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NY Style Chinese food in LA?

addy rourke | Sep 6, 200905:21 PM

I know this thread comes up from time to time but I have searched all and it appears the question was never answered in the affirmative. So now, two years later I am posing it again with hopes.

I am talking about the NY takeout restaurant style of preparation. Very heavy and greasy, less vegetables. For those who aren't familiar with this I'll take a moment to illuminate. These chinese restaurants in Manhattan can be found on nearly every block of the city. They are almost always "take-out or delivery only" --no in house seating-- and are little more than hole in the wall store-front kitchens with an address and phone number. They are equally as plentiful as pizzerias in NY (if not more-so) and are a staple of every New Yorker's weekly diet. The restaurants are invariably owned an operated exclusively by Chinese folks, and whether or not the preparation is "authentic," the restaurants all prepare the dishes the same way, to the point that there is really no difference from whom you place your order, as you'll be getting the same food from anyone.

This difference in preparation is what i am seeking here in LA. There are certain dishes that commonly appear in NY and not LA, but what I am after here are the staples, which are served on both sides of the country, but prepared in the NY style.

For example: won ton soup. In every chinese restaurant I've visited in LA this is rather flavorless. The soup in LA is prepared with a clear broth, very delicate wontons, vegetables like snow peas and carrots, shrimp, chicken, etc. The vegetables are not cooked through, simply thrown in, and the result is a hodgepodge of indefinite consistency and texture, and a flavor entirely devoid of integrity. It tastes more like what it appears to be: a broth with random things thrown in, and not cooked down to achieve amalgamation of flavor. The NY style won ton soup is always prepared exactly the same way across the board. Rich golden broth, thick-noodle pork won tons, thinly carved pork juliens, and green onions--nothing more, ever. Simple, yet robust in flavor.

Next: sweet and sour chicken. Here in LA we find things like peppers and pineapple throw in. In NY it's just the fried chicken bits and sauce.

Now, for those LA natives reading this thinking "Jesus that sounds awefull!" I don't blame you. There is much to be said for the health-conscious cooking styles of Los Angeles. The Chinese food here is indeed lighter, probably much less, or no MSG, and certainly more healthy with its use of vegetables. But for those fellow transplanted New Yorkers, you know that the LA variety is pale in comparison when it comes to flavor.

Also I am aware that LA's chinatown hosts some wonderful authentic cuisine for the true insiders--as does NYC's Chinatown. But I am looking for that illusive thing that is literally impossible not to come across walking down the street in NYC, and here in LA seems completely absent: the NY-style Chinese takeout restaurant.

This will not be a Panda Express, City Wok, Pick Up Stix, PF Chang's or other mall food. It will be a mom and pop with Chinese owners whose won ton soup consists of only four ingredients and uses tons of MSG.

If anyone knows what I'm talking about, and knows of the existence of such a place in LA, please post here!

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