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Restaurants & Bars

Entering The Time Warp--1950s Chinese Food At MacArthur Park

Chandavkl | Jun 7, 200702:28 PM     15

Eons ago (well maybe 50 years based on my earliest childhood recollection) there was a Chinese restaurant on 7th St. by Westlake Ave., less than a block from the park. It was the standard Chinese American restaurant with the typical favorites. The one dish I remember from there was the tomato beef chow mein. Well I haven't eaten there in perhaps 15 or 20 years, but I occasionally would drive by and see that the "Bamboo Inn" sign was still there but the restaurant never seemed to be open. Then the other evening while taking a rush hour traffic detour I drove by and saw they were in fact open for business so I returned there this afternoon. Talk about feeling like walking into a time capsule! Red naugahide bench seats along both walls and even in the middle section. A lighted "Fried Shrimp" sign in the window. A mechanical cash register like the one my grandfather used at his corner grocery store. And the menu! Six different types of egg fu young. Twelve varieties of chop suey. Chow mein that was "served with rice." The tomato beef chow mein was there, as was pork fried rice, almond chicken, wor won ton and beef with broccoli. No pressed almond duck, though. The sweet and sour chicken was as red and gloppy as we all remember. While I've moved on from this kind of food like many of you, I'm glad I came back for another visit. And the next time you go to Langer's, think about running across the street to Bamboo Inn and picking up some egg rolls or Chinese chicken noodle soup. The street address is 2005 W. 7th St. and they appear to open daily from noontime to 10 pm.

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