Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Los Angeles Area Szechwan Recommendations


saulbass
 Share

Recommended Posts

I grew up in Santa Cruz, CA and have sinced moved to Los Angeles. My favorite restaurant in Santa Cruz was/is Omei. Does anyone have any recommendations in the LA area for chinese in the same style as the Omei restaurant? Any help would be greatly appreciated as I can only get back to Santa Cruz so often.

Thx

saul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It has been over two years since I lived in Los Angeles, but these were places I used to frequent:

Hua Garden, 301D N. Garfield, Monterey Park

Best Szechwan, 230 N. Garfield, Monterey Park

Chung King, 206 S. Garfield, Monterey Park

Do you see a pattern? Stay out of LA's version of Chinatown (in downtown) and head to Monterey Park!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thx for the advise

I will try to get to one of your suggestions soon

saul

start with chungking--go at about 7.30 pm on a saturday. look at what is on the tables: if you see small pumpkins stuffed with some reddish thingy (spiced ground pork) make sure you get it (it ain't on the menu and shows up as an unpredictable special--not listed in english on the board). also, your tongue will likely get fried anyway but you can lessen the damage by getting some chilled beer at the liquor store down the street--chung king doesn't have a license (as of june 2004) but they don't mind or charge if you bring in your own.

my recommendations (in addition to the pumpkin, if available):

the hot sauced wontons

the ma po tofu (one of the 5 best dishes in the la metro area)

the kung pao chicken

the sizzling rice with three flavors

the spare-ribs with prickly ash

any of the hotpot noodle dishes

and, just so that you can say you ordered it, the hot chopped chicken

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to eG and LA, saulbass.

I haven't been to Omei. How would you describe it?

At Chungking, I think this the chicken dish that mongo is referring to. I believe it was called Diced Chicken with Chilies or something similar when I went a few months back. I'm no expert, but Chungking seems to be quite a bit different than the run of the mill Sichuan places. This dish is both chile hot and numbing hot from the Sichuan peppercorns.

chicken.jpg

Sizzling Rice with Pork

sizzlingrice.jpg

mongo, thanks for the menu suggestions.

~Tad

Edited by FoodZealot (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to eG and LA, saulbass.

I haven't been to Omei.  How would you describe it?

At Chungking, I think this the chicken dish that mongo is referring to.  I believe it was called Diced Chicken with Chilies or something similar when I went a few months back.  I'm no expert, but Chungking seems to be quite a bit different than the run of the mill Sichuan places.  This dish is both chile hot and numbing hot from the Sichuan peppercorns.

chicken.jpg

tad, that chicken totally rocks too, but it isn't the one i mean. that even more lethal bastard is just called "hot chopped chicken". it consists of pieces of chicken all but invisible under mounds of lethal red peppers, floating in an unfeasibly hot sauce that is essentially chilli-oil. bobbing around in all of this like mines disguised as life-buoys are mushrooms that have absorbed a lot of the oil. the first time i ate this dish at chungking (also on our first visit) i used my usual bengali approach: take rice and douse it with sauce, mix--shovel large amounts into mouth. with the first mouthful my head exploded. on a later trip, the owner/manager--the only fluent english speaker there--told me that the smart way to eat it was to pick up a piece of chicken, shake all the sauce off and eat it with a lot of rice. i took my parents there when they visited two years ago. these are people who eat hot green chillies raw with rice and dal at lunch--they weren't as affected as i was (i am the lightweight of the family when it comes to these things), but even my father had to ask for extra water. there may be pleasure involved in eating this dish (certainly it is popular with the regular chinese clientele) but i have not yet discovered what it might be--and i don't plan to try again.

technically, the food at chungking is from the chungking (chongqing) region right by sichuan--so that may account for the difference in flavors.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

by the way, great pictures tad. i just looked closely at the sizzling rice dish and my mouth watered so hard it hurt.

we hope to be in l.a again this december--any interest in possibly doing a chungking outing?

by the way, when we first started going to chungking it was superfluous to ask for things to be cooked hot and spicy. on our recent visits this has become necessary--this is what happens when you recommend places like this on sites like egullet. i don't know what your experience has been.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll vote for a Chunking outing in December. Though perhaps I'll leave the hot chopped chicken to the more iron stomached Mr. tejon :wink:.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

Link to comment
Share on other sites

a group chungking excursion sounds like fun. however, feasibility is determined by the restaurant's capabilities for seating large groups. it is a very tiny space and the largest group they could probably accomodate without making it impossible for people to move around would probably be about 10. whenever we go there are two of us, and two friends who would kill us if we went without them. that leaves space for 6. of course this is all very far away still for us--those of you who are in the area might want to venture forth well before december.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Went to Chung King tonight for dinner with a group of 6

Brought wine and wine glasses - 2 bottles of riesling (~dry) and 1 bottle of pinot noir

I felt the food was better than any of the chinese i have had in LA (especially West LA)

However, I felt that some of the dishes were one dimensional

The spicy dishes all had a dryness to the spicyness that took over and didnt allow the flavors of the underlying chicken/beef/fish or much sudelty to show through

The best dishes that we had were the kung pao chicken, egg soup and string beans

I just wish there was a little more richness and depth to some of the flavors

Thank you all for the recommendation as once again it was clearly the best chinese i have had in LA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

saul, how many dishes did you order? i've found that there are a lot of very subtle dishes at chungking. on our first few trips we used to also do the "hot" blowout, but then we started letting the owner/manager guide our orders. these days, on our trips to l,a, when we go with our friends (also usually groups of 6) we get one super hot dish (usually the ma-po tofu), one that's kinda-hot and other things that aren't at all really. their fish dishes and the sizzling rice dishes are wonderfully complex--as are the prickly-ash spare-ribs. so the stuffed pumpkin was not in evidence?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i think we order 10 dishes

egg soup with tomato

chicken with crispy rice

chicken with chilis

crispy chicken

kung pao chicken

sauteed beef

crispy beef

fish in chili sauce

crispy fish

string beans

Many were recommended by the restaurant

i didnt care much for the "spicy dishes" not so much because of the heat which was okay when combined with the riesling/rice etc., but rather i didnt find any depth to them. The one exception i felt was teh kung pao chicken which was by far the best version of kung pao i have had in LA.

I will have to go back and try again as i enjoyed the string beans, egg soup and the kung pao quite a but.

Thanks again for the rec.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...