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Jan 18, 2013 02:47 AM

Is There Such a Thing as an Openly Gay Friendly Chinese Restaurant in Chinatown/SGV?

An organization I work for is seeking to host their annual dinner in a couple of months, and this time the idea of a Chinese Banquet Style Dinner is been chosen. However, the organization I work for advocates for minority groups including the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community, and would prefer to select a restaurant that not only can host a party of 50 to 100 people, but is known to be very gay friendly. Needless to say, with the attendees, and some speeches and discussions expected for that night, the organization would like a restaurant that is fine with having all this occur. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. I think if your check clears, or if you cash is green and has the correct dead president on it, just about any restaurant in SGV will be "friendly" to just about anything you want to do, and any speech your org will want to give.

    17 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Yes, especially if paying with cash

      1. re: ipsedixit

        Thanks for the response. The organization is affiliated with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a national non-profit LGBT advocacy group, and we need to follow HRC's guidelines which is to have the restaurant confirm that they are LGBT friendly and do not conduct themselves in any manner that is anti-gay. That said, do you think it will still hold true for most Chinese restaurants?

        1. re: TripleAxel

          I'm not so sure that a Chinese restaurant *can* confirm that they are not anti-gay, not because they are anti-gay, but probably because the thought's never crossed their minds.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            It would probably be just as odd to ask them to sign a contract specifically saying they are friendly to heterosexuals.

            Having said that, since it doesn't matter to them one way or another, don't you think they might just chuckle, mutter something in Chinese and just sign the contract anyways?

          2. re: TripleAxel

            What are we talking about here? HRC needs Empress Harbor to sign a letter? In English? Proclaiming the staff is gay friendly? Hopefully someone brings the popcorn when this is going down, cuz it's going to be bags of LOLs.

            1. re: TonyC

              Not sign a letter, but I think it's safe to say I would have to go to some place like Capital or Sam Woo, where they are incorporated, and thereby, have a greater chance of following specific employment guidelines and offering benefits (which, in HRC's case, hopes that domestic partner benefits are offered, or that there has been no history of any form of sexual orientation discrimination or harassment). And if the restaurant is neutral regarding same-sex spousal benefits, then as long as there are no known incidents of anti-gay activity: discrimination, harassment, etc.

              1. re: TripleAxel

                At the risk of sounding like a reverse elitist, are most members of HRC going to be okay w/ "real" Chinese food, independent of the business being gay-friendly? B/c, if most of the attendees aren't Chinese, they're potentially going to feel uncomfortable for reasons that have nothing to do w/ sexual orientation/identity (and I'm being quite earnest here)....

                1. re: TripleAxel

                  LOL sorry I support your cause but I'm Chinese and asking this of a Chinese restaurant is near impossible. Almost all have some sort of, from an American, perspective "harassment" but I just call it being Cantonese Chinese.

                  I will bet that any restaurant will say the right answers to you because they want your business, now to know the truth is a whole other matter.

                  1. re: Johnny L

                    It's not harassment--it's "ambiance." :-)

            2. re: ipsedixit

              I'd think the really conspicuous thing if you did this in the SGV (as opposed to Chinatown) would be the group being largely non-Asian.

              1. re: Chandavkl

                Can we find a Chinese restaurant in that area that is gwai lo friendly? ;-D>

                1. re: Servorg

                  Back to this again? I've only been treated rudely once in a Chinese restaurant, and that particular teen waitress was rude to Chinese customers as well. To me, it was almost comical. And I've often been treated friendly (gasp!). Hopefully, this doesn't lead to me again being berated for "being too stupid to get it".

                  This is a greatly entertaining thread though. Even my observations concur with what others have posted.

                  1. re: JThur01

                    Im asian and I get treated rudely occasionally at chinese restaurants, even when I speak the language natively.. It also *gasp* happens occasionally at non asian restaurants!!

                    It has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with service..which is normally no frills @ chinese restaurants.. -_-

                    1. re: jasongg06

                      I put up the emoticon so others would know (?) I was kidding.

                      Chinese waiters tend to be no nonsense, maybe even brusque at times, but that has never bothered me. They tend to get the order right and the food out in good order. That will trump any other consideration for me every time.

                      1. re: Servorg

                        I kinda thought so Servorg. A big thumbs up, +1, ^ this to your reply. I concur completely and jason's reply sums it up too.

                        Now, let's get back to finding a "Gay friendly" Chinese place in the SGV...

                        1. re: Servorg

                          thats why i put up the face as well..

                          1. re: Servorg

                            Servorg: "I put up the emoticon so others would know (?) I was kidding."
                            This is the "emoticon" you put up: ;-D>

                            It's meaningless to me. I wonder how many other people thought it was something other than a typo.

                            Sorry, but some of us don't even see emoticons.

                2. No chinese restaurant is going to confirm whether they are gay friendly or not. They just don't care.

                  Call one of the larger restaurants to book them for the night, tell them how many people, which course you want, and they'll be largely out of your way other than serving food.

                  1. IS there any friendly Chinese restaurant? har har.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jaykayen

                      If you order the most expensive option for a set seafood dinner and pay in cash then, yes, they're quite friendly....

                      To the OP, I agree w/ all the other posters. You might have a party large enough to book the entire restaurant (I think the private rooms would be far too small.... In the old days, they used to have sliding/folding screens that could cordon off the area....).

                      1. re: ilysla

                        Yeah, many of the good, smaller places in SGV, are about ~ 15-20 tables in the main room. So you'd probably want to find a place that's smallish and then book enough tables to book more or less the whole main room (the restaurant will still book the private rooms on the same night).

                        Is this on a weekend or a weeknight? If it's on a Saturday or Sunday, and you're not springing for the upper tier banquet menus (which, to be frank, will probably not be as appealing as the cheaper ones if the bulk of the crowd is not used to Chinese banquet food), they may be less accommodating overall.

                        Corkage charges and whether or not outside alcohol is allowed / encouraged may be another thing to consider.

                    2. Budget-permitting, you could consider the Hilton Universal City (talk to their banquet manager) - they may be more willing than SGV restaurants to provide some sort of official statement about this, and the Chinese banquet food there is excellent.

                      I agree with the other folks in this thread, though, that I think there may be a cultural gap here if you expect to get one of these SGV / Chinatown restaurants to provide official confirmation that they're gay-friendly. You're gay? "Ok... that's your business". But I also think you would be very unlikely to get much in the way of an outward negative reaction from the staff if you were to host your dinner at one of the nicer Chinese seafood restaurants (though I would love to be a fly on the wall when you are having this discussion with them).

                      Other thing to keep in mind is that these venues can be booked far in advance for wedding banquets. Also, make sure to pay a deposit, even if they say you don't need to put one down so early in the process - otherwise, if a bigger group comes along, they may just screw you over.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: will47

                        Agree as to the Hilton. Went to a Hong Kong Merchants Association Banquet (or something) there with the vast majority of guests appearing to be Chinese and/or Chinese American. Everyone seemed to enjoy the food. I cannot speak to it as it was very far from vegetarian friendly (something to discuss if you end up there). I dined on steamed brocolli.

                        1. re: lrhr

                          Hilton Universal City can actually do a fantastic vegetarian option, with or without egg, with their Chinese banquets (a full 10 course meal, vs. the several dishes all at once you'd get at most banquets) - actually one of the reasons we did our wedding there. We had a vegetarian table. I was the groom, but since I'm vegetarian, the staff was nice enough to bring me over food from that table, for the few courses I actually got to eat. It is hard in the case of mixed couples or if you don't have enough vegetarians to make up a table (I believe if you really push hard, they can also set up a table's worth of veg food at a buffet type station).

                          However, it is an option that requires you to order an entire table of food (family style), and typically, all the vegetarians would have to sit together. I believe they are also willing to make a stand-alone option for a vegetarian, but it's fairly expensive for what you get.

                          Hilton San Gabriel may also be an option, though I have heard the food is (surprisingly) better at Universal City.

                          1. re: lrhr

                            OP didn't ask if the food was vegetarian-friendly. He wanted to know if the restaurant is gay-friendly. How does one correlate to the other? I don't know.

                            1. re: TonyC

                              I think it's safe to say that there's likely to be some overlap.

                              1. re: will47

                                I'm gay and I hate tofu. And you *know* there's going to be tofu.

                                1. re: will47

                                  Most likely and based on your recommendation, all the vegetarians would have to sit together at a table (whether they like it or not) in order for it to be cost effective.
                                  It sounds strange to me...

                                  1. re: latindancer

                                    Right. That is really the only way to do it and also have a full 10 course banquet. I would normally be more than happy to sit next to my vegetarian brethren and sistren, especially if it means enjoying a nicely paced banquet instead of getting a few dishes all at once at the beginning, and then twiddling my thumbs (and getting drunk on cognac) for the rest of the meal.

                                    And in any event, being seated near people you don't like is not unheard of at either weddings or business dinners, whether or not you're divided up by food preference.

                                2. re: TonyC

                                  While I'm sure that there is likely to be some overlap of vegetarians, my point was that I could only attest to other people appearing to like the food. I ate mostly steamed broccoli. Which is fine. I don't expect my dietary choices to be catered to (especially if i'm not paying) as long as I don't actually starve. I didn't eat the food so I don't have an opinion on it. Simply that, as a giant corporate entity, the Hilton may be in a better position to meet the OPs policy requirement and that they put on what *looked* like an authentic banquet which appeared to be enjoyed by a mostly chinese-speaking crowd.

                            2. How does even say "gay friendly" in Chinese?


                              4 Replies
                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                No responses, which means Ipse is correct?
                                In that case, can I safely assume the 简体字 version is
                                欢迎同性恋者 ?

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  The slang term for "gays" is "comrade" 同志. This is used to avoid internet censors against the terms "gays" or "homosexuals".

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    I'm guessing the average restaurant staffer would understand 歡迎同性戀人 better than 同志友善, which gets lots of Google hits.