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Best of Downtown Chinatown

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I know the best stuff is in the San Gabriel Valley, but what is the best this area has to offer? I will be alone so consider about $10 max per meal.

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  1. Looking for authentic Chinese not american style

    1. First, let me put things in context. San Gabriel Valley is notably better than Flushing (not a knock on Flushing), while Manhattan Chinatown is better than L.A. Chinatown. Or, another way of looking at it is that there might be a handful of restaurants in L.A. Chinatown that would be able to stay in business if they were in the San Gabriel Valley. On that basis, I guess I'd go with J.R. Bistro, street address 750 N. Hill Street, but really in the middle of a shopping and restaurant complex and parking area that spans between Hill St. and Broadway. They serve decent Cantonese food (effectively the only style of Chinese food in Chinatown, with a couple of insignificant exceptions).

      12 Replies
      1. re: Chandavkl

        Thanks for the insight. Ironically on my only previous trip to LA Chinatown JR Bistro was the 1 restaurant I tried. I liked it, I ordered a lobster for 10 bucks and some fried squid. There is nothing but Cantonese in LA Chinatown? That is really depressing. I realize this is not the place for this but I would love to visit San Gabriel Valley via public transportation, but is seems complicated to research online. I am staying near Union Station. I am willing to endure a long trip I need cheapest option. It cant be that hard to travel 10 miles can it?

        1. re: AubWah

          JR is pretty good. I also like Zen Mei Bistro on Yale for super dirt cheap food. You can get a whole (but very small) lobster in garlic sauce for ten bucks. Any seafood (clam, squid) in their black bean sauce is solid. Also, for a cheap (and late night) meal you can go to Won Kok and get an order of dumpling. It's a little weird because you have to order at the counter even if you're sitting. The dumplings are dirty but delicious. Stay away from the regular set course menu. Also, quality is very spotty but if you want cheap dumplings Yum Cha on Broadway is super cheap.

          Chinatown is also a great place for Bahn Mi. My faves are the truck on Alpine and Spring and Lien Hoa on Broadway (spend up and get their roast pork Bahn Mi there). People seem to like Buu Dien but I've never been a big fan.

          -----
          Won Kok Restaurant
          210 Alpine St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

          Lien Hoa
          721 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

          Zen Mei Bistro
          800 Yale St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

          Buu Dien
          642 N Broadway Ste 5, Los Angeles, CA 90012

          1. re: mrgreenbeenz

            I always order noodles at Won Kok; My favorite is the House Special Chow Fun. I haven't heard good things about the rest of the menu, however. I love the baked bao at the counter.

            -----
            Won Kok Restaurant
            210 Alpine St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

            1. re: Ogawak

              +1 for the baked bao and I get my chow fun there with fish fillet.

              I like Hop Li better than JR.

            2. re: mrgreenbeenz

              I like the Banh Mi at Bahn Mi My Dung.

              1. re: mrgreenbeenz

                Went to Buu Dien per J. Gold's rec. Didn't do it for me either.

                -----
                Buu Dien
                642 N Broadway Ste 5, Los Angeles, CA 90012

              2. re: AubWah

                I've worked downtown for the past six years and it's a five minute drive (or probably a 10 minute bus ride) to Chinatown, and I don't think I've eaten lunch in Chinatown more than 10 times in that period. While there are bus lines between the Union Station and the SGV, I suspect they are express lines for commuters that won't drop you off anywhere close to someplace good to eat.

                There are a couple of pseudo Shanghai style restaurants in Chinatown, but they're targeted for the Americanized crowd. Otherwise it's Cantonese and Vietnamese.

              3. re: Chandavkl

                I think I will try Master Chef, I like their lunch and late night menu. I've never tried "French Beef" I know they won't have an exemplary rendition of it, but the pictures look great to me

                1. re: AubWah

                  Master Chef is the offshoot of Full House Seafood, half a block up on the same side of Hill St. Full House was the post-late night gathering spot in Chinatown, supposedly where the Chinese chefs went when their restaurants closed for the evening, and my presumption was that the "master chef" was the main guy who had been in the Full House kitchen. When Master Chef opened up a couple of years ago, it was really good--as good as Full House or better. But a few months ago a relative told us that Master Chef had gone badly downhill. Wanting to see for ourselves, we stopped by a couple of weeks ago, and it was pretty bad. Now this was a weekday lunch, and maybe the main man is still in the kitchen at night, but right now I wouldn't recommend Master Chef to anyone without a caveat emptor.

                  Every Hong Kong style restaurant out here has French style steak on the menu, the "French" referring to the shape the meat is cut, not how it is cooked. Kind of hard to mess up, though surprisingly the version at J.R. Bistro isn't very good.

                  -----
                  Full House Seafood Restaurant
                  963 N Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                  Master Chef Restaurant
                  937 N Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                2. re: Chandavkl

                  My wife, mother and I really enjoyed our dinner at JR's. As non-Chinese, we enjoyed his version of sweet sour pork (Mom's favorite dish). Maybe the best sweet sour we've ever had. Also had their lobster special which was delicious if a bit skimpy. I've heard good things about their crispy fried chicken and will try the crab special next time we go.

                  JR has a lot of fans from the Westside from his days at first the Oriental Seafood Inn, now closed, and later at JR's in West LA.

                  Of course I would go to San Gabriel Valley first for the best Chinese food, but JR's gives you a nice option in Chinatown.

                  Chandavkl: is Full House related to the Full House in Arcadia? I really like the Arcadia restaurant.

                  1. re: Ogawak

                    When the Arcadia location opened it was as a branch of the Chinatown restaurant. I don't know if the affiliation has held up.

                    1. re: Chandavkl

                      I believe they were still affiliated as of last year, but I'm not completely confident about that.

                3. Looks like I'll be eating lots of tacos

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: AubWah

                    AubWah,

                    Take heed of Chandavkl says about Chinatown. He knows what he speaks of.

                    It is truly sort of sad that one of the best restaurants in Chinatown is a Portuguese one. If you are so inclined give Queee a try. www.queeesushi.com

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      When I went to Queee last year they didn't even give me the Portuguese menu, just the sushi menu. I had to ask for the Portuguese menu and at that time it was very short. However they did give us this really delicious Portuguese chowder which was not on the menu at the time. I hope they've beefed it up since.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        I took your recommendation and went to try Queee this past Saturaday. This is my take of the restaurant.

                        I realized before I went, that Queee is occupying the former spot of Asian Noodles (A Filipino Noodle place we used to go in their early days). By the way, Queee is losing the lease and moving across the street in May/June timeframe.

                        Chef Paulo was such a nice guy. He repeatedly came to check with our table (2 of us).

                        A complimentary amuse bouche of seared tuna with a hint of sesame oil to start the meal – good.

                        I asked Chef Paulo to prepare a plate of the best fish he got and he came back with a sashimi plate of salmon, tuna, smoked albacore and uni. He is a sustainable chef. My wife and I felt it was just ok, nothing great. $12 was good deal.

                        We then ordered the Portuguese Specials:

                        Porco à Alentejana (Pork & Clams) – both of us were disappointed with the peculiar taste of the whole dish, - will not try this again. The pork has no flavor except of the sauce I mentioned.

                        Grilled Lamb Chops w/ Rice – we felt the disk was just OK, I could do better I think, nothing to write home about this dish.

                        And then:

                        Chef Paulo, gave us Caldeirada (Fisherman’s Bowl), on the house. Such a hospitable guy, and the irony of all was this dish was the best of our meal.

                        For Desserts:

                        A sample of 5 morsels of different desserts served each with a Chinese soup ladle.

                        We really want to like this restaurant and want to support it, but our take is his dishes are too ordinary. Did we miss something ?

                        Has anybody ever tried his special dinner events?

                        Chef Paulo, was such a nice guy.

                        1. re: jotfoodie

                          That's too bad.

                          I've never been for one of their special dinners, only for lunch. Had the Fisherman's Bowl and the Sabelfish, and both were quite good -- definitely better than anything I would rather have in Chinatown.

                    2. Will definitely have a Viet meal or 2, whats the best place

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: AubWah

                        In my original list I left out Pho Hoa on Spring. IMHO the best pho in Chinatown. Jonathan Gold big ups Pho 97 but I've tried it a couple times and don't think it's even close to as good as Hoa - maybe his review was from the long long ago. Make sure to get their spring rolls - they are even better than Golden Deli in SGV (which is sort of the brass ring for Vietnamese in LA).

                        -----
                        Pho Hoa
                        818 N Spring St Ste 103, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                        1. re: AubWah

                          Well, we're not talking real Vietnamese restaurants, but rather pho and banh mi shops. Pho Broadway (942 N. Broadway) and Pho 87 (1019 N. Broadway) are quite good. You can get good cheap sandwiches at L.A. Sandwich (736 N. Broadway in the arcade). I do want to clarify that most of the Chinese restaurants in Chinatown are "authentic" except for a few like your Plum Tree, Hop Louie and Yang Chow. However, I think the targeted demographic may be the low income senior citizens who live in the area.

                          -----
                          Pho Broadway
                          942 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                          Pho 87
                          1019 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                          Yang Chow Restaurant
                          819 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                        2. Hong Kong BBQ (Formerly Sam Woo BBQ) for noodles and soups.

                          -----
                          Hong Kong BBQ
                          803 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA

                          19 Replies
                          1. re: monku

                            OP is one of the more expert Chinese food "hounds on the New York board, and I fear telling him to go to Hong Kong BBQ or Won Kok or Hop Li is like telling one of us to try Wo Hop.

                            -----
                            Hong Kong BBQ
                            803 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA

                            1. re: Chandavkl

                              Maybe we just send him to Philippe's and hope the hot mustard redeems us?

                              1. re: happybaker

                                Definitley going to try Philippe's! Saw it on Travel channel. Probly going to order beef double dip

                                1. re: AubWah

                                  Excellent!

                                  Make sure to get a cup of their 9¢ coffee. It's surprisingly good!

                                  1. re: AubWah

                                    I would do a thorough search on this board before committing to that beef double dip.

                                    Every time I've tried any meat other than lamb, it's been tough and dry. And despite what many say, double dipping the bread makes it all but fall apart (making it, as ipsedixit says, "denture friendly"), which is not texturally pleasing. You get all the flavor and moisture you need on a single dip sandwich.

                                    My advice is to go for the lamb (single dipped), coffee and a slice of one of the cream pies. With tax and tip you'll be out about $12. And don't forget to generously douse your sandwich with the hot mustard on the tables....

                                    Mr Taster

                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                      very helpful mr taster thank you i will get the lamb single dipped and try the coffee

                                    2. re: AubWah

                                      Check out Philippe's, it's an institution.

                                      When you're ready for a sandwich real men eat (fire fighters,cops, city workers, etc) check out Eastside Market (82+ years) at the very northern edge of Chinatown.

                                      Get the #8 hot plate with Italian beef, pastrami, peppers and cheese + roll (make a sandwich and there's plenty of meat left for another sandwich) $7.20 including tax.

                                      http://www.esmdeli.com/

                                      -----
                                      Eastside Market
                                      1013 Alpine St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                  2. re: Chandavkl

                                    I want good chow mein or won ton soup, then HK BBQ is the place.
                                    I didn't suggest WK or Hop Li for chow mein.
                                    I think Won Kok is kind of a dump and if you ever look at their dishes they're just sloppy presentations. It's popular because it's cheap. The only plus is they have dim sum day and night...I didn't say it was great or good dim sum.
                                    OP is also limiting it to $10/meal.

                                    -----
                                    Won Kok Restaurant
                                    210 Alpine St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                    1. re: monku

                                      Across the street from Phillipe's in the Regent China Inn. They have really solid Cantonese food dirt cheap during their lunch special: $4.95 a dish. It's really delicious and a great deal. Love their porkchops with spicy salt.

                                      -----
                                      Regent China Inn
                                      747 N Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                      1. re: monku

                                        Won Kok and Hop Li references were to suggestions by other posters. Didn't mean to associate you with those places!

                                        -----
                                        Won Kok Restaurant
                                        210 Alpine St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                      2. re: Chandavkl

                                        Did the Wo Hop scene 45+ years ago growing up in NY, loved it as a kid. If it's still the same, I might still like it?
                                        I like a visit to Paul's Kitchen every now and then.

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

                                        1. re: monku

                                          Went recently for Won Ton soup and it wasn't at all good.

                                          1. re: JAB

                                            Where at Wo Hop?
                                            Because the best wor won ton soup in LA is at Paul's Kitchen.

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

                                            1. re: monku

                                              No, Paul's Kitchen.

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

                                              1. re: JAB

                                                Sorry to hear that.
                                                Their wor won ton is probably one of their most popular items. Many people make a meal of it.

                                        2. re: Chandavkl

                                          Hey- At 4am, the downstairs at Wo Hop is delicious!

                                          1. re: Chandavkl

                                            When restricted to China Town...

                                            1. re: Chandavkl

                                              So the OP is New York's version of....you

                                              1. re: Ogawak

                                                Both boards have a number of posters who are familiar with a wide array of Chinese restaurants within their geographic areas.

                                          2. Hop Li looks better than Won Kok. Won Kok reminds me of Wo Hop which is a style of "chinese food" that should remain in the sentimental past. Full house ehhhh...Thanks for the info about Master Chef I will avoid it. Weird how LA Chinatown is so inept. Ironically on my previous visit after doing research I wanted to try B's Wanton House but I ended up at JR. Now I see B's has moved to SGV. I realized I need to focus on tacos, which I love as much as Chinese. The tacos will be better than what I get in NYC. Las Morelianas looks like the only place where a boy like me can be truly happy. Golden City looks better than any aforementioned chinese restaurants

                                            29 Replies
                                            1. re: AubWah

                                              Hop Li is infinitely better than Won Kok.

                                              Also, don't miss the carnitas tacos at La Luz del Dia at the end of near by Alvera St.

                                              1. re: AubWah

                                                "Weird how LA Chinatown is so inept."
                                                ------------
                                                Unlike NYC Chinatown, LA Chinatown was developed primarily as a tourist attraction in the 1930's, so it doesn't have the same history of restaurants catering to Chinese tastes.

                                                1. re: Peripatetic

                                                  Very interesting did not know that

                                                  1. re: AubWah

                                                    Yes, Los Angeles' real Chinatown was torn down in the 1930s to build the Union Station. Civic leaders came up with the "New Chinatown" arcade like area as a replacement, but it lacked one critical element--housing. Consequently in the 40s, 50s and 60s most Chinese never had any reason to visit Chinatown, except to attend an occasional banquet. Only after the mid 60s change in immigration laws did Chinatown have any Chinese residents. One byproduct is that there are no longstanding Chinese restaurants in Chinatown--I'm guessing none of today's restaurants date back any further than the early 1970s.

                                                    1. re: AubWah

                                                      AubWah, I understand your question and your perspective. I do have to say that if you're a Flushing Chowhound, you really are doing yourself a huge disservice by even considering dining in Chinatown, if your reason for visiting is solely based on food.

                                                      If you're going for other reasons... to learn a bit about the colorful history of Chinatown, or to check out some restaurants used in films, or find a dingy little faux-Chinese place with a surly bartender, then by all means go to places like Hop Louie or Foo Chow. Sure there are better places for food as others have outlines above, but please don't go with any expectation of having anything other than a mediocre to poor meal, especially compared to what you can find in Flushing, and absolutely compared to what is available just down the road in San Gabriel.

                                                      I agree with others. When near union station, avail yourself of the Mexican options. Much of downtown is easily accessible by public transportation. And get to know the Dash bus. They're cheap and easy ways to get around during the day.

                                                      Little Tokyo also is walking distance (or an extremely short 1 stop ride on the gold line) and has some decent (if not extraordinary) possibilities.

                                                      When you decide to venture to San Gabriel, I'd suggest taking this route.

                                                      http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&s...

                                                      It will drop you off at New Avenue and Valley Blvd, steps away from the fantastic Noodle Express 101 where you must try the unfortunately named "beef roll". Then you can walk eastward down Valley Blvd towards the epicenter of Chinese food in downtown San Gabriel. You'll pass several Shanghainese restaurants, a damned fine Beijing restaurant, and the Great Mall of China (Focus Plaza) which is simply mind blowing for the first time visitor. And on top of it you'll see about 15 foot massage places which will give you essentially a full body massage for $20 (including tip). Stop in at Ranch 99 Supermarket, then go to Hawaii Supermarket at Valley and Del Mar for a more intensely Chinese experience.

                                                      Then hop in the bus and you'll be back at union station in 30 mins.

                                                      http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&s...

                                                      Mr Taster

                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                        I was just in the process of looking up the 487/489 line for you, but Mr. Taster beat me to it. I used to take that line to/from work. It's fast because it takes the carpool lane on the freeway. I'll bet that during non-commute times, it would take you 20 mins each way.. 15 if you get the crazy driver.

                                                        The only tricky part is that you'll have to exit Union Station to get to the actual bus stop. From the middle of Union Station, I go out the doors near the Amtrak ticket windows and walk across the courtyard and through a parking lot. The bus stop is located on the median of the entrance to the 10 freeway.

                                                        It's been at least 6 months since I've gone through Union Station, but there was never any good signage for this group of bus stops. Hopefully that's changed. It's officially called the El Monte busway and it's at Alameda and Arcadia streets. I'm sure if you ask someone official, they can help direct you.

                                                        I think it's definitely worth the trip if you're looking for good and varied chinese food. There are tons of good places within walking distance of where that bus lets you off.

                                                        1. re: mileena

                                                          Nope, finding that bus stop is totally counterintuitive, but it is absolutely the best way to go. The way mileena describes it is the best way to get there if you know where you're going. If you're not, I'd recommend walking out of the station to Alameda, turn left, and at the freeway onramp (this is the entrance for the El Monte Busway) look towards 10:00. That's where the bus stops are. Walk across the El Monte Busway and be on your way.

                                                          Even if you've got a car, the El Monte Busway is the *only* way to have a timely San Gabriel Valley dinner on a weekday. It requires 3 people to ride in during rush hour, but you zoom past all the traffic. The busway becomes the carpool lane on the 10, and before you know it you're taking that convenient left turn exit on Del Mar into the heart of San Gabriel's restaurant row.

                                                          Mr Taster

                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                            From a map it looks like san gabriel and alahambra you could walk from one town to another?

                                                            1. re: AubWah

                                                              To focus on ScoopG's criticism of the San Gabriel Valley, the Valley runs several miles end to end and at least as a whole can't be navigated without an automobile. One of the more prominent streets in the SGV is Valley Blvd., though it is by no means the only major commercial street. There's a six mile stretch of this street running through Alhambra, San Gabriel, and Rosemead, which is almost exclusively populated by Chinese businesses, one or more Chinese restaurants (usually more) on almost each and every block. And Valley Bl. doesn't even run through Monterey Park, the best known Chinese community of all. In your case, I'm sure you could have a long and rewarding walk, but you'd barely scratch the surface.

                                                          2. re: mileena

                                                            wow thanks so much for the detailed instruction, i am definitely going to attempt this

                                                            1. re: mileena

                                                              so the bus will let me off a close walk to good places in san gabriel right? and either the 487 or 489 will take me there? i'm sure i will ask people just want to get my bearings i am so excited

                                                              1. re: AubWah

                                                                I think you *could* walk from one town to another, but most southern californians would probably find it absurd. ;) Once you are on Valley Blvd. (the big main street with tons of restaurants), there is a local bus 79 that just drives up and down Valley that might be more convenient.

                                                                Both the 487 and 489 will stop at Valley and Del Mar, which is very close to a lot of restaurants. Half a block to the west is the Focus Plaza mentioned above with a 99 Ranch and lots of restaurants and shops. If you want to try 101 Noodle express, there is a closer stop at New and Newby, but really, it's not a long walk.

                                                                I live farther away now, so I'll leave it to others to suggest yummy places on Valley near Del Mar or New Ave that you should try.

                                                                Couple of tips that should help:

                                                                - When you find the bus stop outside of Union station, make sure you are boarding on the correct side. You want the buses that are entering the freeway, not getting off (that would take you into downtown). The signs should say 487 or 489 to El Monte Station via (something depending on the line).

                                                                - These are commuter trains so they won't run as often on the weekends. And I believe it's zone 2, so the fare might be around $4 each way. Here's the PDF schedule (you are going eastbound): http://www.metro.net/riding_metro/bus...

                                                                Good luck! I hope you find lots of great food. :)

                                                                1. re: mileena

                                                                  wow thanks alot can't wait already started restaurant research. thats funny last time i was in la and i told people i was walking from hollywood to beverly hills they couldnt believe it

                                                                  1. re: AubWah

                                                                    "can't wait already started restaurant research"
                                                                    ---------

                                                                    Time to start the "Best of the SGV that's walkable from Valley Blvd or Garvey Ave" thread!

                                                                    1. re: Peripatetic

                                                                      Haha no some people have really gone the extra mile to be so helpful in this thread and I appreciate it so much. I'm confident I can make educated decisions from here!

                                                                      1. re: Peripatetic

                                                                        Time to start the "Best of the SGV that's walkable from Valley Blvd or Garvey Ave" thread!
                                                                        ________________

                                                                        Define "walkable".

                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                          I personally prefer the "rollable" metric: the distance I can roll with a push of my leg after I've stuffed myself at a restaurant. Unfortunately, rolling does present some interesting problems when trying to enter a restaurant.

                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                            For me, walkabe means that I can get there within 30-45 minutes.

                                                                            However, the walk from 101 to 99 takes maybe 15-20 minutes, and that's if you lollygag a bit.

                                                                            At a brisk pace you could walk it in 10. I'd say that's certainly one of the best bangs for your walk, in terms of distance:density of good restaurants. That's not even really taking into account the restaurants that are just a short distance east of Del Mar, like the com tam place in the Hawaii Supermarket building, or the Hunan place a little further down on the same side of the street. There's even a $10 foot massage place (also an hour, but you forego the head, back and neck massage for this price-- same side of the street as the com tam place, a little further down).

                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                        2. re: AubWah

                                                                          last time i was in la and i told people i was walking from hollywood to beverly hills they couldnt believe it

                                                                          ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                          Walking from one end of Alhambra to the other end of San Gabriel isn't as far, but not all the "point's of interest" fall on Valley Blvd.

                                                                        3. re: mileena

                                                                          this will be my first time walking around downtown LA i hope im not too creeped out by the vibe. going to seem very foreign to me coming from nyc

                                                                          1. re: AubWah

                                                                            You have listen cautiously to Angelenos who tell you not to walk or use public transportation in LA.

                                                                            The problem is that most of the naysayers gave up on the system long before they figured out how to make it work for them. Then they spend their time summarily dismissing the system as a whole. For example, no, it's not feasible to commute by bus or train from Santa Monica to San Gabriel. But from Union Station? It's a breeze. And if you get tired of walking, you get on the buses the go up and down Valley Blvd.

                                                                            And I agree with Peripatetic.... you should start a new thread titled "Best SGV walking areas for Chinese food on Valley and Garvey".

                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                          2. re: mileena

                                                                            I would add a couple of items to this itinerary, though it might stretch the OPs ability to eat and carry food. Omar's, the Uighur/Xiajiang restaurant is on New Ave. just a half block south of Valley. When traversing between 101 Noodle Express and Focus Plaza, note also the shopping center at 301 W. Valley Blvd. in San Gabriel, which includes Mei Long Village, who many Chowhounds believe to have XLB superior to Din Tai Fung, and Happy Kitchen, home of probably the only Lizhou style food (e.g., noodles in sea snail broth) in North America. Note also that in Focus Plaza you can get Wuhan style food at Happy Eatings (Unit #211) and Guilin rice noodle soup (Unit #203).

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Din Tai Fung Restaurant
                                                                            1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

                                                                            101 Noodle Express
                                                                            1408 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801

                                                                            Happy Kitchen
                                                                            301 W. Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA

                                                                            Happy Eating Restaurant
                                                                            140 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                                                            1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                              Wow Cool thanks, definitely interested in Lizhou style and Wuhan and Guilin....so exotic!

                                                                              1. re: AubWah

                                                                                When I went by Happy Eating, the exterior signage still showed the previous restaurant name, Shufeng Garden, a Sichuan style restaurant. For that matter, they still use the Shufeng Garden menu. But it's the supplemental menu that has the Wuhan items. Even if you never had Wuhan food before, there's no mistaking the menu as it has so many different and interesting things. Guilin rice noodle soup (not sure if they use Eight Cafe or Guilin in the exterior signage) is great--there are several branches in the chain here. As far as Happy Kitchen goes, I ordered the noodle soup not knowing of the ingredient in the soup stock, and was kind of unpleasantly surprised.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Happy Kitchen
                                                                                301 W. Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA

                                                                                Happy Eating Restaurant
                                                                                140 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                                                      2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                        I second what Mr Taster said at 3:19pm: being near Union Station, you can use the subway system to get very quickly to Little Tokyo (Gold Line), East LA (Gold Line), Koreatown (Red and Purple Line), Thai Town (Red Line) etc.

                                                                        Here are some past threads on restaurants accessible by subway:
                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/436632
                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/436841

                                                                        And downtown LA apparently has a coffee row, if you are interested in doing a coffee crawl:
                                                                        http://www.ladowntownnews.com/article...

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Little Tokyo Restaurant
                                                                        150 E Bonita Ave, San Dimas, CA 91773

                                                                  2. re: AubWah

                                                                    Golden City and Full House are run by the same owner. Between the two, I'd take Full House.

                                                                    1. re: Galen

                                                                      I bet some of the characters in those two kitchens are really not to be messed with if you know what i'm saying

                                                                      1. re: AubWah

                                                                        You mention several times your love of tacos. In that case you need to read this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/731952

                                                                    2. re: AubWah

                                                                      Hop Li looks better than Won Kok. Won Kok
                                                                      -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                      In more ways than one.
                                                                      The "crowd" that frequents Won Kok, doesn't frequent Hop Li.
                                                                      Hop Li has table cloths and carpet, Won Kok doesn't.

                                                                      Won Kok could be considered the Wo Hop of LA..they're open until 3am and dim sum day and night.

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                                                                      Won Kok Restaurant
                                                                      210 Alpine St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                                    3. ABC Seafood on Ord and New High has $1.99 chinese food for a 1 item combo plate. :l

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                                                                      ABC Seafood Restaurant
                                                                      708 New High St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: dinedelish

                                                                        Sadly, ABC Seafood was once, in my opinion, the best Chinese restaurant in the U.S. But the owner chef retired and took all his recipes with him, so it's too heartbreaking for me to go back there.

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                                                                        ABC Seafood Restaurant
                                                                        708 New High St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                                      2. Yum Cha Cafe looks pretty cool, anyone tried their congee? Anyone have a favorite casual place for congee in the area?

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: AubWah

                                                                          Have not tried their congee.

                                                                          I go for their dirt cheap dim sum (although some of the sizes have been shrinking and in the downtown Chinatown area, CBS seafood may be a better bet.)

                                                                          However when I see folks getting bowls of something at Yum Cha, they look much happier than people with plates : )

                                                                          1. re: happybaker

                                                                            interesting thanks for the reply, yum cha would probly be better for me since ill be alone. sounds like the cantonese situation in the area isn't exactly anemic

                                                                            1. re: AubWah

                                                                              Yum Cha Cafe is by a senior center - trust me, you will not be alone!

                                                                              That said, it is great for a lone diner, I've seen many folks there with a book or a paper at a table. Easy.

                                                                          2. re: AubWah

                                                                            Congee is pretty much what I order from them. Make it togo, please. It is OK for the price and if you are craving for a big bowl of hot congee early in the morning without having to go to a dim sum place, then this is the place. I usually order the fish fillet with extra chinese donut on the side. They also have beef congee.
                                                                            With its price do not expect anything else. They serve it to you with a tiny disposable plastic spoon together with a short and skinny chopstick.

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                                                                            The Congee
                                                                            19 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801

                                                                            1. re: AubWah

                                                                              Yum Cha's fish congee is real good. Really good fish in every spoonful! Make sure to get the Chinese doughnut!

                                                                              1. re: AubWah

                                                                                Duck egg congee at Yum Cha is good...think it's like $2.99.
                                                                                You can't get much more casual than Yum Cha Cafe.

                                                                                Best baked BBQ pork buns are at Family Pastry...meaty and only 65 cents.(take out dim sum). Open 7 days at 7am.
                                                                                715 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA
                                                                                (213) 622-5255 ‎

                                                                              2. I've never eaten the food (nothing even close to vegetarian), but my girlfriend swears by Mien Nghia, a Chaozhou noodle shop (think there's one in the SGV also). It's been around for a while, though I think they moved.
                                                                                http://www.runawaysquirrels.com/2009/...

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                                                                                Mien Nghia Restaurant
                                                                                304 Ord St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: will47

                                                                                  I've been wanting to try Mien Nghia ever since I read this review at the "eatdrinknbmerry" blog a few years ago... one of these days:

                                                                                  http://eatdrinknbmerry.blogspot.com/2...

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                                                                                  Mien Nghia Restaurant
                                                                                  304 Ord St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                                                  1. re: d_doubleyew

                                                                                    The Rosemead branch is definitely excellent, but it's been years since I've been to the Chinatown location so I can't vouch for it.

                                                                                  2. re: will47

                                                                                    d_doubleyew thanks for posting my link. Mien Nghia has a special place in my belly.

                                                                                    Chandavkl, love that you know Chinatown ha! Wonder if we've eaten at the same places.

                                                                                    In any case here are some of my thoughts:

                                                                                    Aubwah, I've been driving through Chinatown nearly everyday for 7 years because of my commute to work. I can help you with the noodle department at least. Chinatown usually just does the trick, it can't replace Little Saigon or SGV. Chinatown has a large population of Chiu Chow/Chao Zhou/Trieu Chau Chinese. They love to eat rice/egg noodle soup with various meats such as beef/pork balls, fish balls, fried fish slices and five-spice duck legs. I typically go back in forth between:

                                                                                    New Kamara - Cambodian/Chiu Chow couple. Try their chiu chow special noodes with or without soup. Wontons are not HK style but still very slippery and enjoyable. Also Beef loc lac rice. I go here twice a week because it's comforting and free parking too.

                                                                                    Mien Nghia - Chiu Chow run. One of three locations, but I believe one of them has recently closed. In any case, the one left in SGV is probably the best since the owner runs it. I'm thinking he's based at the Rosemead location on Garvey. This is the only location that you can buy the famed satay chili sauce that makes their sometimes bland soup turn into liquid magic.

                                                                                    Pho Pasteur - this place replaced Au Pagolac. And when I'm craving Bun Bo Hue, Vietnamese pork bone lemongrass noodle soup, I'll go here. It's nothing like what you'll get at Ngu Binh in Little Saigon, but it does the job. And I like their fried bean curd shrimp paste (tom dau hu ky).

                                                                                    New Dragon Seafood Restaurant - another typical $4.99 lunch special place but I go here for their wonton and beef brisket noodle soup. The chef is actually from Hong Kong and makes a tasty, but not true to Hong Kong, bowl of wontons. It just hits the spot for $5. Try with red vinegar and their really good chili oil sauce. No complaints here.

                                                                                    Pho 87 - may be the better pho restaurants in Chinatown. They always give a good amount of beef in their bowls. I used to go to Pho Hoa, which isn't bad either.

                                                                                    Nam Thai Vietnamese Hot Truck - this truck has been on the corner of Spring/Alpine for decades. I remember eating here as a kid in the late 80s. They've been owned by over 4 different people and sell the same Vietnamese snacks like banh mi, banh cuon (ground pork/woodear mushroom crepes), nem nuong (cured pork balls) and various desserts. It's good when you're in a hurry, but they only show up after 10 am I believe.

                                                                                    Buu Dien - J. Gold loves their banh mi, I think their ok but I love the couple. I go here for their $4 bun rieu (vietnamese tomato and dill, crab patty soup noodles). Very homey food here. Their cured meats are so so.

                                                                                    Hoan Kiem - before it was passed on to the owner's cousin, this place made some really decent chicken noodle soup (pho ga) and fresh banh cuon. It's gone down over the years but you can try it out.

                                                                                    Wu Ha Thai - this sweet lady used to run a small noodle shop in Thaitown called Thai Town noodles haha. She offers a variation of the popular Thai Boat noodles called "nam tok". Her food was so good before but has gone down drastically. I still go there to support her as much as I can. But give it a shot.

                                                                                    Yum Cha Cafe - their beef brisket noodle soup isn't bad. Again does the trick. I also like their fried shrimp paste balls. But for the most part their dim sum doesn't even taste right and I don't like that they only offer soy sauce and Sriracha as condiments. Good dim sum doesn't need soy sauce.

                                                                                    Hope this helps!

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                                                                                    Hoan Kiem
                                                                                    727 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                                                    Pho 87
                                                                                    1019 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                                                    Ngu Binh Restaurant
                                                                                    14072 Magnolia St, Westminster, CA 92683

                                                                                    Pho Hoa
                                                                                    818 N Spring St Ste 103, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                                                    Pagolac Restaurant
                                                                                    14580 Brookhurst St, Westminster, CA 92683

                                                                                    Buu Dien
                                                                                    642 N Broadway Ste 5, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                                                    Mien Nghia Restaurant
                                                                                    7755 Garvey Ave, Rosemead, CA 91770

                                                                                    Pho Pasteur
                                                                                    8821 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

                                                                                    Kamara Restaurant
                                                                                    709 N Hill St Ste 14, Los Angeles, CA 90012