For any city with a historic 19th century Chinatown, the original locus of Chinese dining was obviously Chinatown. However, as my series has chronicled, the best Chinese dining in most of these cities has shifted to various suburban communities. In the case of Los Angeles, the shift has been especially complex. Like an army marching onward to the next hill, there has been a continuous eastward migration of Chinese residents, followed by a like movement of Chinese restaurants. The key to this push eastward is a strong preference of Los Angeles-area Chinese Americans for new housing developments, as capsulized by longtime resident Gordon Chow, who said, “You have to go east to find newer and cheaper homes.”
For over two decades, Vancouver, British Columbia, and particularly its suburban community of Richmond, has been Mecca for Chinese food lovers in Northern America. During the late 1980s, Hong Kongers recognized that control of Hong Kong would revert to Mainland China in 1997. Meanwhile, its 1986 World’s Fair put the spotlight on Vancouver as a prime destination. The result was a mass exodus out of Hong Kong to Vancouver, turning the city into Hong Kong East, and creating an early 1990s Chinese dining nirvana. The word about the superior brand of Chinese food served in the Vancouver area spread quickly. It wasn’t long before Chinese food lovers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other American locales started trekking to Vancouver in droves to partake of the heavenly fare. (more…)
Why choose one restaurant for dinner when you could choose dozens? There’s a food hall and farmer’s market renaissance happening around the country, and if you visit any of these locations, you’ll want to make sure you start with an empty stomach.
With the arrival of restaurants like Roy Choi’s Chego, Little Jewel of New Orleans, Scoops, Pok Pok and Pok Pok Phat Thai, Burgerlords, Unit 120, Amboy, Endorffeine, Howlin’ Ray’s Hot Chicken, Lobsta Shack, Oleego, and Ramen Champ, Los Angeles Chinatown is once again a dining destination, albeit not particularly for Chinese food. Unbeknownst to many Angelinos, however, this is not Chinatown’s first dining renaissance. Decades ago, it emerged from a dining slumber to become a culinary hot spot. (more…)
Who doesn’t love burritos? From poor college students to CEOs on the go, farmworkers to surfers, burritos are basically one of our national foods. But where do they come from? And how have they evolved?
Filet mignon and roast chicken have their place, but for more adventurous diners, it’s all about the offal.
Chinese restaurants arrived in America in the 1850s, but it wasn’t until American immigration laws changed in 1965 that the modern era for Chinese dining in the United States began. For the first time in over 80 years, large numbers of immigrants from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other parts of Asia invigorated the stagnating Chinese-American community and its pedestrian Cantonese/Toishanese dining options with new and exciting Chinese food.
At the beginning of this modern era of Chinese dining in the United States, San Francisco had by far the largest Chinese-American community, perhaps 10 percent of the city’s population. In contrast, the Chinese populations in Los Angeles and New York hovered at 1 percent or less of the total (census figures from this era are not reliable due to illegal immigration), so it’s no surprise that as changes began to occur in Chinese dining, San Francisco was ground zero. Even though the new brand of Chinese cuisine also appeared in Los Angeles’s suburban San Gabriel Valley in the mid-1970s, the Bay Area was where you would find the best Chinese food well into the 1980s. Indeed, on weekends and vacations, many Angelinos of Chinese descent would make the trek north in search of the better stuff. (more…)
Angelinos may not be aware of it, but there aren’t a lot of Chinese buffets in Los Angeles compared to other parts of the country. Yes, there are probably a few dozen Chinese buffet restaurants in Los Angeles County. But when one compares numbers of Chinese buffet restaurants to other parts of the country, the difference is striking, especially on a per capita basis. Indeed, if you look at the contiguous westside and San Fernando Valley sections of the city of Los Angeles, which encompass over two million residents, there are but a half dozen Chinese buffets covering the vast expanse. (more…)
It took me 14 years of living in Los Angeles before I finally caught taco fever. What took me so long? Perhaps it was all too easy. Too accessible. Tacos on every corner, like living close to the beach but never going.
Where was the thrill of the hunt? Instead of stopping at my local taco truck, I would drive right by to some obscure part of town for kosher Korean schwarma wrapped in a ramen pita served by the hottest chef for a one-night, by-invitation-only event. (more…)
In the wee morning hours, Los Angeles offers many ways to gorge oneself: You can roll out of bed and stumble to your local nondescript corner restaurant for something involving eggs (Kings Road Cafe comes to mind), you can drive to an LA institution for a specific craving (such as 101 Coffee Shop or Swingers), or you can booze it up with full-on brunch. What I’m going to be talking about today is breakfast, straight up. Forget leisurely sipping Bloody Marys or mimosas and laughing about last night’s debauchery. You just want to get in and pig out before you pass out from severe hunger. “You forgot Hugo’s, I love that place!” you scold as you scroll through my selections. I agree, it’s tasty, but I’m not doing a Top 11 Breakfasts, am I? These are what I believe to be LA’s most exciting breakfast options, because, as much as we should all be eating kale scrambles every morning, that doesn’t mean I find it very fun to pay someone to make them for me. (more…)