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Exploring Jackie's Old Haunt: Canton Kitchen in West L.A.

Dommy! | Dec 21, 200505:40 PM

Walking around the neighborhood one Sunday evening, BF pointed out a little Chinese hole in the wall called Canton Kitchen on Venice near Centinela. Not because he had eaten there, but because the thought it was a in Jackie Chan movie… Cool I thought, but never gave much of a second thought of returning. I spent my teenage years in the SGV, whenever I want good Chinese Food, I go visit mom and dad…

However, a few days later, someone posted about Canton Kitchen on Chowhound as a place to get the legendary NY Style egg rolls! Hearing so much about them these past few years from old co-workers (We used to work 15 minutes from Monterrey Park and they STILL complained that there was no good Chinese Food in L.A.!), my interest was piqued….

So last Sunday, we came home starving and looking for a quick bite, I mentioned it to my East Coast Transplant BF and off we went!

Walking in, it was nothing like I expected! First, there were two white guys taking the orders… YES, the inner SGV girl wanted to run out the door immediately… Also there was no steam tables. Everything was done to order! Second, the décor was really severe!! Like a doctors office!!! Chairs lined up against all walls and ratty old magazines lying around. And then right by the order window, proving its claim to fame, two framed collages, both featuring the restaurant’s scenes in Jackie Chan Movies… LOL!

I had asked a hound what to order. He said stick to the old school classics… so Aside from the Egg Rolls we got:

BBQ Pork Fried Rice: Whenever I see NY Chinese Food anything, it’s usually all about BBQ Pork. This was a huge serving of the DARKEST fried Rice I’ve ever seen. Studded with bits of RED fatty pork. The most surprising thing about it was that it was NOT salty at all. It wasn’t too heavy either. It certainly wasn’t the best fried rice ever, but it wasn’t the a gut bomb I feared it to be…

Pepper Beef and Kung Pao Chicken: You don’t get much more ‘classic’ than this. And these two dishes totally displayed why the waiting room of the Canton Kitchen was full with people waiting for their Chinese Food… It’s JUST like Tito’s Tacos… It’s the type of Chinese Food your Non-Chinese Mom would make! The Veggies were pretty fresh and cut big. The meat was also in nice sized slices/chunks. The sauce was where it really became different. For both, it was like gravy. Not goopy or thick, too salty nor too sweet. The spices were all very identifiable and the taste mild, but still very balanced. The Pepper Beef was peppery and the Kung Pao Chicken had a bit of heat.

BF had the Dumpling Soup of Lunch later that evening, and noted that it was good, but the Dumplings were mushy after sitting a few hours in soup (I noted that it was odd that they didn’t package the dumplings separately as other places do… but then I realized those other places are in SGV…

And finally, the Egg Rolls!! When I took these out of the package, I thought there had been a mistake. I thought they were some kinda stuffed and battered wings (honestly though, I thought they looked like Mini Chile Rellenos! :)) ! They were that FAT… I took one out and saw it squishy, so they had to be the egg rolls. I took one bite was surprised by the texture. Very obviously home made, the outside shell was crisp, but inside was doughy. There was a HUGE nugget of meat in the middle and few random bean sprouts. With some squeezes of Hot Chinese Mustard, they were EXCELLENT. BF joyfully called them the Egg Rolls of his youth and that all that was missing was the Duck Sauce (wazzat!?!)

Although I’m not ready to give up my regular treks to Monterey Park just yet, I will be ordering from them again (BF now wants to try the spare ribs and chow mein) and I admit, I can see the attraction to this restaurant. I know that night; it certainly hit the spot for me! :)

Canton Kitchen
(310) 398-0030
12511 Venice Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066


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