Helpful ReplyHot!Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese)

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phlmaestro
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/22 11:53:15 (permalink)
Twinwillow
Favorite meal: Egg rolls accompanied with HOT mustard and duck sauce. Egg drop soup, Huge, very tender shrimps in lobster sauce, Real pork fried rice. And, vanilla ice cream for dessert.



 
That is a classic meal.  The thing that really set me off more than anything else with the Imperial Inn was the fact that they stopped putting ground pork in their shrimp with lobster sauce. That's pretty standard and the dish isn't quite as good without the pork in my opinion. 
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/22 11:59:25 (permalink)
phlmaestro
Twinwillow
Favorite meal: Egg rolls accompanied with HOT mustard and duck sauce. Egg drop soup, Huge, very tender shrimps in lobster sauce, Real pork fried rice. And, vanilla ice cream for dessert.



 
That is a classic meal.  The thing that really set me off more than anything else with the Imperial Inn was the fact that they stopped putting ground pork in their shrimp with lobster sauce. That's pretty standard and the dish isn't quite as good without the pork in my opinion. 


Back when I was living in Mt Vernon, VA and going to high school there, we had a little walk up take out diner place on Rt. 1 that had really good pork egg rolls and served them up with as many packets of duck sauce as you wanted. Cheap eats, to be sure, but they were really good. Loved stopping in there for an afternoon snack of their egg rolls. They were probably frozen and mass produced but man, were they good!
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/22 14:26:08 (permalink)
Twinwillow
Damn, I miss those wonderful old (2nd floor) Cantonese Chinese restaurants of my youth in NYC!
 
Favorite meal: Egg rolls accompanied with HOT mustard and duck sauce. Egg drop soup, Huge, very tender shrimps in lobster sauce, Real pork fried rice. And, vanilla ice cream for dessert.

2nd floor? That's really interesting, as one of the KC restaurants I mentioned, King Joy Lo, was indeed on the 2nd floor of a building on the NW corner of 12th and Main the center of the city. 2nd floor Chinese joints. Off to Google. :)
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/22 14:26:09 (permalink)
Twinwillow
Damn, I miss those wonderful old (2nd floor) Cantonese Chinese restaurants of my youth in NYC!
 
Favorite meal: Egg rolls accompanied with HOT mustard and duck sauce. Egg drop soup, Huge, very tender shrimps in lobster sauce, Real pork fried rice. And, vanilla ice cream for dessert.

2nd floor? That's really interesting, as one of the KC restaurants I mentioned, King Joy Lo, was indeed on the 2nd floor of a building on the NW corner of 12th and Main the center of the city. 2nd floor Chinese joints. Off to Google. :)
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/22 14:26:09 (permalink)
Twinwillow
Damn, I miss those wonderful old (2nd floor) Cantonese Chinese restaurants of my youth in NYC!
 
Favorite meal: Egg rolls accompanied with HOT mustard and duck sauce. Egg drop soup, Huge, very tender shrimps in lobster sauce, Real pork fried rice. And, vanilla ice cream for dessert.

2nd floor? That's really interesting, as one of the KC restaurants I mentioned, King Joy Lo, was indeed on the 2nd floor of a building on the NW corner of 12th and Main the center of the city. 2nd floor Chinese joints. Off to Google. :)
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phlmaestro
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/22 22:24:16 (permalink)
I recall some of  the best restaurants in NYC's Chinatown (I think including Wo Hop) being down below ground level. You have to walk down a small flight of stairs to get to the door.
 
I had forgotten until just a few minutes ago that while I've had Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' house almost every year of my life, including tonight, there were a couple years in the late 70s when we went out to eat and one of those years we went to the Imperial Inn for a Chinese Thanksgiving dinner. This was when the Imperial Inn was considered somewhat of a special occasion restaurant and I recall it being crowded with well-dressed families out for something other than the traditional holiday feast. I was probably in the age 12-14 range and was thrilled to be eating there at the time.
post edited by phlmaestro - 2018/11/22 22:27:56
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/23 10:11:32 (permalink)
rumaki
I think that Chun King commercial was one of those produced by the late great Stan Freberg



Thank you!  I was racking my brain trying to remember his name, but all that came out was Shelly Berman!
 
Freberg once did an entire hour for them with 'no commercials'.:
 

 
Good Lord, how I miss the days when comedians were actually funny!
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/23 12:26:16 (permalink)
MetroplexJim
rumaki
I think that Chun King commercial was one of those produced by the late great Stan Freberg



Thank you!  I was racking my brain trying to remember his name, but all that came out was Shelly Berman!
 
Freberg once did an entire hour for them with 'no commercials'.:
 

 
Good Lord, how I miss the days when comedians were actually funny!


I watched the whole video. Thanks for posting that. Did anybody else recognize Frank Sinatra in it?
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/23 15:21:35 (permalink)
phlmaestro
Twinwillow
Favorite meal: Egg rolls accompanied with HOT mustard and duck sauce. Egg drop soup, Huge, very tender shrimps in lobster sauce, Real pork fried rice. And, vanilla ice cream for dessert.



 
That is a classic meal.  The thing that really set me off more than anything else with the Imperial Inn was the fact that they stopped putting ground pork in their shrimp with lobster sauce. That's pretty standard and the dish isn't quite as good without the pork in my opinion. 


I agree. The chopped pork made all the difference between a superlative or, mediocre dish.
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/23 15:24:25 (permalink)
1bbqboy
Twinwillow
Damn, I miss those wonderful old (2nd floor) Cantonese Chinese restaurants of my youth in NYC!
 
Favorite meal: Egg rolls accompanied with HOT mustard and duck sauce. Egg drop soup, Huge, very tender shrimps in lobster sauce, Real pork fried rice. And, vanilla ice cream for dessert.

2nd floor? That's really interesting, as one of the KC restaurants I mentioned, King Joy Lo, was indeed on the 2nd floor of a building on the NW corner of 12th and Main the center of the city. 2nd floor Chinese joints. Off to Google. :)



They had their Cantonese restaurants on the second floor because the rent was less.
Growing up in Brooklyn, NY all the best Cantonese restaurants were "one flight up".
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/24 09:12:42 (permalink)
Twinwillow
1bbqboy
Twinwillow
Damn, I miss those wonderful old (2nd floor) Cantonese Chinese restaurants of my youth in NYC!

Favorite meal: Egg rolls accompanied with HOT mustard and duck sauce. Egg drop soup, Huge, very tender shrimps in lobster sauce, Real pork fried rice. And, vanilla ice cream for dessert.

2nd floor? That's really interesting, as one of the KC restaurants I mentioned, King Joy Lo, was indeed on the 2nd floor of a building on the NW corner of 12th and Main the center of the city. 2nd floor Chinese joints. Off to Google. :)



They had their Cantonese restaurants on the second floor because the rent was less.
Growing up in Brooklyn, NY all the best Cantonese restaurants were "one flight up".

Thanks. Common in NYC, unique in KC. Certainly the only 2nd floor place
I can remember from my youth.
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/24 09:25:21 (permalink)
There was a second floor old style Cantonese restaurant in downtown Toronto for many years. I used to visit when I was there for a law conference that met in Toronto every two years. Unfortunately, one year I went back and it had changed hands and been renovated into something completely different. (This wasn't in Chinatown (Spadina).) 
 
I recall going to an ancient old-style restaurant in Calgary about 20 years ago. I think it was called the Silver Dragon, and it, too, was on the second floor. I remember they had delicious and unusual egg rolls. Extremely crispy. I think they were twice fried: once in the usual way, then dipped in batter and fried again. Resulted in a crust that shatters like taro dumpling dim sum. YUM!! Another defunct place in Indianapolis, the Hong Kong Inn, prepared their egg rolls the same way.
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/24 10:20:09 (permalink)
I can remember as a kid being taken to second floor restaurants in Philly's Chinatown. 
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/24 10:53:16 (permalink)
1bbqboy
Thanks. Common in NYC, unique in KC. Certainly the only 2nd floor place I can remember from my youth.

Based on what I remember from TV and movie Westerns, in KC the second floor was usually reserved for the bordello customers.
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/24 12:07:27 (permalink)
ScreamingChicken
1bbqboy
Thanks. Common in NYC, unique in KC. Certainly the only 2nd floor place I can remember from my youth.

Based on what I remember from TV and movie Westerns, in KC the second floor was usually reserved for the bordello customers.

You of course, are exactly correct!
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/24 13:20:54 (permalink)
ChrisOC
I can remember as a kid being taken to second floor restaurants in Philly's Chinatown. 



Do you remember any of the restaurant names?  There are restaurants there now that have second dining-rooms on the second floor, but I can't think of any that are exclusively upstairs. I went to a nice second-floor restaurant in San Francisco's Chinatown once, but I can't remember the name.
 
I don't know if you or any other locals remember the names of the restaurants in Chinatown back in the 70s-80s. The two nicest places were the Imperial Inn (which was initially about a half-block north of where it's been since the late 70s) and the Lotus Inn. I also thought those two had the best food. Going to either one was a special occasion.
 
During the mid to late 70s, my father would take my sister and me to Chinatown very often for dinner. He belonged to a table tennis club where some of the best players in the country would compete against each other and I would go along to play and watch on Saturdays. It happened to be just a couple blocks west of Chinatown, so we'd walk there for dinner. Our regular place was called the Magic Fan. It had classic Cantonese food and although it wasn't as nice as the other two places, I remember waiters all wearing nice yellow jackets and bow-ties. In the late 70s, the Imperial Inn bought both the Magic Fan and its next-door-neighbor (can't remember what that was or even if it was a restaurant) and combined them to make a larger space with two downstairs dining-rooms and a nice upstairs room for both catered affairs (the food critic at the paper where I work had his son's bar mitz-vah reception there) and overflow when there was no special event and they were packed.
 
Some of the other restaurants from that era in Chinatown that I remember just from seeing the signs most weeks and in some cases having eaten there once or twice were China Gate, House of Chen (maybe the last one to close other than the Imperial Inn from that era), South China, and China City, which I pointed out before was the first Chinatown restaurant I ate at and which probably was out of business by the mid 70s. A place called Ho Sai Gai was considered one of the best restaurants in Chinatown around the late 70s and early 80s. They went out of business and re-opened some years ago in the same spot, but the food is nowhere near as good as it was back then.   
 
Actually, now that I think of it, House of Chen was a second-floor restaurant.
 
I would guess it was during the 80s that Joe's Peking Duck House opened and became the first popular Chinatown restaurant that specialized in something other than Americanized Cantonese. 
post edited by phlmaestro - 2018/11/24 13:29:27
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/24 16:41:51 (permalink)
phlmaestro
ChrisOC
I can remember as a kid being taken to second floor restaurants in Philly's Chinatown. 



Do you remember any of the restaurant names?  There are restaurants there now that have second dining-rooms on the second floor, but I can't think of any that are exclusively upstairs. I went to a nice second-floor restaurant in San Francisco's Chinatown once, but I can't remember the name.
 
I don't know if you or any other locals remember the names of the restaurants in Chinatown back in the 70s-80s. The two nicest places were the Imperial Inn (which was initially about a half-block north of where it's been since the late 70s) and the Lotus Inn. I also thought those two had the best food. Going to either one was a special occasion.
 
During the mid to late 70s, my father would take my sister and me to Chinatown very often for dinner. He belonged to a table tennis club where some of the best players in the country would compete against each other and I would go along to play and watch on Saturdays. It happened to be just a couple blocks west of Chinatown, so we'd walk there for dinner. Our regular place was called the Magic Fan. It had classic Cantonese food and although it wasn't as nice as the other two places, I remember waiters all wearing nice yellow jackets and bow-ties. In the late 70s, the Imperial Inn bought both the Magic Fan and its next-door-neighbor (can't remember what that was or even if it was a restaurant) and combined them to make a larger space with two downstairs dining-rooms and a nice upstairs room for both catered affairs (the food critic at the paper where I work had his son's bar mitz-vah reception there) and overflow when there was no special event and they were packed.
 
Some of the other restaurants from that era in Chinatown that I remember just from seeing the signs most weeks and in some cases having eaten there once or twice were China Gate, House of Chen (maybe the last one to close other than the Imperial Inn from that era), South China, and China City, which I pointed out before was the first Chinatown restaurant I ate at and which probably was out of business by the mid 70s. A place called Ho Sai Gai was considered one of the best restaurants in Chinatown around the late 70s and early 80s. They went out of business and re-opened some years ago in the same spot, but the food is nowhere near as good as it was back then.   
 
Actually, now that I think of it, House of Chen was a second-floor restaurant.
 
I would guess it was during the 80s that Joe's Peking Duck House opened and became the first popular Chinatown restaurant that specialized in something other than Americanized Cantonese. 

Thanks! Wonderful stories...
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/25 14:42:35 (permalink)
Our favorite Cantonese resturant in NY's Chinatown was Sam Wo. It was situated on the curve of Mott Street. Very popular during the early 70's but according to Google, gone now.
 
Any one here ever been there?
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/27 14:28:33 (permalink)
Years ago, my parents would go to TaiShan's on broadway in San Antonio.  We didn't go that often, but they are long gone. My dad was Airforce, and we were on Okinawa and when we got sent to Alaska, we would eat at the Nikko Gardens. Now this is a japanese place , but we never ate chinese food up there. I eat at a few local places like China Moon, Kowloon's or Shanghai. The China Harbour Buffet on  US Hwy281 S. access road is very good for a buffet. 
A lot of places around here don't serve Peking Duck, or much duck at all. Maybe Shanghi, but that's the only one I know of. No one does the chicken in foil anymore, nor the rumaki. Now someone in San Antonio might, but not sure who.
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/27 15:30:04 (permalink)
Hung Fong in San Antonio advertises itself as the oldest Chinese restaurant in Texas.  I don't see any rumaki on the menu, though.
 
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/59a407c7bebafb713db9af04/t/5a4ed6610d9297d3c31e9a00/1515116131315/Hung+Fong+Dinner+Menu.pdf
 
HollyDolly
A lot of places around here don't serve Peking Duck, or much duck at all. Maybe Shanghi, but that's the only one I know of. No one does the chicken in foil anymore, nor the rumaki. Now someone in San Antonio might, but not sure who.




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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/27 15:36:21 (permalink)
rumaki
Hung Fong in San Antonio advertises itself as the oldest Chinese restaurant in Texas.  I don't see any rumaki on the menu, though.
 
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/59a407c7bebafb713db9af04/t/5a4ed6610d9297d3c31e9a00/1515116131315/Hung+Fong+Dinner+Menu.pdf
 
HollyDolly
A lot of places around here don't serve Peking Duck, or much duck at all. Maybe Shanghi, but that's the only one I know of. No one does the chicken in foil anymore, nor the rumaki. Now someone in San Antonio might, but not sure who.





 Although not 100% Cantonese, there's still enough to interest me. Thanks.
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/27 15:54:36 (permalink)
Twinwillow
 Although not 100% Cantonese, there's still enough to interest me. Thanks.




If you go -- or even if you just read the menu -- check out their ceiling (described on the final page of the menu).
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/27 16:12:45 (permalink)
rumaki
Twinwillow
 Although not 100% Cantonese, there's still enough to interest me. Thanks.




If you go -- or even if you just read the menu -- check out their ceiling (described on the final page of the menu).


Very nice. Worth a visit just for the ceiling. As it happens, Just watched "The Flying Tigers" (1942) with the Duke (John Wayne) on TV last night. Loved John Carroll in his "rogue" roll as well. I believe the Chinese people have either mostly forgot or don't even know of America's efforts for them during WWII.
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/27 18:05:26 (permalink)
rumaki
Hung Fong in San Antonio advertises itself as the oldest Chinese restaurant in Texas.  I don't see any rumaki on the menu, though.
 
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/59a407c7bebafb713db9af04/t/5a4ed6610d9297d3c31e9a00/1515116131315/Hung+Fong+Dinner+Menu.pdf
 
 



Since 1939.  That is IMPRESSIVE!  Quite a long run.  And it undoubtedly wasn't the first Chinese restaurant in SA. I've never heard of it before.
 
I've just been looking at a new book, Lost Restaurants of Houston.  It says that by 1902, there were five Chinese restaurants in Houston, none of them still around, of course.  San Antonio was a bigger city than Houston back then, up until at least 1930, maybe 1940, IIRC, so there had probably been others there.
 
It does look interesting.
 
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/27 22:48:36 (permalink)
I'll probably be passing through Columbus and possibly even spending a night there next year. I was looking up some of the old restaurants there and came across this place that looks like it has potential if my wife and I are up for Chinese while we're in that area:  https://dingho.net/
 
It's been open since 1956 and still has a nice selection of Cantonese classics. 
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/27 23:35:03 (permalink)
China Chili in Phoenix is a throwback to the 50s & '60s with many Cantonese dishes on their menu including Prawns in Lobster Sauce!:
 
http://chinachilirestaurant.com/Menu.html
 
 
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rumaki
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/28 09:55:46 (permalink)
acer2x
China Chili in Phoenix is a throwback to the 50s & '60s with many Cantonese dishes on their menu including Prawns in Lobster Sauce!:
 
http://chinachilirestaurant.com/Menu.html
 
 


 
I guess you missed out on this one:
https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2018/09/30/after-90-years-sing-high-chop-suey-house-phoenix-closes-its-doors/1481547002/
 
I actually went to Sing High two or three times when I was in Phoenix for conferences or speaking engagements, 8 or 10 years ago.  It was in a pretty dodgy area (at least at night) -- near the jail, or the criminal courts, I think. Since I never had a car on these trips, I went at lunchtime or mid-afternoon. The exterior of the building was interesting, but the interior decor was beyond tired.  There was a sad, empty birdcage in the middle of the dining room, whose occupant (if there ever was one) was long gone.
 
But they had rumaki, and, as I recall, it was pretty good!  https://www.phoenixnewtim...ew-vegetables-11052008
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rumaki
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/28 10:06:04 (permalink)
phlmaestro
I'll probably be passing through Columbus and possibly even spending a night there next year. I was looking up some of the old restaurants there and came across this place that looks like it has potential if my wife and I are up for Chinese while we're in that area:  https://dingho.net/
 
It's been open since 1956 and still has a nice selection of Cantonese classics. 




WOW!   I would go there in a minute!  Look at all those classics: Fantail Shrimp appetizer; Hong Sue Gai; Wor Sue Gai or Wor Sue Upp (Chinese Pressed Chicken or Duck); and something that I thought was extinct: Sai Woo Duck!  I haven't had that since Jong Mea in Indianapolis closed in 1998.  They called it Sai Woo Opp. Same thing, though.  I mentioned above that Jong Mea had a branch in Columbus, so I wonder if this was an Indiana-Ohio thing?  
 
If I lived there, I'd be ordering these party platters for entertaining:
https://dingho.net/party-platters/
 
Even though they don't have rumaki!
 
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Twinwillow
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/28 10:21:46 (permalink)
Great menus, guys. You're killing me! Me want sum.
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Re: Fairwell To An Old Standby (I miss classic Chinese-American Cantonese) 2018/11/28 10:53:14 (permalink)
I still remember the first Chinese restaurant in San Marcos, the Hong Kong. It opened in the mid 70s.  It was so nice with good food, red soft furnishings and soft music. It was such a treat since my only prior experience with Chinese food was by way of La Choy. It was owned by David Chiu, a Chinese native. As long as he was the owner, about twenty years, it was pretty decent but when he sold it it began to slip. The last time I ate there the service was good and the food was ok but all the atmosphere was gone. Shortly afterwards it was retitled 'Wok and Roll'. I haven't been back since. I just CAN"T go to a place with a name like that. We have one called Imperial Garden which is about as old as the Hong Kong was and the last time I ate there it was still ok. The Chinese buffet places here are straight off the Sysco truck. I am sure I could do just as well or better if I can get past my fear of stir frying.
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