbour Seafood, 3939 N. Rosemead Bl., Rosemead; Happy Harbor (formerly Sea Harbour), 1015 S. Nogales St., #126, Rowland Heights; Triumphal Palace, 500 W. Main St., #A, Alhambra; NBC Seafood, 404 S. Atlantic Bl., Monterey Park. All of the preceding fall into the general category of Hong Kong style seafood. Something a little different is Tung Lai Shun, 140 W. Valley Bl., #118, San Gabriel, a large Chinese Islamic restaurant.
Yun Gui for yunnan guoqiao noodles.
Best Szechwan across the street for the frog, the tea smoked duck (herbal they call it), for the guaiwei ji, for the hot pork kidney.
Lake Spring for FuGui Ji (they can't make beggars chicken as the clay might have arsenic)
Giang-nan for leeks with eel paste and actually delicate shizi tou with duck egg yolk.
Cafe 8 for Guilin noodles
Ma Lan for hand-pulled noodles (xibei, and "uighur"style chicken as well)-
Homestyle for DOngbei/manchurian corn bao stuffed suanbaicai, and decent lamb skewers. Deerfield garden for mild real Shuanyangrou. Shen Yang for Ba-si style sweet potato or apples.
888 for the 24 hour cooked soups, black bone chicken or turtle. (ok dimsum here and at empress pavilion)
Good Shanxi style cat's ears noodles (mao erduo) and cut noodles (daoshao mian)at Heavy Noodling
Foo Chow in chinatown for rice wine lees chicken (hongzao jiding/pian) and the oyster and shrimp cakes.
empress pavilion for teh preordered $60 winter melon soup served in the Flash Gordon setting. Bring others. It's a lot of soup.
Good Hui food at China Islamic
Any seafood place in Rosemead, San Gabriel, Alhambra or Monterey park for sea beasts.
Nanjing kitchen for yanshui ya, pressed duck, but mostly to go. Buy some and snack in your hotel room
EXCELLENT varieties of Shandong food - Dezhou Paji, varieties of jiaozi and my fave sandwich of the moment, the beef roll, niurou juan at 101 noodle Express (Lu Wei Ju in Chinese). Shandong dumplings modified for Taiwanese tastes at Dumplings 10053 in El monte.
(Chinese name Guilin Mifen)
110 E GARVEY AVE
NAN JING KITCHEN
706 W LAS TUNAS DR B5
130 S ATLANTIC BLVD
MONTEREY PARK (real guo-tie, with slurry if they're in the mood)
YUN GUI GARDEN INC.
301 N GARFIELD AVE D
230 N Garfield Ave,
GIANG NAN RESTAURANT
306 N GARFIELD AVE A12
888 SEAFOOD RESTUARANT
8450 E VALLEY BLVD 121
301 W VALLEY BLVD 115
LAKE SPRING RESTAURANT
219 E GARVEY AVE
CHINA ISLAMIC RESTAURANT
7727 E GARVEY AVE
HEAVY NOODLING HOUSE
153 E GARVEY AVE
2020 S HACIENDA BLVD B
949 N HILL ST
988 N HILL ST
SHEN YANG RESTAURANT
4909 SANTA ANITA AVE
10053 E VALLEY BLVD #E
101 NOODLE EXPRESS
1408 E VALLEY BLVD
I hope that holds you. As well, there's a very good vegetarian restaurant Happy Family, with houtougu and hongzao in soup at $20 a tureen. And there's a nice buffet at the Hsi-lai temple in hacienda heights.
101 NOODLE EXPRESS
1408 E VALLEY BLVD
HAPPY FAMILY RESTAURANT
608 N ATLANTIC BLVD
Some people prefer Oriental Pearl for Sichuan.
ORIENTAL PEARL RESTAURANT
227 W VALLEY BLVD # 128C
Of course, you just might want to skip Chinese and try our Cambodian, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese or Japanese offerings while your in southern california.
enjoy your stay.
Jerome, I always read your posts when I see your name associated with a post on ethnic eateries and wish you would write a book on the subject, albeit one that includes a glossary. Your responses are, I take it, primarily for Chinese-speaking readers of Chowhound as you prefer to use the words I suspect most American diners are unfamiliar with. Perhaps it will push the learning curve for us and that's always a good idea for adventurous diners in a polyglot city.
My own rough abilities in Spanish come from cooking in restaurants and hotels, eating in dives and standing over the shoulder of home cooks in working-class Mexico City and today would never omit original language when identifying a dish now so I understand why you use these words to identify a dish or speciality at a restaurant, even though you name the restaurant in English.
So no flame here, dude. Just wanted to let you know your lists are intriguing but I hardly ever act on them due to lack of knowledge of the language. Any suggested web sites?
Sorry. Just take the post with you to the restaurant, and show the transliteration to the waiter. And if it sucks, I'm sorry.
The reason I tend to give the chinese name is that the english name will be different in every every every single restaurant you go to. "Shanghai" style dumplings with pork forcemeat and crab powder and filled with gelatinized soup then all steamed - chinese name, xie fen xiao long bao (xlb). I've seen it as soup dumplings, steamed crab dumplings, steamed shanghai dumpligns, steamed shanghai buns, steamed crab buns. And in some other restaurants, the same english name will give you a COMPELTELY different dish.
Even in Chinese the names are consistent ONLY within the region. I went to a Cantonese seafood place, Full house in Chinatown, and ordered from the menu "red cooked fish". Hong shao = red cooked. Red cooked in Shanghai cooking means braised in a soy-sauce rich cooking broth. I'd never noticed the name in a Cantonese place before. it was very different.
You know, and I don't take it as a flame, try one of the places I've recommended. At Lake Spring, the chicken is literally "prosperous" chicken as opposed to beggars chicken because they stuff it with more ingredients than the trad. beggars chicken and because they don't bake it in clay.
And truth be told, I can't always remember the specific english name in each restaurant. AT giang-nan, they have one of my fave stir-fried dishes of fresh vegetables and chopped pork, but done very differently than at a cantonese place, and the only name for it on the menu is "house special" and it's under fowl. Go figure. BTW, if you go to Giang-nan, this is the only place I'd recommend skipping the steamed rice and getting the yangzhou fried rice. No corn syrup or soy, lightly stir-fried with egg and vegetables that remain discrete (had to check this spelling). More similar to steamed rice than Cantonese style "yangzhou" fried rice.
Hope you take the plunge and look at it as an adventure. After all, our tastes may very well differ.
You'll find adequate at J R Seafood, VIP, and JinJiang. Finding great chinese in West LA is like finding great classic French in Rowland Heights, I wouldn't expect it.
J. R. SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
11901 SANTA MONICA BLVD 10
JIN JIANG SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
11057 SANTA MONICA BLVD
11701 WILSHIRE BLVD 13
If you're desperate, you could try this one:
11966 WILSHIRE BLVD
I'm not sure if Royal Star still exists.
3001 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90403-2301
You might also consider the larger concentration of Japanese places esp around Sawtelle and Olympic. Yes it's not chinese. ANd remember, in good traffic, you can get from Lincoln and Olympic to San Gabriel in 30-35 minutes.
Last night I had the most wonderful Hunan Dinner at Crown Cafe (1000 S. San Gabriel Blvd) with a group of Chinese friends. I have never seen the place mentioned previosly on this board (but on Chowpatty's blog she gives Carter a nod by saying he recommended it here once).
I can't do Jerome's tansliterations but the names told to me that stood out were the following:
Spicy Fish Head, Cucumber Dish, Fried Spicy with Spicy, a dish like Chongching Chicken but not fried, Crab, Pork Skin, Smoked Pork with Vegetable, and an Eggplant dish. Only a duck dish sucked.
I can't wait to go back.
re: Ciao Bob
I can't wait to go back either, and am awaiting an invitation from my niece to come up from Fountain Valley to do just that. We all love the food there, and she orders all the exotica and we just chow down for almost no money.
Do not go for any glamourous setting, however. You also might find that you drove by the place, it is that well concealed unless you know where it is.
I was taken there for my birthday this year, and have now eaten there 4 times.