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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki JOHN-O's Zombie Road Trip...
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JOHN-O's Zombie Road Trip...
tikilongbeach
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Aug 05, 2011
Posts: 1282
From: Long Beach, CA via Dallas, TX
Posted: 2013-03-22 2:48 pm   Permalink

Long Beach has some old school Chinese restaurants. At Fortune Garden on 4th Street you can get paper wrapped chicken, chow mein and chop suey. Chen's Chinese on Broadway has Almond Duck, paper wrapped chicken, egg foo young and chop suey. Chen's has great neon on the outside and vintage Chinese decor. Tea Garden and Le Yen Chinese Restaurant are 2 more chop suey serving places in LBC.
This is the outside of Le Yen.


I've been wanting to try Yen Ching in Orange, CA just because I like the building. It looks like it might have an interesting past life. They serve paper wrapped chicken and flaming pineapple chicken.




_________________
-Lori


 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 5888
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2013-03-22 3:10 pm   Permalink

But is the food good? at any of these places.
Thanks Lori..


 
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tikilongbeach
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Aug 05, 2011
Posts: 1282
From: Long Beach, CA via Dallas, TX
Posted: 2013-03-22 3:33 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-03-22 15:10, Atomic Tiki Punk wrote:
But is the food good? at any of these places.
Thanks Lori..



Well...not really. Americanized Chinese food can be tasty, but I would give those places 2-3 stars out of 5. Should you make a special trip from Costa Mesa to LBC for dinner? No, but if you're shopping on Retro Row and need some MSG than visit Chen's.
I've been to each of those places once and it was 5-7 years ago. I liked their old school looks and that's why I checked them out.
_________________
-Lori


 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2684
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2013-03-22 5:44 pm   Permalink

JOHN-O does not condone bad Chop Suey !!

 
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Bora Boris
Mr. Unreasonable

Joined: Mar 25, 2005
Posts: 2569
From: Boogie Wonderland
Posted: 2013-03-22 7:04 pm   Permalink

The Yen Ching has it's own thread on Tiki Central (kinda) and it has a great history as it's formerly Holo Wai Miniature Golf,

The food is good but it's Beer and Wine only.







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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2684
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2013-03-22 10:24 pm   Permalink

Huh ?? Chop Suey usually begets Tiki. I guess in this case it was the other way around.

 
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Or Got Rum?
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 29, 2009
Posts: 331
From: Wisconsin
Posted: 2013-03-23 08:28 am   Permalink

John-O, Great info on the old school Chinese restaurants. Being an New Englander/East Coaster growing up, unfortunately that was almost all we had w/ some tropical cocktails thrown in. In your knowledge quest have you ever come across this strange Mass/Rhode Island tradition? Chow Mein Sandwiches! We had them in Maine, also.
http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Review/8193-10224/mee-sum-restaurant-and-lounge
Thanks for the enjoyable journey. OGR


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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2013-03-23 09:26 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-03-22 19:04, Bora Boris wrote:
The Yen Ching has it's own thread on Tiki Central (kinda) and it has a great history as it's formerly Holo Wai Miniature Golf,

The food is good but it's Beer and Wine only.









I eat at Yen Ching quite a lot. The food is good.


 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2684
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2013-03-23 8:53 pm   Permalink

I have indeed encountered the chow mein sandwich only it wasn't in a restaurant. It was in the Orange County CA kitchen of a close friend of mine. My friend Doris grew up outside of Boston, and along with her 2 siblings worked in their parents' Chinese restaurant. After college all 3 kids migrated to California, with the parents following suit after selling the restaurant to retire in the sunshine.

Also in a strange twist of Tiki fate, I learned that Doris's 2 uncles owned the recently closed Hong Kong Inn in Ventura CA where I ran a
Tiki bus trip just last year !!

Anyway Doris's parents visited her OC home on a regular basis where I used to inquire about their old family business. One time I asked what their specialty was and without skipping a beat they mentioned the chow mein sandwich. They said that dish was so popular that it paid for 3 kids' college educations. For years I used to bug her parents to make it for me so I too could partake in that regional "ancient Chinese secret".

One day they happened to have all of the needed ingredients in the kitchen so they whipped one up for me. Essentially it was Chow Mein piled open face on top of hamburger buns with a bunch of crispy noodles. I tried to eat it like a regular sandwich but it ended up as one big sloppy mess.

I didn't quite get the appeal but they said their old Caucasian customer base LOVED it.


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Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 5888
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2013-03-23 9:28 pm   Permalink

I wonder how many of you had this growing up "Omelet & Rice" it is basically
"Fried Rice with an Omelet on top" and originated in post war Japan

My dad was in the Marines and stationed in Japan in the 1950s
where he acquired a taste for it for breakfast, it is Japanese style fried rice
topped with an egg omelet, top it off with a little ketchup & soy sauce.

This was in a few 1950s cooking books & old magazines,it was popular with service men who
had spent time in Japan, but on returning to the USA anyone wanting this dish
had to use "Chinese fried rice" to make it (which is very similar to the Japanese version)
Some Chinese Restaurants in the 50s & 60s used to have it on their menus.

We still eat it today.


 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2684
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2013-03-24 08:49 am   Permalink

Actually just as a point of clarification, the ex-Tiki golf course that's now a Chinese restaurant, Yen Ching, is not what I would consider a true Chop Suey restaurant. For one thing they they advertise themselves as Mandarin and Schezwan, not Cantonese. Also both chop suey and egg foo yung are conspicuously not on the menu.

Yes I know it may appear like I'm spitting egg rolls there, but the types of places I'm calling attention to have a very specific vintage lineage to mid-century culture (and thus a spiritual relationship to Tiki IMHO).

Here's some of the criteria I apply...

1. Did the place open prior to Nixon's visit to China ? Having a pre-WWII pedigree would be the best but these places are almost extinct.

2. Do they explicitly advertise the word "Cantonese" or "Chop Suey" ? Having "Chop Suey" in vintage neon is the bee's knees.

3. Chop suey and egg foo yung have to be the menu (chow mein is still too pretty common). Also as I stated before, to me hom yu and pressed duck are the 2 dishes that really differentiate a true Chop Suey joint from a generic "Chinese food for White people" place.

4. Also this last point is really a personal observation of mine. The quality of Chop Suey cuisine seems to be proportional to the percentage of Mexican American patrons, at least in LA. I'm not sure why that is, I think they have the right palates for the good stuff. Case in point, not too long ago I was at Canton City in Montebello. Although they opened a little late for the genre (1972?) they have a solid Cantonese menu and a pretty good pressed duck, albeit a little salty (FYI, you have to ask for the brown gravy otherwise you get it with sweet & sour). Anyway on that Saturday night the place was packed with Latino customers eating in and picking up huge orders of carry out. I was impressed.


 
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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2013-03-24 09:20 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-03-23 21:28, Atomic Tiki Punk wrote:
I wonder how many of you had this growing up "Omelet & Rice" it is basically
"Fried Rice with an Omelet on top" and originated in post war Japan

My dad was in the Marines and stationed in Japan in the 1950s
where he acquired a taste for it for breakfast, it is Japanese style fried rice
topped with an egg omelet, top it off with a little ketchup & soy sauce.

This was in a few 1950s cooking books & old magazines,it was popular with service men who
had spent time in Japan, but on returning to the USA anyone wanting this dish
had to use "Chinese fried rice" to make it (which is very similar to the Japanese version)
Some Chinese Restaurants in the 50s & 60s used to have it on their menus.

We still eat it today.




I eat it like that too. But we call it Hawaiian-filipino style.


 
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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2013-03-24 09:24 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-03-24 08:49, JOHN-O wrote:
Actually just as a point of clarification, the ex-Tiki golf course that's now a Chinese restaurant, Yen Ching, is not what I would consider a true Chop Suey restaurant. For one thing they they advertise themselves as Mandarin and Schezwan, not Cantonese. Also both chop suey and egg foo yung are conspicuously not on the menu.

Yes I know it may appear like I'm spitting egg rolls there, but the types of places I'm calling attention to have a very specific vintage lineage to mid-century culture (and thus a spiritual relationship to Tiki IMHO).

Here's some of the criteria I apply...

1. Did the place open prior to Nixon's visit to China ? Having a pre-WWII pedigree would be the best but these places are almost extinct.

2. Do they explicitly advertise the word "Cantonese" or "Chop Suey" ? Having "Chop Suey" in vintage neon is the bee's knees.

3. Chop suey and egg foo yung have to be the menu (chow mein is still too pretty common). Also as I stated before, to me hom yu and pressed duck are the 2 dishes that really differentiate a true Chop Suey joint from a generic "Chinese food for White people" place.

4. Also this last point is really a personal observation of mine. The quality of Chop Suey cuisine seems to be proportional to the percentage of Mexican American patrons, at least in LA. I'm not sure why that is, I think they have the right palates for the good stuff. Case in point, not too long ago I was at Canton City in Montebello. Although they opened a little late for the genre (1972?) they have a solid Cantonese menu and a pretty good pressed duck, albeit a little salty (FYI, you have to ask for the brown gravy otherwise you get it with sweet & sour). Anyway on that Saturday night the place was packed with Latino customers eating in and picking up huge orders of carry out. I was impressed.





You are probably right, John. Yen Ching is not exactly a chop suey, but is more as you describe: "Chinese food for white people".

I do think the reason you find a lot of mexicans eating at these places might be because of where they are located? An interesting side note: My favorite restaurant is actually a korean tofu joint on garden grove blvd. The owners and staff hardly speak english. It is as authentic as you can get, but every time I am in there I see mexicans eating, sometimes in large groups. I have no idea how they communicate what they want to eat...but that stuff is very spicy, so maybe that's the appeal.
_________________
http://soundcloud.com/lucas-vigor/sets/set-3/

I AM A SOCIOPATH!


 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2684
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2013-05-04 08:11 am   Permalink

We need a theme song here on Chop Suey Central. And here it is !!

"Flower Drum Song" is to Chop Suey culture, what "South Pacific" is to Poly Pop culture.

And since Tiki Oasis is going Hulabilly this year. Here's some Rock n' Egg Roll... Oriental Rock by Bill Haley.

A surfy version by the Quarter Notes, who also did a related song, Suki Yaki Rocki.

And expanding on the theme, here's the 5.6.7.8's with their modern take.

Is the term "Oriental" really that politically incorrect? I kinda consider it "Tiki".


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forgotten tikiman
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 18, 2011
Posts: 476
From: Forgotten Tiki Room. Pismo Beach, CA
Posted: 2013-05-04 10:42 am   Permalink

Great videos and songs John-O.

 
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