Finally made it in to Hong 88 in Van Nuys this Friday evening. Couldn't stay for a dine in meal on our first try as we had a long fishing weekend to prepare for, so I ordered a few items for take-out.
After looking over the menu, I chose Kung Pao chicken, which my husband requested, a couple more things that sounded interesting, then placed my oder. However, after doing so I thought to ask what were the most popular dishes at Hong Kong 88, then chose to switch my two choices to those dishes. I do not always agree with the majority taste, especially with Chinese food, but sometimes I am surprised.
I spoke with the gentleman at the front counter while I waited for my food. I regret that I did not get his name. He was rather delightful, informative, a great asset to business at Hong 88. I know there was a review done on Hong Kong 88 some time ago and it may have been linked to this board. This information may be repetitive to some of you, but I learned that his brother runs the business coming in from the San Gabriel Valley each day. Apparently, competition is ridiculous (so I've read on this board) down south with the Chinese restaurants nearly next door to one another and so they chose to open their restaurants up the 405-corridor in the San Fernando Valley.
The restaurant has been in operation for five years now and every time I pass by on my way into Zankou for lunch I see a steady stream of people going in and out of Hong Kong 88. However, it seems that they do a huge take-out business. I can attest for that. The phone never stopped ringing and just in the time that I sat there, a few people stopped in to pick up food. I have no idea how many drivers went out on delivery trips. There were a couple of tables seated for dinner in the modest dining room and one large party of about eight or so came in (for which they had ample space, good to know) as I was about to leave. This was maybe 7:30 or so in the evening.
The food smelled wonderful as it sat beside me in the truck on my drive home. I couldn't wait to taste it. The first dish I tried was the Honey Walnut Shrimp. The shrimp were lightly battered and deep-fried, then coated in a rich honey mayonaisse sauce with toasted sweet walnuts tossed in. While it not to my liking, far too rich and sweet for me, I could see how some might enjoy it. My brother, in fact, would probably love it. Next time, I will go with the Shrimp in X.O. Chili Sauce that I had intended to order (shrimp sauteed with mushrooms, pea pods and premium chili sauce). I think it will be more suited to my tastes.
Next was the Orange Flavored Chicken. On their menu, this dish is listed as their number one selling dish. I liked this better than the Honey Walnut Shrimp, but still not very much. Sometimes, I just don't care for deep fried foods, it depends on my mood. I think Friday, I wasn't in the mood. While there wasn't anything particularly wrong with the Orange Flavored Chicken, I didn't find myself wanting more, it wasn't great, although definitely much better than I've had elsewhere.
On to the Kung Pao. Great Kung Pao. Really wonderful. A lot of garlic, big flavor, good pieces of chicken nicely sauteed, sweet pieces of green and red pepper in a sauce that could have just a little more heat for me, but I like hot. I think for most people, it's just enough heat.
The Kung Pao made me wish I'd stuck with my original choices, but I am not disappointed that I tried their best selling dishes. I would have done it at some point anyway to see what the fuss was about. Now that that's out of the way, I can move on to better things and I know it's there on the menu at Hong Kong 88.
I thought I'd never find good Chinese food in the Valley. Honestely, I'd given up. I am delighted I finally stopped in. Good service, everyone in the place was welcoming and friendly, the food was good. I'll be back.
Hong Kong 88
5658 Sepulveda Blvd.
Van Nuys 818-997-7187
Dine In, Take Out, Delivery
Hours Daily 11 am - 10 pm
22330 Sherman Way
Canoga Park 818-887-7118
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