Our school spends one week each spring offering mini-courses outside of the usual curricular offerings. I've put together courses on chocolate, Hollywood, Minor League Baseball, and artisan food producers of the Bay Area, among other topics. This spring I hope to offer Chinese Food 101. The goal of the course is to help the students avoid ordering sweet and sour pork and chicken chow mein for the rest of their lives. I'd like to introduce the kids (grades 9-12) to a range of Chinese regional cuisines. I have not yet decided if it will be a full day course (allowing us to visit 10 restaurants) or a half day course (which would limit us to 5). Regardless, I'd love your suggestions for the best exemplars of Cantonese, Szechuan, Mandarin, Hakka, Hunan, Shanghainese, Manchurian cooking, etc. to be found locally. Additionally, I'd love guest speakers who could talk to the kids about a given cuisine, perhaps joining us for the relevant meal.
I'm also considering dragging the kids down to LA for a night, but only if it would mean a significant improvement in quality or the possibility of trying something that is simply unavailable in the Bay Area. Feel free to include suggestions like, "There is no food from Macau in the Bay Area. Check the LA board for this option," or "While Little Potato in Union City is good, the food at ? in Monterey Park is more authentic and worth the trip." See this thread on the LA board for offering LA suggestions: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/... .
Thanks in advance for your help.