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Best Taiwanese pork chop?

Peripatetic Apr 12, 2012 12:12 PM

A mention of Jin Yuan (in Industry) reminded me to ask: who has the best Taiwanese pork chop in the LA area? So far my experience of this dish is limited to the "Railroad" at Why Thirsty, which is decent, but -- as I understand it -- not a classical version. (It's not crispy.)

  1. e
    Ernie Apr 12, 2012 12:27 PM

    Din Tai Fung in Arcadia have an excellent pork chop. In fact, I like it better than their dumplings

    1. b
      BSW6490 Apr 12, 2012 01:07 PM

      Any place on the Westside?

      1 Reply
      1. re: BSW6490
        Chandavkl Apr 12, 2012 04:50 PM

        Not since Munch closed down, and theirs were packaged offsite.

      2. TonyC Apr 12, 2012 02:08 PM

        Wacowla.com (purveyor of ALL things Taiwanese) ranked the top 5 PCR as follows in a recent print issue:

        1. Bobee5 (not fried)
        Polar Land
        Jin Yuan
        5. Lollicup Alhambra

        15 Replies
        1. re: TonyC
          Peripatetic Apr 13, 2012 01:53 PM

          How impartial is this in your estimation? Some of those appear to be Wacowla.com advertisers.

          1. re: Peripatetic
            TonyC Apr 13, 2012 04:19 PM

            They say it's the "people's choice" ie, there was some kind of voting. I used to be a huge fan of Liang's "red yeast" PCR, and that Lollicup does have one of the baddest fry stations of all Lollicups.

            Bobee5, which I tried upon seeing wacowla, was underwhelming for me; OTOH, ChowChick was like: OMFG, that's the best pork chop rice in LA.

            But I'm with ips: Old Country Cafe FTMFW. If they didn't have a front door, I could almost imagine it being a Taipei shack. Now, he speaks of the Temple City location, and I frequent the Alhambra station, but, for the money/speed/accompanying stir fries/taste... OCC over Dolphin/Sin(m)bala (which were all glossed over in wacowla).

            It also happens to be one of the oldest Taiwanese restaurants still in existence. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

            1. re: TonyC
              JThur01 Apr 13, 2012 05:05 PM

              Correct. Old Country in Alhambra is the oldest Taiwanese restaurant in continual operation at same location. Lee's Garden 2nd oldest. Love the homey feel of Alhambra location...and the food is very good.

              1. re: TonyC
                Peripatetic Apr 15, 2012 05:24 PM

                Thanks, Tony. I'm intrigued by the "red yeast" PCR. Did you stop being a fan because Liang's has gone downhill, or because you've moved on?

                1. re: Peripatetic
                  TonyC Apr 16, 2012 10:39 AM

                  huuuge downhill alert due to gross over expansion: http://www.liangskitchen.com/#!__page...

                  They hit 10 branches in 3 years? Now the NRM tastes like it was cooked at a corporate kitchen and watered down after delivery into sub-stations.

                  1. re: TonyC
                    Johnny L Apr 16, 2012 03:56 PM

                    Damn 10 locations? I never thought the food was spectacular to warrant that kind of expansion or is there big money involved?

                2. re: TonyC
                  Mr Taster Mar 21, 2013 10:17 AM

                  I don't know why we don't do to Old Country Cafe more often. I think we've been there only twice. My Lovely Tasting Assistant™ was jonesing for a pork chop rice and we went last weekend. Jebus H Criminy- that thing is huge, and delicious, and inexpensive. Fried pork chop over minced pork on rice, with some pickles fresh veggies and a couple o' scoops of suan cai. Is there really any better definition of comfort food? I think if any Taiwanese dish is going to cross the laowai barrier, pork chop rice should be it... what other dish would appeal to the rural farmer as well as the urbanite? Two Americas, joined by pork chop rice!

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster
                    ipsedixit Mar 21, 2013 10:27 AM

                    While I don't disagree with you Mr. T (cuz I love me a good PCR, and the one from OCC is by far one of the best, if not the best, renditions), I think my favorite comfort food on a plate with rice right now might be the Eggplant Rice with minced meat at 101 Noodle.

                    I think that dish could bring Kim Jong Un out of seclusion cuz Dennis Rodman's got nothing on Eggplant Rice.


                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      Porthos Mar 21, 2013 11:03 AM

                      Been eyeing that eggplant rice the past couple of times at 101 Noodle Express based on your rec. Is there any basil in that version? I like the basil versions mejor.

                      FWIW, the PCR at 101 Noodle Express is massive and a bit excessive even for a glutton. It's the exact opposite of the version at Din Tai Fung. The 101 version being thick, fatty, and surrounded in crust. I think there were at least 3 bone in chops on that plate. Plenty to take home and eat later.

                      1. re: Porthos
                        ipsedixit Mar 21, 2013 11:32 AM

                        No basil, but dunno why you couldn't ask for it.

                      2. re: ipsedixit
                        blimpbinge Mar 21, 2013 11:10 AM

                        For favorite (taiwanese) comfort food, I'm going to go with lu rou fan (braised pork on rice) from either Tofu King or Taipei Bistro. It should be eaten fresh, as the oil/fat will cool and sort of solidify on the rice if you take to go and the texture isn't the same anymore.

                        For porkchop rice, agree with OCC, I also had a good experience at "May's Chinese Restaurant" on Duarte in Arcadia. Though subsequent visits yielded bland-er tasting porkchops. Personally I find that the tw style porkchops happen to be kind of dry in general, even when I ate them in tw.

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          raytamsgv Mar 21, 2013 11:22 AM

                          Rice from a Shandong restaurant?! The horror! The horror!

                          1. re: raytamsgv
                            ipsedixit Mar 21, 2013 11:31 AM

                            No more of a horror than having a dumpling/noodle/bao dominated menu.

                            And to be fair, 101 Noodle is more of a Taiwanese joint, than a Shandong one.

                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              raytamsgv Mar 21, 2013 01:27 PM

                              All joking aside, the restaurants are simply selling to what their customers want regardless of their specialties.

                          2. re: ipsedixit
                            Mr Taster Mar 21, 2013 12:38 PM

                            I missed that post. I'll have to give it a shot.

                            Mr Taster

                  2. w
                    wanderlustre Apr 12, 2012 05:23 PM

                    Nice Time Deli still has the best Taiwanese pork chop in my opinon. Their menu is still available at Machi Fusion in Arcadia during lunch. It's pounded thin and battered in sweet potato starch. Garlicky, crispy, and a little sweet. Perfect!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: wanderlustre
                      Peripatetic Apr 13, 2012 01:59 PM

                      Did you mean Nice Time Deli or Good Time Deli?

                      1. re: Peripatetic
                        wanderlustre Apr 15, 2012 04:20 PM

                        I believe it was Nice Time. Used to be in the Focus Plaza, then moved to Arcadia where 101 Noodle Express is now.

                        1. re: wanderlustre
                          Peripatetic Apr 15, 2012 04:53 PM

                          Thanks, found it! http://www.yelp.com/biz/nice-time-del...

                    2. ipsedixit Apr 12, 2012 08:56 PM

                      Old Country Cafe.

                      (RIP Won Wong Kitchen).

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        Johnny L Apr 13, 2012 12:54 AM

                        Won Won's food was never good it was just good enough for the price. Despite that I at there at least once every other week heh.

                        1. re: Johnny L
                          ipsedixit Apr 13, 2012 12:42 PM

                          "Won Won's food was never good it was just good enough for the price."

                          But isn't that good enough? Or at least the way it should be?

                          We may like the pizzas at Mozza, but if each pie costs $1000, would we still say its good?

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            Johnny L Apr 13, 2012 01:49 PM

                            Well let me reword myself. It's cheap peasant food but at the price I don't expect the best version of this peasant food. I'm not being negative but that's just how I see it.

                            1. re: Johnny L
                              Mr Taster May 3, 2012 02:30 PM

                              I don't know. My wife was pretty crazy about their squid soup, and definitely would have paid significantly more than what they charged.

                              Mr Taster

                        2. re: ipsedixit
                          wanderlustre Apr 13, 2012 09:13 AM

                          The new place is run by the same owners. Still serve the tea jelly for dessert!

                          1. re: wanderlustre
                            Peripatetic Apr 13, 2012 01:54 PM

                            Not sure which new place you're referring to?

                            1. re: Peripatetic
                              Servorg Apr 13, 2012 02:00 PM

                              Old Country Cafe (click on the name of the poster wanderlustre was replying to -ipsedixit- and it will show you the place under discussion).

                              1. re: Servorg
                                Peripatetic Apr 13, 2012 06:10 PM

                                I understood it referred to ipsedixit's post. What I thought wanderlustre was saying is that the owners of Won Won Kitchen have now opened another place. If so, I'd be interested in the name of the place.

                                1. re: Peripatetic
                                  wanderlustre Apr 15, 2012 04:22 PM

                                  Same spot Won Won was. It's called "Is House" or "Js House". Can't tell if it's a I or J.

                                  1. re: wanderlustre
                                    Peripatetic Apr 15, 2012 04:41 PM

                                    Thanks -- looks like it's Js House: http://www.yelp.com/biz/js-house-temp... They're reportedly added Malaysian items to the menu.

                                    Seems to have opened sometime around January. [Attn: JThur01!]

                                    1. re: Peripatetic
                                      ipsedixit Apr 15, 2012 08:31 PM

                                      Chandavkl posted about the new ownership already.


                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                        Johnny L Apr 15, 2012 09:41 PM

                                        Tried it today food is considerably better than Won Won and even though Chandavkl mentioned portions are smaller, I felt just as full from before. In fact I'm thinking about getting it again very soon since its so close to my house. Their fried chicken cutlet rice ain't half bad either. Pork chop is not fried though for those who care but it's not dry and overcooked like it was most of the time at Won Won, in fact it was so moist I had to make sure the pork wasn't raw/undercooked.

                          2. re: ipsedixit
                            Peripatetic Apr 13, 2012 01:53 PM

                            I've been meaning to try OCC forever now.

                          3. Peripatetic Apr 15, 2012 05:26 PM

                            It looks like Old Country Cafe is the way to go -- at least to establish a "reference" PCR. Both ipse and Tony agree it's the best -- you don't get a stronger reco than that!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Peripatetic
                              Peripatetic May 3, 2012 01:50 PM

                              So I've been to Old Country Cafe (Alhambra) twice now. I really like their PCR -- it's almost pork chop tempura (with extra salt)! The condiments that come with it aren't great, but the pork chop itself is hard to beat.

                              The shave ice at OCC was also very good.

                              Thanks everyone for the recommendations. I'm going to try a few others that were mentioned.

                              1. re: Peripatetic
                                JThur01 May 3, 2012 09:12 PM

                                Good. Should have mentioned OCC is easily one of the best places for shaved ice. Their machine shaves it from large round chunks of ice instead just crushing ice cubes.

                                Keep us posted on your PCR adventure.

                                1. re: JThur01
                                  Peripatetic May 3, 2012 09:50 PM

                                  > Their machine shaves it from large round chunks of ice

                                  I'm surprised more places don't have these machines. It's simple, compact, and the result is so much better than crushed ice. Now I don't have to drive out to Class 302 to get decent shave ice.

                                  Here's a photo of the machine in action from an article by some guy at LA Weekly:


                                  (See bottom photo.)


                                  1. re: Peripatetic
                                    ipsedixit May 4, 2012 07:22 AM

                                    Shau Mei used to use block ice.

                            2. TonyC May 17, 2012 01:49 PM

                              Bumpling, since Wacow finally decided to publish their magazine piece online:

                              Google translate as necessary.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: TonyC
                                Johnny L May 18, 2012 02:25 AM

                                I think I almost had an aneurysm reading that Tony.

                              2. b
                                Bradbury Mar 21, 2013 09:52 AM

                                Tofu King in Arcadia (yeah, the place that still has the "Chan's Paris N" sign out in front, a name that made no sense even when it WASN'T the wrong name...) now has a Taiwanese pork chop special, available with either rice or noodle/sprout soup, that looks curiously bubbly-orange-postnuclear and tastes just as absolutely crack-tacular as their Hound-adored dish #9, the stewed pork and mushroom rice.

                                It's not on the menu (or in English), just on a neon-orange tag taped to the partition glass near the kitchen. As my Chinese skills are quite limited, I only stumbled upon it by my usual method, i.e. "what is that and how do I get some?"

                                Definitely worth a try if you're in the area and don't feel like waiting 20 minutes for a table at Din Tai Fung around the corner.

                                P.S. the old Chan's Paris N, for all its weirdness, did make some really good mega-steam-buns stuffed with more unconventional meat/veggie combos. Anybody know somewhere else in the SGV where I can get my fix of those now?

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