Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Retro Chinese

Remember when chinese food meant only one thing? Cantonese. And only one style, with only minor variations. Almond duck, those cubes of pressed meat on a bed of wilted shredded lettuce covered with smooth brown gravy and a healthy sprinkling of crushed or sliced toasted almonds. Chow mein with fat noodles, slightly burnt here and there in a thin gravy with celery, onion, char siu, shrimp, chicken, or beef. Remember Pea chai yu? Snow peas with sliced water chestnuts in a chicken gravy? Hom yu? Steamed ground pork fat? Egg foo yung? egg pancakes with bean sprout? Those restaurants, like Far East and Paul's Kitchen, have given way to the new wave of chinese flavors admittedly more refined, varied, and true to the chinese culture. But I miss the old interpretation like I miss some of the character of old LA. Hidden from the street in Crenshaw Square is a throwback - Kim's. Only blocks from my house with a loyal clientele, it retains all the tradition of the fifties chinese restaurants. And so far, still under the foodie radar.


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