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A Guide to LA's Best Chinese Restaurants Outside of SGV

Just in case you need an option for Christmas Day that won't break the bank.

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It's that time of the year again when many Angelenos are researching for the annual holiday tradition known as "Chinese dinner on Christmas".

While dozens of SGV Chinese restaurants have opened and closed since the last map, worthy and interesting Chinese restaurants remain far and few West of the 110 freeway. The most serious of the new openings on the Westside would be Qin West, and the most whimsical MJ Cafe. For Southbay residents, the opening of Huaen, a darling noodle shop smaller than a hole-in-the-wall, should be the most welcoming news as Christmas will bring frigid temps best fit for steamy dumplings and juicy buns.

In Chinatown, the re-opening of Empress Pavilion offers a grand setting for families, but Fortune Gourmet offers the old-timey hominess that is so necessary during passive aggressive Festivus gatherings.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Bao Dim Sum House

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Bao is the only place to get dimsum in (West) Hollywood. Opens late,serves dimsum all day, which makes it better than SGV restaurants thatonly serve dimsum on the weekend. No push carts here; every smallbasket is served fresh after ordering. Tired of lines at Sea Harbor onSundays? Bao Dim Sum wears the distinction of the only dimsum house onOpentable in LA.

Din Tai Fung Dumpling House #3

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Developer Rick Caruso somehow managed to convince Din Tai Feng to open its third Los Angeles branch in Glendale of all places. Assuming everyone understands the MO behind Taiwanese culinary giant Din Tai Feng, the only additional item to be mentioned here is: there is a full bar, which is necessary because reservations are still not accepted.

Dong Fang Lamb Kebab

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This is the latest Chinese kebab restaurant in Koreatown. Dong Fang ("The Eastern Way") dishes out DIY lamb skewers just like Feng Mao, but also has a wider stir-fry, non-skewered Chinese menu. BBQ lamb? Check. Potstickers? Check.

Fortune Gourmet Kitchen

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Despite the return of Empress Pavilion, the newer Fortune Gourmet has stepped up the Pan-Cantonese game after absorbing some of the area's restaurant staff, and With generous lunch bargains at $7, Fortune Gourmet has won (some) the hearts of Chinatown's older denizens.

Hop Li

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Hop Li is a Chinese chain now with 4 branches. Just like Hop Woo, its roots can be found in the San Gabriel Valley. If Hop Woo is to be included in the best-of Westside Chinese list, so should all Hop Li’s.

Hop Woo BBQ & Seafood

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This is a Hong Kong style BBQ house with roots in San Gabriel Valley. There is no need to question the taste here,just enjoy the roasted canard carved table-side.

Huaen Restaurant

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Huaen is the 101 Noodle Express equivalent in Gardena, except with even wider menu. In addition to the pan fried buns, beef roll and dumplings (which are also available to-go in frozen form), seek out the scallion pancakes, popcorn chicken and cold sesame noodles.

Huang House BBQ Seafood

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Located in between South side of Thai town and the Central Americanfood corridor, Huang House took over where Tasy House and BBQ Unlimited left off. Look for Cantonese char siu pork and whole roasted ducks.

JR Bistro

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JR Bistro serves up classic Cantonese cafe fares such as spicy salt calamari, chow fun, and vegeables in XO sauce. When in season, lobster can be had for cheap. Just like its SGV brethrens, every meal is served with complimentary soup, but sadly, it isn't open late like ABC/KT/JJ Cafe in SGV.

Mandarin Deli Restaurant

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The Northridge branch is related to the Monterey Park restaurant where Jonathan Gold recommends the dumpling.

Mandarin Kitchen

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Mandarin Kitchen immediately became West LA's favorite take-outChinese joint when it opened in 2008. Disregard the name as MK servesverifiable Hong Kong cuisine; the proprietors previously operated HopWoo. While egg foo young and chop suey can be spotted on the menu, onecan also find gems such as pork with preserved egg porridge and BBQpork/tofu/oyster in clay pot.

Meizhou Dongpo Restaurant

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Save for the waiter offering a glass of white during lunch, this is the most "authentic" Chinese outside of SGV. Full stop.

MJ Cafe Express

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MJ Cafe Express is an outlet of MJ Cafe in Rowland Heights. This Taiwanese cafe is the only place to get stinky tofu, spicy popcorn chicken and brick toast to pair with myriad of boba milk teas. While shirako down at Kiriko is exotic and seasonal, stinky tofu is forever.

Moon House Chinese Cuisine

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The management at Moon House previously ran Hop Woo and Mandarin Kitchen, two Westside Chinese standbys. Open since Summer 2013, diners can get steamed char siu bao, cumin lamb, and even a whole Peking duck here.

Pingtung Eat-In Market

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Taiwanese pork chop rice in the middle of Fairfax? With a side of beef rolls? And there are over 20 loose leaf teas after bottles and bottles of Tsingtao? Winner! Also of note, one can get steamed BBQ char siu baos at Pingtung until 10:30 P.M. and there's matcha shaved snow.

Qin West Chinese Cuisine

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The Kou family, from Shaanxi, operated a take-out Chinese restaurant with "secret" Shaanxi Chinese menu in USC for years, until the University Village food court was demolished. In Fall of 2014, they opened the second branch of Qin West, the first Shaanxi/Guilin-style restaurant west of the 110 freeway.

Chinese dumplings made with better-than-SGV ingredients. The chef has since decamped, but it doesn’t take a CIA degree to wrap tasty dumplings.

Tampa Garden Chinese Delight

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This Valley gem is possibly the only place to sample freshly wrapped xiao long bao outside of SGV. Ignore the Panda Express style combos and ask what freshly made dumplings are available for the day. Ifyou're lucky, you may also encounter some freshly wrapped chive pockets.

Wah's Golden Hen

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A neighborhood anchor for 25+ years, Wah's offers friendly service often amiss from SGV Chinese restaurants. Never experienced the almond chicken of yore? Golden Hen is your best bet. The meal-end mignardise of almond cookies is a total charmer.

Sea Dragon Chinese Restaurant

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Sea Dragon, opened in 2013, is the only bona fide Chinese-owned joint serving Cantonese food within Ktown proper. Look for crispy chao mien and beef ho fun amongst Americanized Chinese dishes like orange chicken and beef and broccoli.

Bao Dim Sum House

Bao is the only place to get dimsum in (West) Hollywood. Opens late,serves dimsum all day, which makes it better than SGV restaurants thatonly serve dimsum on the weekend. No push carts here; every smallbasket is served fresh after ordering. Tired of lines at Sea Harbor onSundays? Bao Dim Sum wears the distinction of the only dimsum house onOpentable in LA.

Din Tai Fung Dumpling House #3

Developer Rick Caruso somehow managed to convince Din Tai Feng to open its third Los Angeles branch in Glendale of all places. Assuming everyone understands the MO behind Taiwanese culinary giant Din Tai Feng, the only additional item to be mentioned here is: there is a full bar, which is necessary because reservations are still not accepted.

Dong Fang Lamb Kebab

This is the latest Chinese kebab restaurant in Koreatown. Dong Fang ("The Eastern Way") dishes out DIY lamb skewers just like Feng Mao, but also has a wider stir-fry, non-skewered Chinese menu. BBQ lamb? Check. Potstickers? Check.

Fortune Gourmet Kitchen

Despite the return of Empress Pavilion, the newer Fortune Gourmet has stepped up the Pan-Cantonese game after absorbing some of the area's restaurant staff, and With generous lunch bargains at $7, Fortune Gourmet has won (some) the hearts of Chinatown's older denizens.

Hop Li

Hop Li is a Chinese chain now with 4 branches. Just like Hop Woo, its roots can be found in the San Gabriel Valley. If Hop Woo is to be included in the best-of Westside Chinese list, so should all Hop Li’s.

Hop Woo BBQ & Seafood

This is a Hong Kong style BBQ house with roots in San Gabriel Valley. There is no need to question the taste here,just enjoy the roasted canard carved table-side.

Huaen Restaurant

Huaen is the 101 Noodle Express equivalent in Gardena, except with even wider menu. In addition to the pan fried buns, beef roll and dumplings (which are also available to-go in frozen form), seek out the scallion pancakes, popcorn chicken and cold sesame noodles.

Huang House BBQ Seafood

Located in between South side of Thai town and the Central Americanfood corridor, Huang House took over where Tasy House and BBQ Unlimited left off. Look for Cantonese char siu pork and whole roasted ducks.

JR Bistro

JR Bistro serves up classic Cantonese cafe fares such as spicy salt calamari, chow fun, and vegeables in XO sauce. When in season, lobster can be had for cheap. Just like its SGV brethrens, every meal is served with complimentary soup, but sadly, it isn't open late like ABC/KT/JJ Cafe in SGV.

Mandarin Deli Restaurant

The Northridge branch is related to the Monterey Park restaurant where Jonathan Gold recommends the dumpling.

Mandarin Kitchen

Mandarin Kitchen immediately became West LA's favorite take-outChinese joint when it opened in 2008. Disregard the name as MK servesverifiable Hong Kong cuisine; the proprietors previously operated HopWoo. While egg foo young and chop suey can be spotted on the menu, onecan also find gems such as pork with preserved egg porridge and BBQpork/tofu/oyster in clay pot.

Meizhou Dongpo Restaurant

Save for the waiter offering a glass of white during lunch, this is the most "authentic" Chinese outside of SGV. Full stop.

MJ Cafe Express

MJ Cafe Express is an outlet of MJ Cafe in Rowland Heights. This Taiwanese cafe is the only place to get stinky tofu, spicy popcorn chicken and brick toast to pair with myriad of boba milk teas. While shirako down at Kiriko is exotic and seasonal, stinky tofu is forever.