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Beloved Chinese Restaurant Wah’s Golden Hen Hangs It Up After Almost 50 Years

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Plus, free holiday meals for those who need them, best new restaurant lists, and a new gig for a prominent former Top Chef contestant

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A top down look at Chinese-American food on a platter, including egg rolls.
Wah’s Golden Hen food
Farley Elliott
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Virgil Village staple restaurant Wah’s Golden Hen is closing on December 30, ending a nearly 50 year run for one of the area’s most celebrated Chinese American restaurants. Owner Lena Louie is a fixture in the neighborhood, and has seen dramatic changes there in the past ten years, as discussed thoroughly by LA Times columnist Frank Shyong last year. Here’s a note from Louie oh the upcoming closure, as posted to Yelp:

“Just over 30 years ago, we came to America with many hopes and dreams. We soon joined the family business where we would raise our children and see many of our dreams fulfilled and more. We enjoyed sharing our food with the community, and with the many customers who have become friends and family along the way. It was a joy to see the families around us grow, as ours has. We thank you for your support over the decades. It has been a blessing to be able to establish our roots here in America, and in this community, for so long. Though it is bittersweet to say farewell to this labor of love, we look forward to our next chapter: enjoying a quiet retirement. We will spend our time gardening and cooking at home with our family.”

In other news:

  • Both Time Out Los Angeles and LA Magazine are out with big year-end lists of great new restaurants. The former includes spots like Gamboge in Lincoln Heights and Little Coyote in Long Beach; the latter crowns spots like Chinatown’s Pearl River Delta and Hank’s Bagels in the Valley, though given the nature of the troubling year there is a lot of (well-deserved) overlap between the two.
  • The Strand House in Manhattan Beach is looking to donate a ton of holiday meals for laid-off hospitality workers as part of a two-day drive-thru that begins on December 23. The Anchor in Venice is doing the same from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
  • Here’s a troubling story out of the Central Coast, where Solvang restaurant Peasants Feast was cited by Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for allowing its own employees to dine inside for staff meal. The restaurant, forced to do takeout and delivery only given the ongoing state mandates, fought the violation, and lost.
  • Ditroit in the Arts District is doing holiday pickups on December 24 and 25, but best to order quick to make sure things like pozole and cocktails are still available. Meanwhile Silver Lake’s L&E Oyster Bar is taking the holiday week off, reopening on December 30 in time for New Years, and Jane Q in Hollywood is doing prix fixe holiday meals and champagne-heavy New Years dinners.
  • Top Chef’s Marcel Vigneron (Wolf, Beefsteak) is now cooking over at Ollo in Malibu. The restaurant is still open for takeout and delivery, including holiday meals like New Years Eve dinners.
  • Little Tokyo’s Far Bar is doing “tour of Japan” drink packages for takeaway, with options like a $55 beer tour that comes with five different beers to try, or a $75 whiskey flight setup with multiple two-ounce tastings, plus snacks and trinkets to check out along the way.
  • International curry makers Cobi’s Curries has a new location at 8422 West Third Street, in the former Kassi Club space, and to celebrate being on the block (and all the delivery apps) the company is doing free food for the neighborhood tomorrow.