I feel like, since coming to L.A., I have experienced an explosion of little known regional cuisines - little known to me at least. I have now eaten at, like, a dozen Sichuan places and a dozen Shanghai places and 15 northern Chinese noodle houses and dumpling houses and Islamic Chinese places and Chiu Chow places and late night congee joints and...
But besides dim sum, I feel that I have neglecting the Cantonese (and the relatively similar Hong Kong and Taiwanese?) joints. I hit some up in Chinatown when I first got here, and there was my early love affair with Empress Pavilion, but since then...
So somebody please educate me. What are the main Cantonese restaurant types? What sort of non-big-seafood hall types of Cantonese joints are there? What are your favorites?
When I think Cantonese, I think - steamed fishes, fried fishes, black bean and fish, black bean and clam, stir-fried broccoli, garlic-salt fried whole fresh shrimp, roast duck, roast pork, chow fun. These are what my Vietnamese family ordered when they went to Cantonese restaurants. What am I missing? What oddball Cantonese dishes might I find throughout the San Gabriel Valley?
What are the differences between Cantonese, Taiwanese, and Hong Kong? Where might I go in SGV to understand these differences with my tongue?
Also: when I was young, I dug sweet and sour pork. Of course. That and Ho Ho's. (Come to think of it, I still eat ho ho's, especially when I've been teaching for a few hours straight). I have (primitively) since then shunned this. But I have heard tell that sweet and sour pork, is actually one of the great dishes of the Cantonese kitchen, and that done properly, it is gorgeous.
Where might I find that?
Educate me please.