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Apr 25, 2013 11:07 AM

Q&A with our very own Chandavkl (aka "David Chan")

As many of you may have heard or read about, one of our very own LA-based Chowhounds, Chandavkl, has received some recent and well-deserved press regarding his rather amazing culinary exploits.

These include, a write-up in the LA times and Chowhound post found here:

As well as a previous write-up in the LA Weekly (by our own ClarissaW), which you can read about here,

Given all of this recent interest in Chandavkl, I thought it might be worthwhile to have him participate in a Q&A session with the fellow 'Hounds on the LA Board. And despite his busy schedule, Chandavkl has graciously agreed to participate.

Chandavkl is one of the most intrepid and well-versed 'Hounds on Chinese cuisine, both historically and culturally, that you will come across on these boards. In many ways, he epitomizes what the spirit and quiddity of being a Chowhound is all about.

And while you can read his blog ( ) or follow him on Twitter ( ), this is your opportunity to ask the man who, as ClarissaW so eloquently and aptly put it, "Has Eaten at 6,000 + Chinese Restaurants" and is "impressively thorough" your most burning culinary questions.

So without further ado ...


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  1. Awesome idea, ipse!

    Chandavkl, it's been mentioned in the write-ups about you that you do not speak Chinese. However, I'm wondering if your Chinese vocabulary may actually be quite large, even if it only consists of names of dishes.

    I would not claim to have learned Japanese by eating sushi, but I know a heck of a lot of Japanese words because of my proclivities.

    12 Replies
    1. re: PeterCC

      I speak what might be called "pidgin Toishanese" which doesn't get you very far.

        1. re: Chandavkl

          Thanks for responding. Do you order dishes by their English names even if you know their Chinese (be it Mandarin, Cantonese, etc.) names?

          Also, this may have been answered in one of the media interviews, but since your goal is to try as many restaurants as you can, I'm assuming you might make fewer return visits to places than the average Chowhound. What specific restaurants in L.A. do you repeatedly dine at most frequently?

          1. re: PeterCC

            Will use Chinese names if necessary. Repeat visitor to Qingdao Bread Food, Tasty Garden, Seafood Village, but most often to Union Buffet in WLA because I need to gain weight so I go there once a week.

            1. re: Chandavkl

              Which raises the question: how do you eat so much and stay so thin?

              1. re: mc michael

                Portion control, carb control and exercise

                1. re: Chandavkl

                  Thanks. Which branch of Seafood Village do you favor?

                  1. re: mc michael

                    Monterey Park because it's closer to me.

                    1. re: Chandavkl

                      You are a practical man. Thank you.

              2. re: Chandavkl

                Union buffet, really ?

                I've never been able to set foot in the place. But someone did mention that they had Fujianese (sp?) fish balls ?

            2. re: Chandavkl

              Chandavkl, like you I don't speak Chinese. I probably know even less than you. I find I don't get much respect in restaurants by the servers. Do you have that problem?

              1. re: granadafan

                Only until the point when I order something no tourist would eat.

          2. I'm wondering if there were different regions represented in the SGV in 1979 when I first began my expoits there. I remember eating pretty much exclusively Cantonese at that time and wondered if it was because of whom I was going out to eat with or if that was the only good Chinese available at that time.

            2 Replies
            1. re: JAB

              Mostly Cantonese back then, though I notice that workers at the newest branch of Yi Mei in Monrovia are wearing company shirts that say "since 1979". That was probably the little location on Atlantic next to Di Ho Market. I think 1979 was the initial beginnings of non-Cantonese Chinese in Los Angeles, strangely most obviously in Chinatown when Great Shanghai and Szechwan Palace opened up in the Food Center in 1979. The SGV did not supplant Chinatown as LA's primary Chinese food area until the mid to late 1980s.

              1. re: Chandavkl

                Interesting in that we were in Pasadena and rarely went into Chinatown. I do remember going to Monterey Park though as Arcadia and Valley Blvd weren't established yet.

              1. Chandavkl you are my chowhound hero.