Here’s a really fun read from incoming food editor Garrett Snyder at LA Weekly about the slightly resurgent Chinatown. In the mostly personal feature, Snyder talks about his time living in and around Chinatown, and his quest to eat at every Chinese restaurant within the neighborhood’s borders.
Here are five of the most interesting takeaways from the journey:
Chinatown’s age issue: "If there's a reason for Chinatown's decline, it might be a simple matter of numbers. As its population ages, many families are moving east to the San Gabriel Valley. As L.A. Timeswriter Frank Shyong put it in 2013, "Today the aging community has the feel of a museum.""
There’s still a lot of homogeneity: "If I hadn't documented what I ate at CBS Seafood and ABC Seafood, or at Golden City and Golden Palace, it would have been hard to pick out the food in a lineup."
Don’t go to Eastside Market Deli if you don’t have much time for lunch (but you probably already knew that): "The deli was popular enough with civic employees to turn my street into a gridlock of fire trucks, cop cars and various utility vehicles every day at noon."
The most oddball thing he ate: "My strangest meal might have been at J & K Hong Kong Café, where $10 will get you a Western-style, mixed grill plate loaded with a pork chop, short ribs, baked chicken, a hot dog, corn, broccoli, spaghetti, a fried egg and a gravy boat."
A lasting final meal: "Jade Wok is basically a bare, linoleum-floored dining room with a tiny window to the kitchen… It wasn't until my third visit that I tried their homemade bean curd, a dish that's not only the best thing I've eaten in Chinatown but also probably one of the best tofu dishes in Los Angeles."