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Where does one go for authentic Americanized Chinese food?

Thanks.

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  1. New York City!? ("Get a rope...")

    9 Replies
    1. re: PeterCC

      (Sorry, but that rope is still around my neck)

      1. re: ipsedixit

        Does authentic mean still prepared by Chinese but tweaked to cater to Americans? I get that "authentic" Americanized Chinese vibe from Dragon Palace in Santa Monica. Have to try their egg roll to see if it's the thick kind with meat inside...

        1. re: PeterCC

          Does authentic mean still prepared by Chinese but tweaked to cater to Americans?
          _______

          No, not necessarily.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            This seems like a trick question. Like I could say P.F. Chang but I think it's been deemed not even Chinese (Chinese adjacent?), Or I could answer Chin Chin, which is definitely Americanized, but perhaps so much so that it's not authentic?

            What about the original Panda Inn restaurants that led to the Panda Express pandemic?

            1. re: PeterCC

              I think I figured out the answer to my own question.

              Yang Chow.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Been going there since the early '80s. I like it, especially the Walnut Shrimp, but it doesn't get good Chow grades. Probabably for the very reason it's a good call here.

                1. re: Midlife

                  Not really. I LOVE Chinese food, authentic or americanized, and Yang Chow used to be a great choice that could satisfy a big table with lots of opinions. But recent attempts to eat there were so disappointing. Really greasy, like they were afraid they might have to scrub a wok. Its off my list for good.

                  1. re: Jetneo

                    That's disappointing. I really haven't been there more than once or twice in the past several years so I should really have qualified my comment. I was hoping the reason for poor Chow reviews was that it was over-Americanized.

              2. re: PeterCC

                The term "authentic" is so slippery that it is essentially what you make of it, and ipse knows this, so don't ask questions expecting any specific answers. Make your own judgment call and share with us.

                Mr Taster

        1. re: NYCnowLA

          Genghis Cohen: The closest I have come to the egg rolls I have had in New York and where I grew up, St. Louis. Yes, for some reason, St. Louis had those pebble-skinned egg rolls made with pork, shrimp, cabbage, etc.

          1. re: NeverEnough

            That restaurant name belongs in some kind of record book!

            1. re: NeverEnough

              Emperor Express in Sherman Oaks, @ Burbank / Fulton has them, too. Just like I remembered from my midwestern days...

          2. Need more specifics Ipse. "Authentic Americanized Chinese food" is kindof an oxymoron without a specific set of references.

            There used to be a lot of what "I" would call
            Americanized Chinese restaurants in LA, but I have no idea if A)you'd call them that' or B) if they're still serving the same kind of food these days. Down here, in far-South OC, there are a number of them. In fact, it's hard to find those that aren't. I'm using the criteria of dishes like Lobster Cantonese, Beef with Broccoli (the kind with large florets), and maybe a 'pupu plkatter' of appetizers on the menu. On the other hand, I grew up in NYC and have never really found anything like the food at Ruby Foo's (the original, not the recent incarnation) here.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Midlife

              I second this. In OC there are a number of places like Al Palace Chinese Restaurant, China Moon and Peking Dragon. All Americanized and serving the type of Chinese food popular in the early 90's. You won't find any hand-torn noodles.

            2. Some places I personally feel that are flying below CH's radar include Pei Wei, P. F. Chang's, and Panda Express (and arguably Panda Inn). I doubt most if not all have ever heard of these fine establishments.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Xan7hos

                Panda Inn is not bad. I'm referring to the one on Foothill Blvd in east Pasadena. I don't even mind PF Chang's. But Pei Wei was pretty awful. Seems like everything has a bucket of sugar in it.

                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                  Panda Express, not Panda Inn, is the one that's not so good. Thanks for the info on Pei Wei. I was going to try the one here in Vegas but won't now.

                  1. re: mucho gordo

                    Yeah, stick with Panda Inn, Pei Wei is pretty wretched.

                  2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                    +1 nod for Panda Inn

                    or you can go to Sea Harbour and get the Sweet and Sour Pork a la J. Gold

                    1. re: andytseng

                      yeah.

                      i'm going to have to try the original Panda Inn.

                      Interesrestingly enough, a few years back, there was a location in the mall across from the apple pan.

                2. oh great, let's delve into a postmodernist discourse on cultural relativistic semiotics.

                  like we needed an excuse.

                  1. LOL

                    I've been in search of exactly this for so long now! I'm in America almost all the time, so you'd think it'd be like falling off a log, or just stepping into most any Chinese place.

                    But listen to this: I went into a new local Chinese restaurant, and there was a guy in there, one of the chefs, demonstrating how they make their Chinese noodles by hand and fresh in house. That was a really bad sign. But I thought I should look closer, consulted their menu, noted the absence there of Chop Suey, and I just walked right out.

                    This kind of thing is happening more and more. Don't show me congee when I'm hankering for nice, cheesy crab wontons.

                    Edit:

                    p.s., because I was routed to this thread by one of those Chowhound "threads that might interest you" things, I only noted after the message that this is a board specific to LA. My initial thought was that the thread must be a joke. And maybe it is. But maybe, if you live in the San Gabriel Valley, it might actually be hard to find Americanized Asian foods! That area has amazing Asian chow.

                    p.p.s: my story about the guy making noodles by hand is in fact not a joke. And I'm in Indiana.

                    1. You didn't say good or chow worthy so, Paul's Kitchen.

                          1. re: wienermobile

                            Yeah, me too.

                            In fact, i just said it up above.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Was this an intellectual exercise or were you actually looking to have some authentic Americanized Chinese (or asking for someone else)?

                              1. re: PeterCC

                                Neither.

                                I'm taking a bunch of people out and they wanted to know what "American Chinese food" was.

                                And, no, I'm not partaking. I'm bringing my own In N Out.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Wow! I feel totally used now! ;o)

                              2. re: ipsedixit

                                I nominate (from the great state of Confusion - Confusion Sez?) Ya gotta have friends... http://www.chinesefriendsrestaurant.com/

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      If you've been to Yang Chow, how does it compare?

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        Haven't been to the Yang Chow Hound...so can't compare. But to me Friends was friendly, accessible and delicious. I take it you've been to both. How do you compare them?

                                        1. re: Servorg

                                          Actually, I've never been to Friends.

                                          If I'm in the DTLA area and want Americanized Chinese, it's usu. Yang Chow.

                                          Anything you recommend at Friends?

                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            I've always been impressed with their various shrimp dishes. The House Special Shrimp for one and their pan fried noodles were also very good.

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              I haven't been to either since the 90's---but @ that time, I thought that Yang Chow had the edge. Yang Chow's food is somewhat spicier than Friends and heavier on the garlic with probably more of the type of thick sauces that I associate with Americanized Chinese food.

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    When I saw "Chinese Friends" I wondered if there are Chinese Quakers...

                                    1. re: Tripeler

                                      Go to the Yang Chow in Chinatown. I have been to a couple of the other locations and they don't compare. Get the spicy won ton soup. It is to die for. A couple of sips and your vocal chords will stop working and your upper lip will start sweating.

                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                          You can't tell me you'd rather chomp a take-out In'n'Out over those addictive slippery shrimp. Chinese Friends' house special shrimp is an imitation of Yang Chow's specialty, served in a dingier environment (more authentic?!).

                                          1. re: nosh

                                            Has Yang Chow been there longer than Friends? I recall going to Friends for the first time in the 80's or even the 70's. I know it's been around for a long time.

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              Yang Chow opened in 1977. Friends in 1972.

                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                That would probably make it less likely that Friends was copying the shrimp dish at YC...

                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                  I seem to recall reading in the Times some time back that Yang Chow was the originator of the dish and it is not unlikely that Chinese Friends' menu has changed since its inception to include some dishes that were not on the original, including dishes first made popular by a competitor.

                                                2. re: wienermobile

                                                  I ate lunch there within the first week after Yang Chow opened on North Broadway.................... and many, many, many times in the 10-15 years after that. Richard Yun (one of the sons) and I developed something of a friendship that lasted 15-20 years. I'd see him after he moved to Hong Kong, while I was on business there. Not really into the family biz, he'd also lived somewhere in Africa (Ethiopia, I think)for quite some time.

                                                  We lived in the San Fernando Valley at that time and also frequented the Canoga park location, run by a family member (possibly Richard's sister). The food there was similar but I always liked the Chinatown location better. Perhaps this was because we routinely got special off-menu dishes on Broadway when a family member who knew I knew Richard was there, or because of the customer base difference in the West Valley.

                                                  Brining back great memories here.

                                                  Funny............. I don't remember Friends at all.

                                                  1. re: Midlife

                                                    Chinese Friends and Golden Dragon are two of the oldest continuing restaurants in Chinatown. They are both original tenants of Mandarin Plaza which opened in 1972.

                                                    1. re: Chandavkl

                                                      What pre-dated Mandarin Plaza?

                                                      My family's Chinese restaurant of choice was always General Lee's. It's been gone for decades. Or do you know the real closure date?

                                                      1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                                                        Before Mandarin Plaza was built most of the Chinese restaurants centered in the Chinatown Plaza area (where General Lee's was) and the immediately adjacent block on the south. The block of Broadway north of Ord wasn't even Chinese. I'm guessing General Lee's closed down early to mid-1980s.

                              3. Fu's Palace. Grew up going to owner Gary's father's restaurant, then shifted to Gary's place when he opened it. Classic Americanized Chinese food. Get the Palace Mu Shu - an updated version of the classic... very fresh. http://www.fuspalace.com/

                                1 Reply
                                1. By "Americanized", I assume you mean what you would have found in a typical Chinatown restaurant two or more generations ago. Being over fifty, and having grown up in a Chinese-food loving Jewish family, living in both N.Y. and L.A., I do feel like I have an idea what Americanized Chinese food is.

                                  It came in two flavors, Mandarin and Cantonese. Mandarin was understood to be from Northern China, and was "spicy", so that's the kind we liked. We looked down on Cantonese as for people with no taste buds. Mandarin Chinese is typified by dishes like kung pao chicken, moo shu pork, and twice cooked pork. Cantonese was chop suey, shrimp in lobster sauce, anything with snow peas, etc.

                                  Pupus were never part of the equation. Those you got at Polynesian restaurants like Trader Vics, and probably found their way onto some Chinese menus later on.

                                  In L.A. I can remember two places we frequented during the seventies. They were Twin Dragons (still in existence and still quite good) and Chung King on Pico (long, long gone).

                                  People look down on Americanized Chinese food now (certainly on foodie web sites), so this is kind of a funny post. Anyhow, this kind of food was a big part of my growing up, so thanks for affording this little trip down memory lane.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: MarkC

                                    Agree with your first 3 paragraphs, yet really disagree as to any recommendation for Twin Dragon today. Truly dreadful food.

                                    In Weho or Studio City, you should find Kung Pao Bistro quite tasty, definitely Americanized, but oh so good.

                                    And if you get Chinese food delivered - DO NOT!
                                    It keeps on cooking, so it gets worse from the moment it leaves the woks. Your delivery arrival might be 30 minutes later, 15 to drive, and 15 in the car with the driver who might have several stops.

                                    1. re: carter

                                      I agree with you on Kung Pao Bistro Studio City. I've been going there since they opened at the original location. Always got superb food.

                                      1. re: mucho gordo

                                        Good to know. I always take your recs seriously....... ;-)

                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                          Studio City might be quite a schlep for you. The one in WeHo is probably closer to you but I can't vouch for their food. Also, a couple of years ago, the one in Studio City downsized and moved from their large, nicely decorated location into a hole-in-the-wall about a mile further down Ventura. Same great food but you should do take-out only.

                                          1. re: mucho gordo

                                            Nearly a decade ago, my Lovely Tasting Assistant™'s first Los Angeles experience with Americanized Chinese food was at Kung Pao China Bistro in the Whole Foods plaza at Fairfax and Santa Monica. The experience was such that it put her off from "Chinese food" for weeks.

                                            It took a meal at the dearly departed Tung Lai Shun in San Gabriel to set her back on course.

                                            Mr Taster

                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                              It took a meal at the dearly departed Tung Lai Shun in San Gabriel to set her back on course.
                                              ______________

                                              That brings back some memories. Sadly, when it finally shuttered it was such a bad shell of its former (glorious) self.

                                            2. re: mucho gordo

                                              It is, but I am on the east side and downtown every few months or so, and usually looking for somewhere to eat before I hit the freeway back on my way home. Thanks, good to know re: doing the takeout, as I often do takeout as well, when I need to get back to the Westside before school let's out ;)

                                    2. What about Hop Li downtown. Don't get down there much but I recall having some pretty good meals there.

                                      1. Mandarin Kitchen at Westwood and Santa Monica Blvd.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: maudies5

                                          To me it doesn 't seem completely Americanized regarding some of the dishes on the menu, of course.

                                          1. re: kevin

                                            As I recall they have both fish maw and chop suey on the menu, which represent both extremes of Chinese cuisine.

                                            1. re: Chandavkl

                                              Also. Would congee be on an Americanized Chinese menu ?

                                        2. Paul's Kitchen. Mostly old style Cantonese dishes. That actually would have been considered authentic 50 years ago, but is now considered Americanized. We had our banquets at New Moon on San Pedro St. and catered our events from Paul's Kitchen a few blocks down.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Chandavkl

                                            I second Paul's Kitchen, especially now that I know what your purpose is. I think New Moon seems to have reinvented themselves. To me the defining "authentic Americanized Chinese" food is pressed almond duck, either brown gravy or sweet and sour. And PK has them. Don't forget chop suey.

                                          2. Another vote for Fu's Palace. Great food...and they're really good at altering their usual recipes, leaving out what you don't want and adding in what you do so you get just what you want.

                                            1. I'd say that Hop Louie would fit into this category.

                                              1 Reply
                                                1. re: Thor123

                                                  No.

                                                  That's what Americans consider to be Americanized Chinese.

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      I have to call you out and say, ipsedixit, that this whole thread seems like a gag. Your responses are in every instance cryptic, in a way I find entertaining. But when I hear you reject an Americanized Chinese food idea on the basis that it's what Americans regard as Americanized Chinese, I just have to shake my head in wonder at your moxie.

                                                      On the other hand, if you're serious, you should define some terms.

                                                      I hope you don't, though...

                                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                                        Hubris American Chinese as defined by OP

                                                        1. re: Bada Bing

                                                          I am entertaining a group of Mainlanders who have requested Americanized Chinese. So, no, this is no twisted mental exercise in culinary logomachy.

                                                          But to the question of why PF Changs is not Americanized Chinese, let me explain it this way.

                                                          PF Changs is what 外國人 (or colloquially a "老外") would consider to be Americanized Chinese, because even they realize PF Changs is not the real article.

                                                          On the other hand, the other places mentioned thus far (e.g. Yang Chow, Paul's, etc.) are what Chinese folks consider Americanized Chinese, but what 外國人 consider to be authentic Chinese.

                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                            I would be curious to hear back: how/if they enjoy the experience beyond as mental exercise (thousands of years of culture and this is what they think our cuisine is?!)

                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                              Why don't you go all out and take them to Mr. Chow?

                                                              Can't figure out why mainlanders would request Americanized Chinese food other than to criticize it.

                                                              At least at Mr. Chow you have the BH factor.

                                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                                They don't care about the BH glam factor.

                                                                1. re: Porthos

                                                                  Are you commenting on the need to split portions, modify the menu per specific dietary needs, or exactly what by the BH factor?
                                                                  Or are you just alluding to the few jaded stars that MIGHT show up to pay those outlandish prices, which is an even more Americanized version of Chinese food - bad food and high prices?
                                                                  just asking...

                                                                  1. re: carter

                                                                    Yep. No need to ask. You got it. Don't forget the decor.

                                                                  2. re: Porthos

                                                                    I think I get the point the mainlanders are looking for, after a few days of immersion in another country I love to see what they think passes for another's food (or their own as filtered through the new country's POV).

                                                                    yes there have been bad experiences and some surprisingly good ones. it's a crap shoot and an interesting one.

                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                      Sure, I can understand that. Although I have to say, I have neither the desire nor the curiosity to eat ketchup, corn, sweet potato pizza when I'm in Japan.

                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                        No even a 'Mister Doughnut'?! :o

                                                                        1. re: AAQjr

                                                                          I willl take their cake donuts any time. And where else can one find yomogi frosting?

                                                                    2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                      There are also places that serve Chinese American food such as tomato beef chow mein.

                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                        Well, now I'm glad you explained. It's an unusually specific circumstance. I can imagine going to Asia and having some curiosity about what they would have in an "American Food" restaurant.

                                                                        So another, if more ungainly, form of your question be "what Chinese places here are worthy while at the same time not trying to serve what Chinese people would call 'authentic' Chinese but instead our American stuff, like General Tso's, crab rangoon, etc."?

                                                                        edit: p.s., I can't decipher 外國人 nor "老外", so your record for leaving me scratching my head a bit with each reply remains unbroken. Thanks for keeping the mystery alive!

                                                                        1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                          The first series of Chinese characters means "foreigner" and the second series of Chinese characters is a derogatory term for foreigners, which I will leave up to your imagination.

                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                            "...a derogatory term for foreigners, which I will leave up to your imagination."

                                                                            Again, thanks for leaving me room to wonder, imagine, and speculate. It's a gift you have!

                                                                            1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                              Yes, more explanation would be greatly appreciated.

                                                                              1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                Now you're talking "gweilo" and you can read about it here if you're interested http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gweilo

                                                                              2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                oh so now we're all hwali or ghost-face killers. ok I can live with that.

                                                                                I thought the first was mei guo ren but not in the standardized version (sorry it's been 30+ years)

                                                                              3. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                More here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laowai on the derivation and various shadings of the meaning of "laowai"

                                                                              4. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                it seems tonyc is having a massive influence on postings on this board.

                                                                                pretty soon, we might as well all be posting in esperanto.

                                                                                1. re: linus

                                                                                  But the problem is there is no "Universal Translator" for the language that tc writes in...(g)

                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                    tonyc is dick and jane compared to watching the wheels spin on this topic.

                                                                                    1. re: linus

                                                                                      I'm just glad you added Jane to that sentence...

                                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                                        Heh, my thoughts exactly. TonyC is the real curmudgeon on CH LA, not you. ;-)

                                                                                        1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                          It's just so odd the things that may/can become "hot button" items for each of us, and that have the power to set us off. I think (hope) that kevin knows I appreciate his input here on CH.

                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                            And I hope TonyC knows I appreciate his input.

                                                                                            Kumbaya...

                                                                                          2. re: PeterCC

                                                                                            Aw, I was going for that title.

                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                    2. re: linus

                                                                                      LOL. I have to run TC's comments through googletranslate

                                                                                      1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                        Like kevin's sometimes. ;-) Just kidding kev.

                                                                                        1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                          Like kevins sometimes aren't meant to be when he does or doesn't not respond you mean?

                                                                            2. Which specific characteristics are you seeking?

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                  You are an extremely odd individual.

                                                                              1. How about Hop Li China Town? I find it respectable and perhaps Americanized.

                                                                                1. Going to check out the Paul's Kitchen menu. I'm watching this thread closely because this is the only kind of chinese food I like. The good kind. ;)

                                                                                  When is this dinner? I can't wait to hear the results.

                                                                                  1. Serious question: best egg foo young in the greater LA area?

                                                                                      1. I'm going with a friend for lunch today. I'll take pics. Thanks Chowhounds. *licks lips*

                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                            Just got back from Paul's kitchen, it was awful. My friend said it was mediocre at best. lol

                                                                                            1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                                                                                              The epitome of "taking one for the team" - so thanks for the "above and beyond the call of duty", Lulu! I'm not going to Paul's anytime soon and probably never.

                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                If it's good enough for LaSorda, it's good enough for me.

                                                                                                I'll give it a shot.

                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                  That's what we had the LaSorda. The waiter could tell we didn't like it and said "it was only so so huh? My friend said it was mediocre. I wasn't expecting her to tell him the truth. Ha!
                                                                                                  We still enjoyed the experience. My friend was like lets try a new place a least once a week.

                                                                                              2. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                                                                                                Thanks for the feedback. Paul's Kitchen is stuck in a time warp, merely a blast from the past. In the rare moments I feel like pressed almond duck, this is where I go. This is what Cantonese food was 50 years ago or so. Thank God for the SGV.

                                                                                            2. I've had pretty good food at Green Dragon in Eagle Rock. I don't know if it's the ultimate expression of Americanized Chinese Food (no General Tso!) but it hits the main themes (Egg Foo Young, Mu Shu, Kung Pao everything and Chinese Chicken Salad) and the food I've had has been fresh and pretty tasty.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. Won's Coffee Shop by the Van Nuys courthouse is very Chinese American and serves mostly cops and lawyers.

                                                                                                1. if they were still open, i would have said grandview palace in pasadena on fair oaks ;a place that'd been open for over 30 years in a city not known to have a large ethnic chinese demographic - so they've stayed in business satisfying non-ethnic asian palates. but you might try GP #2 near san gabriel blvd. on colorado.

                                                                                                  there's also a small takeout place that's been open on n. lake ave. for over 20 years, can't remember if it's north or south of washington. i'd expect them to have catered to a primarily non-chinese clientele all these years.

                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: barryc

                                                                                                    Grandview Palace has been closed for 15 years maybe? I used to go there as a kid. Pasadena has a pretty big Chinese population, now - not as big as Alhambra, San Marino, South Pas, but much bigger than anything on the West Side. I had my second kid at Huntington Hospital and they have Congee on the Room service menu (best post-childbirth meal EVER, BTW.) That said, pretty much every Chinese restaurant in Pasadena is Americanized at best and subpar at worst - all the residents (including us roundeyes) go deeper into the SGV to eat.

                                                                                                    1. re: Savour

                                                                                                      Since 1985 I have been once to the now closed Grandview Palace! Perhaps a few more times to Panda Inn.

                                                                                                      Of Pasadena area Chinese restaurants, the only one we will go to, IF absolutely necessary, is Fu Shing. SGV is so close that it does not make sense to go to Pasadena area Chinese restaurants.

                                                                                                      1. re: suvro

                                                                                                        I had forgotten about Fu Shing..... Used to do a lot of business lunches there.

                                                                                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                          hello!

                                                                                                          as long as the OP got the point, that's what mattered, but it WASN'T about finding authentic chinese cuisine - it was about finding americanized chinese cuisine - and given that grandview managed to stay in business for nigh on 30 years in a non-chinese neighborhood, they must have been doing *something* to attract the business of non-chinese clientele.

                                                                                                          and i would have gone to ocean coral over fu shing any day.

                                                                                                          1. re: barryc

                                                                                                            Mmmmkay........

                                                                                                            Not sure why you responded to my post, but whatever, maybe a slip of the keyboard.....

                                                                                                    2. re: barryc

                                                                                                      Grandview Palace was probably the worst Chinese restaurant I ever ate at in the Los Angeles area.

                                                                                                    3. Fu Yuan Lo in Palos Verdes

                                                                                                      1. So where did you end up taking your guest and what did they think? Just curious!

                                                                                                        1. Anyone remember Ah Fongs? Classic American Chinese and potent LaPoo LaPoos.

                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Thor123

                                                                                                            Beverly Drive, just South of Santa Monica Blvd.. Those were the days.

                                                                                                            1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                              Originally Ah Fong's opened on Vine in Hollywood. Eventually 4 additional locations were opened in Encino, Beverly Hills, Anaheim, and one on Sunset Boulevard in what is now WeHo.

                                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                Grew up with the Encino location and BH down the stairs was a fav date spot in the day.

                                                                                                            2. I'd lie to help but not sure what this means. bamboo in Sherman oaks?
                                                                                                              Also I don't find laowai to be derogatory in itself. Lao + a surname is affectionate.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. I remember getting off I-5 somewhere in the Central Valley and eating at a Chinese-American place that was like "Back to the Future I". They pretty much had it all from chop suey with the original fried noodles, sweet and sour and egg drop soup to bottomless tea and fortune cookies. Point being, this cuisine is probably easier to find out in the hinterlands.

                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: LADave

                                                                                                                  I also recall that there was a very good Chinese restaurant in that Central Valley area but I can't remember the details. I think the chef/owner had some serious credentials. Ill do some Googling, but I'm pretty sure someone here' will know.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                                    Most likely this is in reference to Imperial Dynasty (which, despite the name and ownership, was NOT really a Chinese restaurant) that was in Hanford, CA http://www.npr.org/templates/story/st...

                                                                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                      YES!! Imperial Dynasty is the place I remember hearing about, although Hanford is closer to 99 than 5, so it may not be the one LADave is referring to. But Imperial Dynasty has been closed fir some time, hasn't it?

                                                                                                                      1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8873...

                                                                                                                        ADD: The link to the story in the Fresno Bee no longer works, but here is a good link to a story http://fresnobeehive.com/archives/14954 about the death of Richard Wing, the patriarch and founder of the restaurant.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                          A new-ish place, in Hanford's China Alley, is getting good Yelp reviews: L T Sue Tea Room. http://www.ltsue.com

                                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                            What great stories. We visited Hanford on the way to Yosemite for the ice cream at Superior Dairy (after seeing the Huell Howser episode) and checked out the sadly dilapidated China Alley. I remember seeing the exterior of Imperial Dynasty but had no idea about the storied history behind it.

                                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                                      2. re: Midlife

                                                                                                                        It wasn't more than a few miles off I-5 and not grand at all. Cafe-style. I'm pretty sure I ate at a counter and not a table.

                                                                                                                        1. re: LADave

                                                                                                                          Well, then, not either of those places. Anyone else out there with some info????

                                                                                                                    2. I know what you mean. I dream of dark brown beef chop suey with chunks of celery and water chestnuts, and fat egg foo young patties that do not taste of raw flour. This was the Chinese food I grew up with in Chicago in the 50's, and although not authentic....it was delicious.

                                                                                                                      28 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Jetneo

                                                                                                                        >> and although not authentic....it was delicious.

                                                                                                                        Not true. That's the point I made in my comment above-- it >is< authentic. It's authentically Chinese-American. Everything is authentic to itself. (A decade posting on Chowhound has taught me this).

                                                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                          You back home yet?
                                                                                                                          No flour needed, EVER!
                                                                                                                          cornstarch is generally felt to be an option, yet it need not apply.
                                                                                                                          Even at Chengdu Taste in Alhambra last Friday, the shredded pork tasted like cornstarch city.
                                                                                                                          I realize cornstarch can enhance certain dishes, but please do not use it to excess.
                                                                                                                          And no water chestnuts or baby corn - EVER!
                                                                                                                          Two dreadful items that made their way into the Americanized Chinese restaurant scene, to the detriment of all.

                                                                                                                          1. re: carter

                                                                                                                            No, posting from my father-in-law's PC in Daya, Taiwan :)

                                                                                                                            Fresh water chestnuts are sweet and delicious. The ones from the cans are not. If you see fresh water chestnuts at a Chinese market, pick up a few. Rinse, peel and eat. Great stuff.

                                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                              And when was the last time you saw FRESH water chestnuts actually served in a Chinese restaurant - Americanized or not?
                                                                                                                              We only get the canned version, convenience being what it is.
                                                                                                                              By the way - Chengdu is very good, so upon your return...
                                                                                                                              Some very interesting dishes prepared quite nicely, JG notwithstanding.
                                                                                                                              Hope you are enjoying the stay.
                                                                                                                              My nephew and his wife can't wait to return for their annual visit.

                                                                                                                              1. re: carter

                                                                                                                                We've been having a great time... hard to believe we have only one week left. Eventually i'll get around to posting photos and additional info about the places we've tried. See link, if you haven't already.

                                                                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/918967

                                                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                1. re: carter

                                                                                                                                  I just bought fresh water chestnuts at 99 ranch. Easily peeled.
                                                                                                                                  Use them in a Hunan dish trad. served in bamboo cups of minced squab or chicken. Used to get this in a restaurant, Xiang garden/ charming garden. They usually made a Pork version.
                                                                                                                                  Lohanzhai can hav ginkgo nuts and water chestnuts. And th starch is very fine... You can buy it in Chinese drugstores...
                                                                                                                                  I grant they are much more common in American Cantonese food, but they're hardly rare on the mainland.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: carter

                                                                                                                                    Carter, what dishes do you like in Chengdu ????

                                                                                                                                    Btw, have you been to BB lately ?????

                                                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                      funny you ask about BB, I have not been in several months. Have a meeting with Aaron soon enough, yet have been staying closer to home than ever before. Most restaurants are too expensive, and many not worth anything close to the prices charged.
                                                                                                                                      At Chengdu, I did not dislike the shredded pork dish, yet have been used to a version at Kung Pao here in Studio City that is so much better, in that it uses virtually NO cornstarch.
                                                                                                                                      But Chengdu does have a dish of seafood in a green peppercorn broth that is truly incendiary - I mean, a whole bottle or so of green peppercorns to cook one tureen for 2-4 people. Good, yes, but your mouth will remain on fire for about an hour afterward.(#50 or 58, not sure which one).
                                                                                                                                      But went with 2 others who did not eat any red meat, greatly reducing my own personal options, meaning the lamb dishes.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: carter

                                                                                                                                        But I can still can by on solely the fish dishes right ????

                                                                                                                                        And last time I went to Taste of Sichuan (now defunct) in the SGV it was burning going in and then released 24 hours later and then for the next 48 hours.... massive well you know... i would seroiusly be in need of the toilets at the Magic Toilet Cafe.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: carter

                                                                                                                                          Meeting with Aarron ? You guys going to partner up on a new restaurrant ???? :)

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                      What's really great is to get fresh water chestnuts, peel them then slice them into thin "coins," and quickly fry them in sesame oil, salt lightly. My local sake bar does this and the dish just beats the hell out of potato chips like you wouldn't believe.

                                                                                                                                      Canned water chestnuts? Gosh, I don't think it would work at all.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                        You're rocking my world, Tripeler

                                                                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                          That sounds pretty fucking good.

                                                                                                                                          What's the name of your "local sake bar" ????

                                                                                                                                          Thanks man.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                            Mr. Taster and Kevin,
                                                                                                                                            Thanks for the kind reaction. The sake bar is in my neighborhood in Tokyo, and is called Sasagin. It has been written up in the NYT and the International Herald Tribune years ago. It is totally great, and every year during "kuwai" (Japanese for water chestnut) season they make this dish. They also do simmered Japanese vegetable dishes with Gorgonzola sauce. I'll be happy to take you there the next time you are in Tokyo.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                              I just might take you up on that one day... too bad my flight home on the 28th isn't stopping over...

                                                                                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                Looks like it's a place that's made a good name for itself http://www.timeout.jp/en/tokyo/venue/...

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                  Tripelr,my bad, i thought you were in CA.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                          Are you trying to get at the fact that Taco Bell might be authentic Americanized Mexican national chain fast food ?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                            Exactly. The word "authentic" really means nothing. "Traditional" is a better fit, since one would be much harder pressed to call industrialized fast food "traditional".

                                                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                              What if the cuisine has evolved and and been updated in the country of origin (eg. modern Shanghai cuisine or updated Peruvian cuisine a la Gastón Acurio) and you find a similarly well prepared updated version outside of the country of origin. Then it is no longer "traditional" and "authentic" would probably be more appropriate.

                                                                                                                                              Only on the LA boards does "authentic" have a negative connotation.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                                                because of the question that arises - authentically what?
                                                                                                                                                El Cholo has been around for nearly a century. It's authentic to a certain style of cooking that's not really found in Mexico proper but developed here.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jerome

                                                                                                                                                  Well, so it's not traditional Mexican or authentic cuisine from Mexico. But it's authentic LA Mexican? Or maybe representative of LA Mexican cuisine? The distinction may or may not be useful depending on the discussion at hand.

                                                                                                                                                  Doesn't mean something can't be delicious if it isn't authentic (or traditional for that matter). But authentic can be a useful term and is not necessarily equivalent to traditional.

                                                                                                                                                  Examples:

                                                                                                                                                  -DTF Arcadia: not traditional, but to me makes sense to call it authentic because it mirrors the style of the Taiwan/Shanghai branch.

                                                                                                                                                  L'Atelier Joel Robuchon. Not traditional French but represents more modern French cuisine. You could call it "representative of" or "authentic" modern French but not traditional.

                                                                                                                                                  -clear broth beef noodle soup vs the traditional soy based version.

                                                                                                                                                  -traditional Peruvian vs modern Peruvian.

                                                                                                                                                  -same could be said of BBQ, po'boys, etc.

                                                                                                                                                  To me "authentic" refers to the style, flavor profile, ingredients of the country or place of origin of said cuisine or dish either now or the in past.

                                                                                                                                                  Traditional connotes, well, traditional or classic style, flavor profile, or ingredients from the country or place of origin.

                                                                                                                                                  The two can be equivalent if the cuisine hasn't changed significantly over time (eg. coda alla vaccinara, carbonara in Rome). Or they can be dissimilar or even divergent if the cuisine has changed relatively recently or significantly with time.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                                                    i dunno, man, but reading this stuff just makes me think the word "authentic" is fairly useless all by itself, and certainly a strong candidate for useless when used with others.

                                                                                                                                                    let's face it, "authentic americanized chinese food" is essentially meaningless.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                      Authentic is probably less useless than "tasty", "delicious", "properly seasoned", "tender", etc. since those are all subjective to each individual. At least "authentic" can be traced to a place and characterized.

                                                                                                                                                      Anticipating the argument: "only your taste matters"...it's a very me-centric stance and useful to exactly one person. For example, I've had "authentic" or "traditional" Ethiopian cuisine a couple of times. It is not for me. The sourness profile bothers me. The cuisine isn't faulty and nothing needs to change with those restaurants taking painstaking care to make that cuisine to how it is back from the place of origin. I just can't appreciate the flavor profile. If someone asks for "good" and "authentic" Ethiopian fare, I am going to recommend that restaurant which I did not enjoy because I know it's authentic (based on Ethiopian friends, Ethiopian diners, etc.) and not based on my like or dislike for the cuisine or restaurant. That's how "authentic" can be more useful than individual taste in my opinion.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                                                        yes, and having spent a lot of time in asia, i don't think authentic is always what most people are looking for. Some parts of China i would have loved some fricken orange chicken.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                                                          "...the "only your taste matters" argument is very me-centric."

                                                                                                                                                          I am betting that "me-centric" thing comes into play with "authentic" food too.

                                                                                                                                                          And, until those pesky scientists come up with a way for you to taste the food through someones taste buds other than your own, I guess we're just stuck with it.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                                                            y'know,porthos, i don't think you're a bad guy or anything, but don't you think it's best to put food in your mouth, and not words into mine?
                                                                                                                                                            because your whole mishigas about "only your taste..." yadda yadda yadda is your own, and has nothing to do with me.

                                                                                                                                                            as far as "authentic" goes, it always needs to be explained. might as well leave it out.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                              It's probably about time to let this argument go, please, and focus back on where to go to eat Americanized Chinese food, whether it's authentic or just delicious. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                          2. Try Al's Palace in Costa Mesa. Belly busting lunch specials with all of the old favorites.

                                                                                                                                            1. ipsedixit, where did you end up going and would you recommend it?

                                                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                Does Ipse even like Americanized Chinese food? I am not really sure. THis is likely just one of the very interesting and provocative questions Ipse likes to post.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                  I'm not sure "like" is the right word.

                                                                                                                                                  I certainly appreciate good Americanized Chinese Food, and know exactly where I would go if I wanted some.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                    Anyway, to me the important thing is that your questions are of a very high caliber, and quite often provoke thoughtful responses from other posters. You should be proud of that.

                                                                                                                                                    Personally, I have a fondness for Americanized Chinese food as the first type I ever ate. As an 11 year old kid, I first had a plate of Chow Mein in old downtown Sacramento. It cost 60 cents back in 1965. These days, of course, I don't seek out that kind of food, but really enjoy it for the nostalgia.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                      I, too, enjoy Americanized Chinese.

                                                                                                                                                      I think too often it gets unfairly compared and conflated with non-Americanized Chinese.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                    Hello Tripeler and thank you for your question. I did not ask Ipsedixit if he/she likes Americanized Chinese food. I asked where he/she ended up dining and if they would recommend it. Ipsedixit originally said:

                                                                                                                                                    "I am entertaining a group of Mainlanders who have requested Americanized Chinese."

                                                                                                                                                    As a result, I (and obviously most others that responded within this thread) thought he/she was asking a legitimate question about where to find Americanized Chinese in the Los Angeles area.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                        I'm interested in knowing what your guests had to say about the food at Yang Chow. I used to entertain Japanese business guests who would want to go for Sushi, here in OC. Most of their issues were not about the fish or the presentation, but about the rice. It was apparent that the taste and texture of the rice was much more critical than I would have thought.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                                                                          Rice gets huge weight in sushi, at least 50% for me. It often gets overlooked in LA (Sasabune, Nozawa, etc.) but places like Mori, Shunji, Urasawa, and even Zo after a while really pay attention to the rice seasoning, texture, and temperature for that very reason.

                                                                                                                                                          In OC, Kasen has pretty good rice but not as nicely textured and seasoned as Mori and Shunji.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                                                            Mori and Shunji are tops.

                                                                                                                                                            Just wish I had the chance to try Urasawa already. But I'm getting ahead of my very slim fucking pocketbook.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Midlife

                                                                                                                                                            They thought everything was really sweet.

                                                                                                                                                          3. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                            slippery shrimp ?

                                                                                                                                                            What did y'all order ????

                                                                                                                                                            How about Hu's Szeuwuan (sp/) on National and Motor for Americanzied Chinse ?

                                                                                                                                                            anyone ????

                                                                                                                                                            Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                              I've written many times that I like Hu's for their lunch combos. Hot'n'sour soup ok, needs a splash of soy and hot chili oil. I love that they give a Chinese chicken salad as a middle course. For entrees, I like the kung pao chicken (I order extra sauce), the twice-cooked pork (without tofu, spicy), or the eggplant (with ground pork, done tender and spicy). Some of the other dishes are bad, like the very bready sweet'n'sour. Their kung pao sauce is among the best I've tasted.

                                                                                                                                                    1. "Authentic" is slippery, but there are multiple Chinese-hyphen-something cuisines. I have had Cuban-Chinese, and Chinese-Thai in L.A. I have also eaten Chinese in Prague and Kathmandu, but local influences were hard to pin down except for no beef in Kathmandu.

                                                                                                                                                      So it could be interesting to research how Chinese food plays out in different expatriate settings. I believe you take this a ways without leaving L.A. After running out of restaurants you could talk to immigrants about their Chinese food experiences back home. There could well be recipes from different countries comparable to ours before China opened up..

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LADave

                                                                                                                                                        I was thinking about starting a thread on this topic on the General Topics board, LADave; I ate "Spanish-Chinese" in Barcelona (maybe should be "Catalan-Chinese"?) some 20 years ago. It was fascinating.