Archive for 'Chinese'

How to Eat 9 of the Best SGV Dumplings in Under 4 Hours

If you stalk my lunching on Instagram you likely noticed an uptick in the dumpling consumption over the past month.  It’s true, I love me some dim sum, pan fried potstickers, and, of course, xiaolongbao.  But I was also putting together this Dumpling Crawl of the San Gabriel Valley for Lucky’s Peach’s dumpling month.  It’s a bit more intense than the 2 Hour Taco Crawl of L.A. I put together a few years back, requiring a bit more planning and discipline.  Plus eating this many dumplings in 4 hours is a lot more punishing on your body than you would think. Not to mention the pain in your heart you might feel as you drive by Lunasia, Chengdu Taste, 101 Noodle Express, Shanghai Dumpling House, and Mama Lu’s without stopping. Or skipping places entirely that didn’t fit on the route (I’m looking at you, Kang Kang Food Court.)  But with 4 people (3 will leave you with too many dumplings to eat, 5 will make it harder to get a table and divide the dumplings) and a pocketful of cash (a lot of places don’t take credit cards) you can have an epic afternoon of dumpling eating that you won’t soon forget.

Any places I left out?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments.  You know… for Version 2.0.

Behold! The Panda Express Innovation Kitchen Burrito…


If you haven’t heard, Pasadena is now home to the Panda Express Innovation Kitchen, an open to the public incubator that is serving the one thing Asian wrap loving fatties have always dreamed of: a Panda Express burrito. There are also salads and rice bowls (ala Chipotle’s Shophouse) but you’re not going to bother with that. What you are going to bother with is a scallion dotted mooshu pancake wrapped around orange chicken, rice, chow mein and whatever else you see fit to stuff in there.


You’re going to take a bite, shed a tear, and then get to work on figuring out how we can convince Panda Express to not only serve these at every one of their locations, but also offer the option of having them deep fried. (Orange Chicken egg roll chimichanga FTW!)

Want to read more? I wrote about it for Thrillist this week>>

7 Reasons Sea Harbour is the Best Dim Sum in L.A. (And Elite’s Best Rebuttal)

I love dim sum more than pretty much any other possible meal. Think of any kind of meal, I would pick dim sum over that meal.  Last meal before getting the electric chair? Dim sum.  I love it as a noun, adjective or a verb.  It’s the best.  It took me a long time, and many weekend visits to the San Gabriel Valley to reconcile the fact that none of the best dim sum places in Los Angeles use carts anymore, but I’ve finally come around and accepted the ordering off of a menu.

Shockingly it took me even longer to realize that here in L.A. dim sum is a viable weekday lunch if you live or work on the east side of Los Angeles (I credit Adam Roberts with this discovery.)  Menus are the same, waits to get a table are shorter, and the food comes out quick enough that it can be done.  Especially at a place like Sea Harbour, which is right off the 10 and has waits of over an hour on the weekends.  Two weeks ago, on a weekday we walked right in for lunch.

Jonathan Gold called Sea Harbour’s dim sum “the best in California” in his most recent 101 Best Restaurants in L.A., and after a number of trips to other places it’s hard to disagree.  Here’s 7 reasons why:

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Wah’s Golden Hen $5 Lunch Special Is The Real Jam


If you are a coffee or preserves fanatic then you likely have heard of SQIRL. This tiny daytime only cafe on Virgil and Melrose has taken the L.A. food world by storm over the past few months, with their local and artisanal jam covered toasts, bowls of oatmeal, and sugar free G&B coffee. It’s kind of amazing to see some of the stuff that comes out of this tiny space, and the jam is almost good enough to make you forget how much you’re paying for a piece of bread with preserved fruit on it. It might not be something I can afford to eat every day for breakfast, but it’s a worthy splurge to say the least.

But the price isn’t going to be the thing that keeps me away from Sqirl. More often than not it will probably be Wah’s Golden Hen, the dirty old Chinese food spot that you may or may not have noticed across the street. With it’s sign that touts “chicken & shrimp” Wah’s fits into the neighborhood in ways that Sqirl never could (for now anyway.) And it happens to serve the greatest Chinese food lunch special I have ever found in L.A.

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Your First Look at the Food From ROC Star Dumpling


Apparently the grand opening of ROC Star Dumpling happened over the weekend on Sawtelle, but they’ve actually been open and serving food for well over a week.  Last Monday they “soft opened” for lunch with a fairly decent sized menu of dumplings, appetizers, entrees, a rice dish, a noodle dish, and a bunch of vegetable dishes all priced from $7 to $16.  Apparently the chef used to work at The Slanted Door, and words like “elevated” “local” “sustainable” and “fresh” have been thrown around.  But most of us have just one question… When the soup dumpling craving hits, is this place going to save west-siders a trip to Din Tai Fung?

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BBQ Unlimited #2 is the Chinese Roast Pig Answer to My Prayers


The very first post on Midtown Lunch: Los Angeles was khao soi (very fitting if you ask me) but do you know what the very first Midtown Lunch of all time was?  The one that kicked off this under $10 fat face stuffing nonsense almost 6 years ago in NYC?  It was Chinese food.  And not just any Chinese food, but possibly one of the most perfect Chinese lunch spots of all time.  The place was called Hing Won, and it featured a groundbreaking to me at the time two line system.  The left line was filled with mostly white people in suits, selecting Panda Express style orange chicken and egg rolls using the time tested method of menu ordering known as the finger point.  The second line was mostly Asian people, ordering from a bilingual menu of Chinatown style roasted meats, soups and noodle dishes featuring stuff like sichuan pickles and bitter melon.  Nothing over $7 (at the time), everything delicious.  And when they added Roast Pig over rice to the menu, it might have been the best day of my lunching life.  (And yes, there is a difference between char siu roast pork and roast pig.)

Head into Chinatown or the SGV and these places might be everywhere.  But for an eater trying to keep my lunches centralized, I would gladly cut off my Chinese food pointing finger for a Mid City equivalent to Hing Won.  Beef rolls from 101 Noodle are nice.  And I’ve had a few decent meals at Hop Woo.  But where’s the roast pig over rice?  Hell, I’d even settle for a decent roast pork over rice.  So when I saw Eater’s “Best Chinese Food Outside of the SGV” post last month I got super excited. Could the answer to my prayers be contained within?   I was a little concerned that Hu’s Szechuan made the list (the place is down the street from my house and kind of terrible), but the description of BBQ Unlimited #2 on Melrose in East Hollywood sealed the deal:

“A picture perfect hole-in-the-wall [with] steam baos for less than a $1, Cantonese style noodle soups, and cheap char siu pork that’s actually roasted.”

I’m there.

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4 Of My Favorite “Chinese” Food Lunches Not in the SGV

All the chatter about Chinese New Year is making me hungry for some Chinese food! Of course who has time to trek to the San Gabriel Valley for a weekday lunch? So here are 4 of my favorite “Chinese” lunches between Downtown and Santa Monica. (With Chinese in quotes so that when the inevitable comments come in saying that nothing in this post is actually Chinese food, I can be like “Uh… dude. Didn’t you see the quotes!?”)


DOWNTOWN: If you work Downtown you could venture into Chinatown for some orange chicken from Yang Chow, or some dim sum from Ocean Seafood or Golden Dragon. But I’ll pretty much use any excuse I can get to eat lunch at Uncle John’s Cafe, the displaced Downtown diner that pairs Americanized Chinese food w/ greasy spoon breakfast fare. Salt and pepper pork chops or char siu with home fries and eggs? Yes please. [link]

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