It was late. I was starving. I didn't have lunch... and Chinese sounded good. The problem was, I was in Montrose... not exactly a destination for good Chinese.
I've passed Sun Palace, on Verdugo Blvd., for years. It's always been kind of like the haunted house on the street where I went to grammar school... you just didn't go in there because you just KNEW it would be bad.
I was desperate. It was that or the Rice Garden near the movie theatres by the entrance to the 2 -- and that place is just unspeakable.
I went in and ordered egg rolls, Szechwan shredded pork and steamed rice.
The first clue was the fried noodles, a big ol' basket, with duck sauce -- NOT the red gloppy ketchup-oriented "sweet and sour" sauce, but a dish of honest-to-God DUCK SAUCE, with a dab of mustard in one side.
Then the egg rolls came. I was so disappointed to see them -- the same ol' "flat" rolls, with no texture on the outside -- New York egg rolls have the blistered skin with the soft chewy egg part inside.
These had no blistering -- but they had the egg part! And they had the required cheap cabbage filling that has almost no discernible meat but still tastes like pork. Combined with the duck sauce and mustard and I could almost -- ALMOST -- believe it was a worthy substitute. I ate all 4 of them.
As I've said, I like most egg rolls, even the kind here in California. I'm really not picky, but I *am* looking for the New York egg roll of my youth. If I find it, I'll be happy, and if I don't, I'll be OK with that... it gives me an excuse to try Chinese restaurants.
This was the closest I've gotten in LA. I'll continue my quest.
The "Szechwan" shredded pork, by the way, was the blandest thing I think I've ever had in a Chinese place, blander even than wonton soup. I asked for -- and received -- chili oil, which made it a little bit better. I took most of it home, and then the smell invaded the car.
I swear to God it smelled like bologna in my car. I was horrified. It smelled so bad I pulled over and left it on the side of the 2. I couldn't even make it to an exit to put it in a trash bin.
I can't recommend Sun Palace -- it's totally the archetypal God-awful Chinese-food-for-gwailo place that makes me so glad we have alternatives in the SGV, where they don't serve chop suey and egg fu yung -- but stop in and get an order of egg rolls at the bar. See if I'm just deluding myself. Just eat dinner elsewhere -- Arcadia is just 15 minutes down the 210.
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