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NY style eggrolls in L.A.? Not at Genghis Cohen!

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Here's the short answer to this age-old question that New Yorkers living in Los Angeles really want to know. THERE ARE NONE! Truly, there are many imposters, but there are absolutely no NY style eggrolls in or around the Southern California area that even come close to the burrito sized, stuffed with BBQ pork or shrimp, or both, anywhere within a good driving distance of Los Angeles. The biggest "poser" is Genghis Cohen on Fairfax Ave. in L.A. After reading several posts on this website my wife and I decided to drive from the San Gabriel Valley all the way to Fairfax on a school day at around 2:30PM. We did this knowing that the lunch crowd will be gone and the dinner crowd wouldn't start for at least a couple of hours. I was very excited as this would be something that would take me back to walking in to one of the many restaurants in my neighborhood back in NY where you can order an eggroll and a soda and know you'll be satisfied. So sure was I that these eggrolls would be great (after reading the menu I had no doubt) that we ordered not one, but two orders to go. On top of that we ordered the chicken corn eggdrop soup which is my absolute favorite. On the way home I asked my wife to hand me an eggroll as I just couldn't wait to get all the way home. I even had duck sauce laid out on my dash so I can dip and munch. MY FIRST BITE TOLD ME ALL I NEEDED TO KNOW. Sure, the wrapper was golden brown, and not doughy, but not paper thin either. The smell was right, but that's where it all came crumbling down. I bit into what turned out to be a deep fried cabbage burrito. There menu says, and I quote, "STUFFED WITH BBQ PORK AND SHRIMP." There was not a hint of pork in it, and after I had my wife take it apart she found 2 (two) microscopic shrimp in the whole eggroll. We opened up another one just to give them the benefit of the doubt...nothing! $5.50 for two cabbage stuffed burritos. And we got 2 orders!!! I was so mad that I couldn't even begin to drive back in fear that i would get crazy. And the soup? Forgetaboutit! The corn which was still hard was added to the soup after the broth had been prepared, as were the STRIPS, not soft CHUNKS of chicken. All in all, if you're like me where you judge a place by at least two popular items, I'd forget about Genghis Cohen. I wish I had more than two thumbs, so I can give them three thumbs down.

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  1. at least they have duck sauce there. i actually found a bottle of duck sauce at fresh and easy the other night. when i went to open it i realized it had expired a month ago. sigh.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Clyde

      99 Ranch for your duck sauce* needs.

      *and every other conceivable bottled Asian sauce. Their sauce aisle is pretty amazing.

    2. >> After reading several posts on this website my wife and I decided to drive from the San Gabriel Valley all the way to Fairfax

      Not sure which posts you were referring to, but several years back a few NY/NJ Chowhounds and I did a pretty exhaustive search across LA for the eggrolls you seek and ultimately determined that although Genghis Chohen's were New Yorky in nature, they were still not very good. I reread some of my old posts and nowhere did I ever indicate that they were very good, and certainly not driving in from the SGV for.

      Ultimately we determined that the best way to get these eggrolls in LA is to make them ourselves. One of the old posts contained a tweaked David Rosengarten recipe, and with that as guidance I made some pretty spectacular ones with my Le Creuset and a whole lot of peanut oil.

      Mr Taster

      1. I found that Kwon's in Pomona has an above average New Style eggroll. Pork only, no shrimp but an big and have the thick skin. It is straight up in the barrio but are pretty tasty. They pretty much serve ten thousand varieties of fried rice and also have stuff like chop suey and baby corn. The weird part is that most of their clientele are African American or Hispanic and they even put those Mexican pickled jalapenos in the chili garlic sauce. If anyone is in the area, it is worth a shot.

        12 Replies
        1. re: A5 KOBE

          Thanks for this. My Lovely Tasting Assistant goes to school in Pomona, so I will check it out the next time I help her with her commute.

          Mr Taster

          1. re: Mr Taster

            No problem. Oh yeah, the hours suck (close at 7pm) which is sometimes a hassle. I would love to hear what you think about them.

              1. re: A5 KOBE

                Has anyone else been?? Makes me long for the days I worked in Pomona, when I was needed at the home office....... Now I'm never out that way.

                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                  Words that rarely get put together:
                  "Makes me long for the days I worked in Pomona,"

                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                    I know, right?! At least I didn't work out of there everyday.....lol!

                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                      Nothing wrong with PTown. There is more excitement on Holt Blvd than a whole month where I live. Better than any crime movie from Hollywood.

                      1. re: A5 KOBE

                        LOL, for a minute there I thought were talking about Cape Cod! (I'm from the east coast & we call Provincetown at the tip of the cape PTown).

                        Yea, but it was pretty quiet during the day. Our HO was over on Garey, pretty close to the 71 and CalPoly. I was not thrilled, however, when I had to check later when it got dark. Industrial and abandoned, not a good place for a lone female ;)

                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                          Damn, your HO was right near Kwon's. I hear they get a lot of college kids because of the huge portions of fried rice which is not half bad for the price.

                          Also, there was 3 murders in Pomona in one night a few days ago. Very dangerous indeed when the sun goes down.

            1. re: A5 KOBE

              Really good to know, wish I knew about it back when I worked there often!

            2. I've posted this before, Wings in Yorba Linda has pretty authentic NY Egg Rolls and the restaurant is a throwback to 1960's NY Chinese Restaurants. I usually get 6 orders (12) and freeze them. I've never dissected them but they seem to have all the key ingredients and the wrapper is perfectly fried.

              1. Lesson: Stop trying to look for NYC stuff in LA. Just like you can't get native-like KC BBQ, Montreal bagels, Philly Cheesesteaks, or Chicago deep dish outside of those regions (esp. in NYC or LA), looking for regional food from NYC is going to be tough here. It's regional food, so by definition from that region, not universal.

                Is it really that surprising? Why should anyone here try to make NYC provincial food? You could try to make fried ravioli here, but someone from St. Louis would complain "THIS ISN'T ST. LOUIS STYLE!"

                Why not just appreciate the incredible range of Chinese food that LA has to offer and save the NYC eggrolls for a fun treat when you visit back home? Otherwise, you're just going to be as frustrated and nobody wants that.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Robert Thornton

                  I used to believe just as you've posted here. Don't look for stuff you loved back home but instead revel in and search for the stuff we do best out here.

                  But if you think about it, what's different about NY'ers looking for egg rolls than immigrant Chinese looking for the best Cantonese or what-have-you, that they miss from back home?

                  And the fact that Chinese restaurant folks from Shanghai move to the SGV and open great places, or Chinese from NY move here and start making egg rolls like they served back home means it's all good and fine to look for...(and the fact that there are a lot of immigrant Chinese here, or lot's of NY'ers have moved here means that those restaurant folks have a built in clientele to some degree).