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Old 04-05-2014, 09:47 PM
 
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
11,411 posts, read 13,955,986 times
Reputation: 10919

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In Campbell, CA and Universal City, CA (in the late 70's, 80's and early 90's) there was a Chinese restaurant called "Fung Lum" which had a fancy, exquisite decor and excellent lunch and dinner menu. It was high end, but worth the prices.

I fondly miss it. Nothing has come close, although there are really good Chinese restaurants here in the Bay Area and in Los Angeles.
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Old 04-05-2014, 11:54 PM
 
Location: San Francisco, California
1,953 posts, read 4,946,389 times
Reputation: 2294
I recommend the HAKKA restaurant

Hakka Restaurant: 4401 Cabrillo St., S.F. (415) 876-6898.

Hakka Restaurant has affordable quality - SFGate
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:19 AM
 
2,319 posts, read 1,980,825 times
Reputation: 3812
Quote:
Originally Posted by 415_s2k View Post
oh my lord, so good.

That's for sure! I feel like I need to go to ALL these places until I get this "I have to have Chinese every day for an unknown amount of time" out of my system! I feel so deprived!
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:01 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
69,278 posts, read 79,447,244 times
Reputation: 38646
Quote:
Originally Posted by 415_s2k View Post
That's not true for all of America.

For instance, the San Gabriel Valley, east of LA, is a majorly-Chinese area, and in cities like El Monte and Alhambra you'd be hard pressed to find Chop Suey or anything of the sort. You can easily find very authentic Chinese food all over California; even if they have stuff like Orange Chicken and Mongolian Beef on the menu to appeal to Westerners, they still have a menu full of other stuff that's quite authentic. Same goes for Boston, NYC, and to an extent Seattle (though only in the International District. Most Chinese restaurants outside the ID are actually pretty inauthentic).

The three best Chinese restaurants I've been to: two of them are here in Guangzhou, China (surprise!). One of them is a Halal/Muslim Chinese place, so they prepare a lot of Northeastern dishes. The sauces are much more delicate and precise than the sort of sauces you get at American Chinese places, and they make their own noodles and bread fresh in the kitchen. You can get a plate of cabbage and peppers in a hot and sour sauce over flat noodles for the equivalent of $2.

The other is a very upscale Buddhist vegetarian/vegan restaurant that's in Xiaogang Park. So, so, so delicious... small portions but everything was so flavorful and delicate and made with so much care it was unforgettable. For four of us, the bill came out to be about the equivalent of $25 USD.

The other was a Chinese place in Cambridge, MA called New Asia. Unforunately, they closed a few months ago A real shame, because their food was absolutely amazing and unforgettable. It was really funny when I'd look at the Yelp comments, and you'd get all these wannabe food snobs who think that they're cultured blab on about how it was "bland" (it wasn't) or automatically slam it because they had some American Chinese standards on the menu. They were idiots... the place was ridiculously good and they had plenty of authentic foods on the menu that were interesting even if they weren't palatable to most. Dark vinegar, agaric mushroom, carrot, and wheat noodle soup, for instance... oh my lord, so good.

Also just thought that I'd throw in that yes, you can get sweet and sour sauce, ma po tofu, hot and sour sauces and soup, hot pot, etc over here. Braised beef with broccoli is quite common. Scallion pancakes, called tson yon bin, are also very popular.
I would agree, many Asian restaurants no longer serve Chop Suey or Chow Mein. In fact I haven't seen either in quite some time. I do still think, most of the Chinese food we get, even in the San Gabriel valley is Americanized. Many of the those families have lived in America for generations. The same with many ethic foods. It is hard to find an Italian restaurant that serves what you would get in Italy or Mexican, what you would get deep into Mexico.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:05 AM
 
Location: Guangzhou, China
9,620 posts, read 12,785,952 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
I would agree, many Asian restaurants no longer serve Chop Suey or Chow Mein. In fact I haven't seen either in quite some time. I do still think, most of the Chinese food we get, even in the San Gabriel valley is Americanized. Many of the those families have lived in America for generations. The same with many ethic foods. It is hard to find an Italian restaurant that serves what you would get in Italy or Mexican, what you would get deep into Mexico.
It definitely depends on the particular place... the thing is that in the SGV, there are still tens of thousands of people who were born in China and wouldn't really have a palate for Americanized Chinese food, and I can say with total honesty that you can find nearly all of the same veggies and most of the same spices and sauces at a Chinese market in CA as you can find in a store here in Guangzhou. It's actually kind of funny, I recognized a lot of the Chinese brands and knew exactly which sauces to buy because I bought them in the States Because of that, anyone who wants to make a traditional Chinese menu and has the know how can do it easily in Socal.

It seems like most of the Chinese places that are opened by people who have been here a few generations are a totally different feel; a young Chinese American who opens up a restaurant will probably have fried chicken, bubble tea, and Chinese fusion-style ramen and udon on the menu; stuff that young Asian Americans are into. A restaurant started by older folks and immigrants will probably be a lot more authentic... they also usually have names that are actually in Chinese, and lots of them have a very big Chinese menu and a very small, separate English menu that offers Chinese American standards.

Tasty Garden in Arcadia is totally legit - there's not much American about fresh frog hot pot and sauteed duck tongue. It's Cantonese (Guangzhou/Shenzhen/HK) style but has some Szechuan, Hunan, etc on the menu. They have another location in Monterey Park, but it really caters more to younger Asian Americans and expats... it's trendier but the food isn't as good and they go off a smaller menu. The Arcadia and Westminster locations are legit. Ask for the "bigger" or "Chinese" menu when you go - it still gives one-sentence descriptions in English though many of them are tough to decipher.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
69,278 posts, read 79,447,244 times
Reputation: 38646
Quote:
Originally Posted by weltschmerz View Post
I used to have a favourite Chinese restaurant here in Chinatown, but I stopped going because they served shark fin soup.
I have never had Shark Fin soup and probably never will, but I know a lot of people who eat and enjoy it.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:27 AM
 
Location: SGV, CA
818 posts, read 1,480,748 times
Reputation: 1242
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
I would agree, many Asian restaurants no longer serve Chop Suey or Chow Mein. In fact I haven't seen either in quite some time. I do still think, most of the Chinese food we get, even in the San Gabriel valley is Americanized. Many of the those families have lived in America for generations. The same with many ethic foods. It is hard to find an Italian restaurant that serves what you would get in Italy or Mexican, what you would get deep into Mexico.
I'm from the SGV born and raised. I can't tell you how confused I was as a kid watching Lethal Weapon 4 and Rush Hour because I literally had no idea what chop suey was.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Chicago area
13,026 posts, read 7,196,376 times
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When ever we go to China town in Chicago we usually go to the Thai restaurant. I love their fish. There's a couple of good places if you're in the mood for home made noodles.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles>Little Rock>Houston>Little Rock
6,488 posts, read 6,598,773 times
Reputation: 17327
My favorite was Nanki Poo on La Cienega in Los Angeles. I used to eat lunch there at least once a week as it was across the street from my office. Sadly, it is no longer there.
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
69,278 posts, read 79,447,244 times
Reputation: 38646
Quote:
Originally Posted by 415_s2k View Post
It definitely depends on the particular place... the thing is that in the SGV, there are still tens of thousands of people who were born in China and wouldn't really have a palate for Americanized Chinese food, and I can say with total honesty that you can find nearly all of the same veggies and most of the same spices and sauces at a Chinese market in CA as you can find in a store here in Guangzhou. It's actually kind of funny, I recognized a lot of the Chinese brands and knew exactly which sauces to buy because I bought them in the States Because of that, anyone who wants to make a traditional Chinese menu and has the know how can do it easily in Socal.

It seems like most of the Chinese places that are opened by people who have been here a few generations are a totally different feel; a young Chinese American who opens up a restaurant will probably have fried chicken, bubble tea, and Chinese fusion-style ramen and udon on the menu; stuff that young Asian Americans are into. A restaurant started by older folks and immigrants will probably be a lot more authentic... they also usually have names that are actually in Chinese, and lots of them have a very big Chinese menu and a very small, separate English menu that offers Chinese American standards.

Tasty Garden in Arcadia is totally legit - there's not much American about fresh frog hot pot and sauteed duck tongue. It's Cantonese (Guangzhou/Shenzhen/HK) style but has some Szechuan, Hunan, etc on the menu. They have another location in Monterey Park, but it really caters more to younger Asian Americans and expats... it's trendier but the food isn't as good and they go off a smaller menu. The Arcadia and Westminster locations are legit. Ask for the "bigger" or "Chinese" menu when you go - it still gives one-sentence descriptions in English though many of them are tough to decipher.
Amazing you would mention Arcadia. When we lived there many years ago there were no Asian restaurants. We had a favorite one on Colorado Blvd just over the border from Arcadia. I do remember one place on Las Tunas I think which was Arcadia. That was the place where we got fried rice with frozen carrots in it. That was the last time I went there. I am sure there are many in the SGV that are pretty much old world, but there are just as many that are Americanized.

Believe it or not, right here in NWA we have a lot of really outstanding Asian markets with most items produced in China, Japan and Philipines, but most of our restaurants still lean toward Americanized Asain foods.
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