Hop Woo is a Solid Chinese Food Option For the Westside (If You Order Right)


Living and/or working on the Westside has its obvious positives. You’re close to the beach. Santa Monica’s Farmers Market. Sang Yoon and Roy Choi have set up shop here. There’s great Indian food in Culver City. Japanese food fans have Sawtelle. Even Mexican food fans have Mariscos Chente, Monte Alban and Juquila. But Chinese food? Where the hell can you get some good Chinese food on the Westside? Can you even name one place?

The news that 101 Noodle Express has opened in the Westfield Culver City Mall is huge for San Gabriel Valley fans, no doubt. But that’s just noodle dishes and beef rolls. What about some straight up “Chinese” food? Enter Hop Woo BBQ & Seafood.

It’s likely there is some minor connection between this Hop Woo and the one in Chinatown, but it’s definitely not the same restaurant. For example, I”m pretty sure there is no secret Chinese food menu with goose guts at the location in West L.A. And they’ve clearly catered their menu to “Westside” sensibilities (i.e. there’s plenty of General Tso’s this and sweet and sour that.) But their lunch menu is relatively huge (it features 96 items between $6 and $8) and there are enough unique dishes being offered to pique the interest of even the most ardent SGV cheerleader- especially one who’s been suffering in the Chinese wasteland of the Westside.


For example, they do salt and pepper shrimp with the heads still on. $13 off the regular menu, you can get them for $7 on the lunch menu. It’s a smaller portion, but they were clearly fried to order and pretty delicious. I’d come back for this dish alone, or any of the other fried dishes they offer- like spicy salt fried pork chops ($6) or the crispy pepper salted squid ($7).


There’s also a number of dishes sauteed in black bean and chili sauce, like this rock cod fillet (for $7). In fact there are plenty of seafood dishes on the lunch special menu if that’s your thing. I could have lived without the bell peppers, but the fish itself was pretty delicious for the price.


Can’t live without some kind of gloopy sauce? The walnut shrimp are mayo-tastic ($8), and they even keep the walnuts on the side so they don’t get soggy.

The biggest problem with Hop Woo is consistency. Everything is clearly made to order, but not everything on the menu is good.


For example, they do roasted meats over rice. But this roast duck (for $7) was too flabby and fatty even for me.

And the General Tso’s chicken ($6) was a bit too gloopy and tasted more like sweet and sour chicken. (A subtle point of contention, but one that shitty Chinese food aficionados will appreciate.)


Their “Chef’s Special Beef Filet” ($8) had a great sweet and peppery flavor, but the consistency of the meat was spongy and strange.


Seafood is clearly the way to go, and you’ll see their $12 lobsters and whole fish on plenty of other lazy susans around the restaurant- but the lunch special seafood dishes are more hit and miss. We were pretty excited for these clams with black bean sauce ($8) but they were a bit too funky (perhaps because it was a Monday?)

Overall, though, I was glad to find Hop Woo. The lunch menu is huge, and it may take a few visits before I settle on my go-to dishes. But in the end I think it will be a perfectly good (and cheap) place for a Chinese food lunch in West L.A., especially if you like cheap seafood.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Such a huge lunch menu for a Chinese food place on the Westside
  • The lunch menu has things you don’t normally see at a typical shitty Chinese food place
  • Anything they deep fry and cover in salt and pepper is good
  • Everything is made fresh to order
  • I love cheap seafood, and this place has got plenty of it

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • Give it up. You’re never going to find good Chinese food on the Westside.
  • Too much on the menu is bad, and I don’t want to take the time to find the good
  • If their roast duck was good, this place would be *amazing*. Too bad it isn’t.
  • Possibly the worst parking lot in all of West L.A. You’ve got to be super lucky to get a spot

Hop Woo, 11110 West Olympic Blvd, 310-575-3668


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