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Oct 3, 2011 03:51 PM

Return To Wah's Golden Hen For Old Time Cantonese

I've driven by Wah's Golden Hen literally hundreds of times since it's just around the corner from my in-laws' house. However it's been over 30 years since I've stepped foot in and eaten at the place, since old time Cantonese food hasn't been my first choice for, well, much more than 30 years. However, for those who are looking for that type of food, it could be what you're seeking, . They have most of the old time favorites including chop suey, egg foo yung, egg rolls, etc., and the lady behind the counter is Toishanese. They also have some items I don't recall seeing at an old time Chinese restaurant including shrimp with bitter melon and squid with green beans. I had the fried fish fillet, essentially a mild version of fish with pepper salt, which was OK. Was surprised at how much business they were doing--nearly full at 11:30 am, including guys in suits (I didn't think guys in suits worked anyplace close by). Of course, where else can you get a $3.50 lunch special (fried rice, chow mein, and your choice of egg foo yung or sweet and sour chicken). Wah's Golden Hen is at 709 N. Virgil. Fans of old time Cantonese might want to take a single trip to also hit up the other mid-city sentinel for this type of food at the same time--Bamboo Inn at 2007 W. 7th St., which has the bonus of Raymond Chandler like ambiance.

Golden Hen
709 N Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029

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  1. Wah's has been closed for remodeling for a number of weeks. I hope it is a remodel in response to their being named this year by Eater LA as one of the top 10 Chinese restaurants outside the San Gabriel Valley, as opposed to the usual meaning when a Chinese restaurant is "Closed For Remodeling".

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chandavkl

      Depends. Did you see a stepladder placed strategically by the door?

      1. re: Chandavkl

        it's open again! they just renovated

      2. Did you happen to notice if they had pressed duck, either the almond or sweet and sour version. I have been searching out a few places that still have it. My favorite "old style Cantonese" dish.

        2 Replies
        1. re: EdSails

          Does Wah's Golden Hen have almond duck, i.e. cubes of pressed duck in a sweet/sour sauce with some lettuce shreds? That was my favorite dish when I lived in Silverlake 25 years ago. Back in town in a few days and I'll stop by if the have the almond duck.

          P.S. There are some onliine menus that mention "Almond Chicken" at Wah's. Is that what they have now? Is it the same preparation?

          1. re: otis

            Pretty sure they don't have almond duck. You have to go to Paul's Kitchen downtown or Canton City in Montebello. Almond chicken is a completely different dish--stir fried pieces of chicken, often with vegetables.

        2. Wow, with a name like that I wonder if they also serve some sort of Golden Egg novelty dish?

          1. Man, I tried it out tonight for takeout and gotta say I found the food to be inedible.

            The egg rolls were pretty darned disgusting and the mongolian beef was ridiculously greasy.

            On the upside, the woman running the place was sweet as pie.

            12 Replies
            1. re: JeMange

              The place has amazing yelp reviews. Go figure?

              1. re: ns1

                Those wacky Yelpsters are upselling again...

                1. re: J.L.

                  There was an article in Eater LA, I believe - can't seem to locate the link - 10 Best Chinese Restaurants Outside of the SGV.

                  Turned out Golden Hen was on it and is a short drive from my house. I was working late so I figured, "how bad could it be?"

                  The answer is very, awfully, criminally bad.

                  1. re: JeMange

                    I'm the farthest thing from being a food snob but bad food is bad food. I wasn't expecting something on par with a great SGV place. I was expecting decent Cantonese style americanized food.

                    The egg roll was filled with what appeared to be green/gray paste - no texture and a musty flavor. It was simply disgusting.

                    The mongolian beef was a little better but that's not saying much. It was unbelievably greasy. I'm sorry but I'm going to stand by my inedible comment.

                    Sorry - this comment was in response to Chandavki below.

                      1. re: TonyC

                        TonyC like a honey badger, DGAF.

                        1. re: TonyC

                          I don't give a f**k. I just found myself not giving said f**k in the wrong place.

                    1. re: ns1

                      I think this place is great for its target audience, which does not include most of us. Drove by a few Saturdays ago and there were people waiting to get in.

                      1. re: Chandavkl

                        I have no issue with americanized chinese food...hell I still think uncle john ham n eggs makes (made?) some of the best fried pork chops I've had in LA ^_^

                        srsly, anyone know where I can get awesome pork chops like this?


                        1. re: ns1

                          Uncle John's is the bomb.

                          Been pimping that place since like forever, esp. the pork chops.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            hell yeah. haven't been though since they moved :(

                            has it changed, better or worse?

                            1. re: ns1


                              It's too clean. Not gentrified (like so much of DTLA), but Uncle John's should be greasy, grungy, and grimy.