It doesn't matter whether we are talking about Dim Sum, HK Cafes, HK Cantonese Seafood joints, or simple Cantonese BBQ takeout. Here in the L.A. metro area, we seriously are deficient in the quality of HK style restaurants. I have lived here for the past 20 years and I have never found one that I would even consider to be "above average quality. Most are either poor or mediocre.
I travel to Toronto every 2-3 months to visit my sister and twin brother there and I am amazed at how far Superior Toronto is when compared to L.A. in terms of HK/Cantonese style dining. The Toronto suburbs of Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, (and to some degree Mississauga) is a Mecca for top notch HK style Dim Sum, HK Style Seafood, HK Style Cafes (cha chan teng), and HK BBQs.
The problem L.A. has with HK style restaurants lies to the fact that we lack H.K immigrants here. Of the 5 major NA markets that have huge concentrations of Chinese population (LA, SF, NY, Vancouver and Toronto), the L.A. region has the smallest number of HK immigrant population. Yes even SF and NY each respectively have larger HK population than L.A. As a result, many of the so-called HK style cuisine here are run and cooked by non-HK Chinese, many whom do not understand the concept of delivering high quality HK dining.
The positive aspect of Chinese Dining in L.A. is the fact that we have so many high quality and low priced non-HK/Cantonese Chinese restaurants such as those serving Taiwanese, Shanghainese, Teochew, Sichuan dishes. So the lack of high quality of HK style restaurant is compensated by the top notch restaurants serving authentic Chinese cuisines from other regions.
These days whenever I go for Chinese dining here, I always go to the non-Cantonese ones such as the Taiwanese style Supreme Dragon in Rowland Heights, Din Tai Fung in Arcadia, Michelle's Pan Cake in San Gabriel, etc, just to name a few of the non-Cantonese Chinese dining I enjoy here. I don't even bother with the HK style ones because I have been disappointed way too many times. I get to go to Toronto so often so only then do I bother going out of for some HK style dining with my siblings and enjoy the delicious cuisines native to my homeland.
To be honest if you ask me here in L.A. if I would rather dine at Panda Express or those HK-style restaurants, I would pick the former. Just goes to show how much I dislike HK-style dining in the Greater L.A. area.
If there is a so-called Cantonese style dining that I enjoy here, it will be Newport Seafood in San Gabriel. But I would hardly consider this a HK style dining. It is rather a mixture of Cantonese and Teochew blended with Southeast Asian (esp Vietnamese and Cambodian) cooking style and spices. This is one restaurant, if someone would ask which Chinese Seafood joint in the L.A. area would be worth recommending, that I would recommend. I in particular love their lobster, beef cubical and their house special spicy fish.
Din Tai Fung Restaurant
1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007
18406 Colima Rd, Rowland Heights, CA 91748
Newport Seafood Restaurant
18441 Colima Rd, Rowland Heights, CA 91748
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