Chinese Restaurants Los Angeles
by Lance LaHara
PulseMedia Food Mandarin
If you're looking for great Chinese Restaurants, Los Angeles says “Look no farther!” Yes, there is a more famous Chinatown in California, but the southern Cal gourmet set all insist that the Golden Gate city is overrated when it comes to Chinese restaurants.
Los Angeles county is the REAL Chow Mein Drago. From Pasadena to Chung King Road, from the San Fernando Valley to Valley Boulevard in San Gabriel, from traditional ceremonial preparation to super fast food, you’ll find it all in L.A.
Hundreds of Chinese Restaurants!
Los Angeles is huge---more like a small state than a city. If you just have a yen for chop suey, chances are excellent that you’ll find a decent place (usually two or three) within walking distance in any urban area. But if you have wheels and time, if you long for the acme in Chinese Restaurants, Los Angeles’ Chinatown is the place for quality AND quantity. To authentically orientalize your tastebuds, take these handy tips:
Chinese Restaurants Los Angeles: how to get to Chinatown
- Driving? Take the Hill street exit from the 110 Freeway near the I-10 interchange.
- Walking? From the heart of downtown, head north a few blocks from the civic center, or just east of the Olvera street / Main street junction.
- Streetcar! If you want to be absolutely au couraunt, hop on the new light rail Gold Line from Pasadena or Union station, and hop off at the Chinatown Station at Spring and College streets.
Chinese Restaurants Los Angeles: The downtown Mecca
In these several square blocks, you’ll find a “real” Chinatown, neither too touristy nor too expensive. For every ultra-posh “Bistro,” you find 10 modest places with classic styling and authentic cuisine.
Warning: Even in the small places, Chinatown food is as pure, safe, and clean as in any eating establishment in L.A. But if you have dietary restrictions, you’ll need to be cautious in general when eating in Chinese Restaurants. Los Angeles waiters adhere to typical Chinese etiquette: tell the customer exactly what you think s/he wants to hear.
A vegetarian friend of mine had an experience how culture can make caution necessary. In one of the modest, authentic places in Chinatown, she asked the waiter if a certain menu item had meat in it.
The waiter beamed and nodded vigorously. “Yes! Meat! Plenty meat in this dish!”
My friend smiled. “But I’m a vegetarian. I don’t eat meat.”
The waiters nodding changed instantly to vehement head shaking. “No meat! No meat in this one!”
Moral: Let the buyer beware. Of course, if you insist on sticking to vegetables, you’ll find several world-famous all Vegetarian Chinese Restaurants in Los Angeles, with spectacular menus featuring hundreds of mock-meat items. I don’t want to play favorites, but my friend tells me that a couple of Vegetarian places in the San Fernando Valley (in Chatsworth and Reseda respectively) make the long drive worth every mile.
Whether you like your fare conventional, trendy, or with a twist, You’ll find it in L.A.’s Chinese Restaurants. Los Angeles, The Great Chow Mein Dragon of the West, awaits your visit!
Lance LaHara writes unique opinion pieces on life topics for Pulse MEDIA International (PulseMed.org)