Here’s 5 Reasons Why Westside Chinese Food Can’t Be Called Terrible Anymore

Newport Seafood House Special Lobster. Photo courtesy of Noah Galuten

Yesterday some huge news broke for those in the “there’s no good Chinese food on the Westside” camp. Newport Tan Cang, the super popular SGV seafood restaurant that specializes in crab and lobster, is opening a branch in Beverly Hills in the old Xandros space. It’s  great news for those of us who live or work on the westside and don’t feel like traveling east of Downtown for our Chinese food fix.

This is actually just the latest in a series of new developments west of Fairfax, that make complaining about the lack of Westside Chinese food feel almost outdated. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a long way to go. And most of the improvements still come with “it’s not as good as what you would get in the SGV” caveat. But in addition to the Newport news, here are four more arguments against the old stereotype…

When the story of the rebirth of Westside Chinese is written, it will point to 101 Noodle Express as the trailblazers.  In 2011 they became the first SGV based hero to test the whitewashed waters of the westside, opening a fast food stall inside the Fox Hills Mall Food court in Culver City.  Their survival has never been a forgone conclusion, and they’ve gone through a bunch of menu changes while watching their neighbor Kyochon fail to convince the masses  that Korean fried chicken can survive outside of K-Town.  But almost 3 years later 101 Noodle Express is still kicking, serving up a solid Shandong style beef roll that, while some will claim doesn’t compare to the SGV original, is most certainly better than anything you can get at Sarku.

101 Noodle Express in the Fox Hills Mall, 6000 Sepulveda Blvd. Culver City. (310) 397-2060

Further proof that the mall might be where westside Chinese food makes its stand, Westfield Century City has added Meizhou Dongpo to its lineup of restaurants, a China based chain that might best be described as the Sichuan version of Houston’s.  Once again, this isn’t going to replace Chengdu Taste as your favorite spot for cumin lamb, but their version of Chongquing spicy chicken satisfies in that same salty spicy way. And while some people will complain about the prices, their $6 bowl of dan dan noodles is a peppercorny, mouth numbing steal.

Meizhou Dongpo, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd. (310) 788-0120

Between 101 Noodle’s food court opening and the arrival of Meizhou Dongpo, ROC brought some “it was only a matter of time” Chinese food to the reborn Sawtelle Blvd in West L.A., offering a Din Tai Fung’ish type menu of soup dumplings, rice cakes, and sautéed veggies. And at the risk of sounding like a broken record… you won’t be DTF in the same way you are with DTF, but for the westside soup dumpling lover?  It’s a great option that didn’t even exist two years ago.

ROC, 2049 Sawtelle Blvd. (310) 235-2089

The strange thing about there being no good Chinese food on the westside is that it’s not just the “authentic” SGV stuff that hasn’t quite made it west of Chinatown.  There is also nowhere to go when you’re craving Americanized Chinese food.  You know what I’m talking about- that egg roll and lo mein delivery option that seems to exist on every block of New York City, yet somehow can’t seem to be replicated in a city with both a ton of Chinese people *and* a ton of Jews.  That’s why I was pretty excited when Moon House opened on Santa Monica Blvd just east of Sepulveda last year.  Because sometimes you want to sit and eat Chinatown style chow mien, pork fried rice, and walnut shrimp in a place that doesn’t have a cartoon bear on the sign. Oh, and if you want to reenact A Christmas Story’s peking duck scene, this is your place.

Moon House, 11058 Santa Monica Blvd. (310) 966-9988



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    Well let’s not get carried away. This could also be deja vu all over again. There was a previous assault on the Westside by San Gabriel Valley’s best back in the mid-90s. The leading Chinese seafood restaurant at the time, Monterey Park’s Ocean Star, opened up a Santa Monica branch called Royal Star. Preceding them had been VIP Harbor Seafood on Wilshire and Barrington, which was the Westside branch of San Gabriel’s Harbor Seafood. Royal Star was always very busy, but I don’t think they ever made money during the eight years or so they were open. VIP Harbor’s location is still active, currently called The Palace, with Chinatown quality food. Perhaps the time has come for authentic Chinese food to survive on the Westside, but I’ll believe it when I see it sustained.

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    I guess I am in the minority, but I like Hu’s and Hop Li.

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