East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food?

Author
johnnyblanco
Junior Burger
  • Total Posts : 22
  • Joined: 2008/03/20 13:37:00
  • Location: west sacramento, CA
  • Status: offline
2008/03/23 12:00:25 (permalink)

East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food?

Okay, seeing as I have lived in East Brunswick, NJ and Staten Island NY as well as Las Vegas, NV, Fullerton, CA, Union City, CA and now West Sacramento CA has anyone that has lived on both coasts or visited see that the chinese food on both coasts.. are different?

Examples:

- There is no Lo Mein on the West Coast, it's called Chow Mein here if you were to order Chow Mein on the east coast you wouldn't get a noodle dish.. you'd get a gloppy heavy sauce dish with meat and veggies. It's not bad.. but it's not the same thing.

- Duck Sauce. Does not exist in 9/10ths of the chinese places I have been to out here. Only place I find duck sauce packets is a hawaiian bbq place.. go fig eh?

- When you go to a sit down chinese resteraunt on the east coast.. there are three things that are either on the table or get put on the table when you get seated. Duck Sauce, Chinese Hot mustard and noodles. West Coast? Not a thing gets put on the table..

- This just came to me just now reading over the Pu Pu platter discussion. No shrimp toast!

Is there a reason as to WHY this is? Or am I just crazy? ;)
#1

21 Replies Related Threads

    uncledaveyo
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 599
    • Joined: 2006/07/03 13:14:00
    • Location: Northern California
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/23 12:11:49 (permalink)
    Once again, its because you live in West Sacramento. Its devoid of any culture. There are plenty of Chinese restaurants in the Bay Area and Los Angeles who have duck sauce and hot mustard. The "mein" in Chow Mein means noodles, so I can't explain why the version you are used to has no noodles. The "gloppy, heavy" aspect does sound delicious though.

    You aren't crazy - you just need to get out of that wasteland once in ahwile. Check out Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco. You might even find some Drakes and a red Nestle bar.
    #2
    Ciaoman
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 375
    • Joined: 2006/05/02 13:16:00
    • Location: Killingworth, CT
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/23 12:17:37 (permalink)
    You've raised some good questions. I also am an Easterner (CT, NY, NJ) but have traveled pretty extensively out West. Inasmuch as I love Asian food (among others), I've also eaten a lot of it out West and have also noted some of the differences you mention. Why different? Frankly, I'm not sure but I suspect it may have to do with where the Chinese immigrants came from, i.e., which province in China. That can certainly dictate the cooking as it does in France, Italy, etc. Also, customers have a great influence on what is cooked...if Americans demand duck sauce, so be it...they serve it. Perhaps the customers out West aren't duck sauce fans. I noted in a NJ place that caucasians received the usual fried noodles and sweet sauce as a gratis appetizer which the Asians received fantastic pickled cabbage and seaweed salad. All I had to do was ask.

    The Chinese food in San Fran's Chinatown does differ from NYC's Chinatown but, IMO, both are excellent provided you pick your restaurant carefully.
    #3
    uncledaveyo
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 599
    • Joined: 2006/07/03 13:14:00
    • Location: Northern California
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/23 12:34:23 (permalink)
    Interesting theory, Ciaoman. I also think that as much as the provincial theory, it also has to do with adapting recipes from home to American tastes regionally as well as the ingrediants available. I will say hot mustard at the table is pretty common here in California. West Sacramento is culturally a million miles from anything; I think that is even more so the culprit in Johnny's unfortunate culture shock.
    #4
    1bbqboy
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 4636
    • Joined: 2000/11/20 16:52:00
    • Location: Rogue Valley
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/23 12:42:47 (permalink)
    A roadfooder will find the food. There are plenty of Asians all over California and the West Coast. (you know, the 2 other states besides the big bully down there).
    Here's one of the very best, a restaurant, store and bar in tiny Dunsmuir Ca.:
    http://www.sengthongs.com/?page_id=25
    #5
    Baah Ben
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3026
    • Joined: 2001/11/30 21:45:00
    • Location: Ormond Beach, FL
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/23 15:28:08 (permalink)
    Johnny Blanco! A man after my own heart! A legitimate (Old time - NY/NJ Surburban Cantonese style)Chinese food lover! First sign that a Chinese restaurant is going to be good...the table noodles and the duck sauce. The best places are not lazy! They fry won ton skins into the most wonderful table noodles. You sit down to a bowl of 3/4" wide wonderful greasy noodles ..Brooklyn's Chinese restaurants use to be famous for these. Richard Yee's, The San Pan, etc.

    Then comes the duck sauce. It has to be doctored up! They all buy the duck sauce in 5 gallon tubs (we brought it for our restaurant for our Chinese Roast Pork on Garlic Hoagies). The good places add applesauce, fresh garlic and some even add pimento to the basic stuff to make it really taste great.

    So, before you have even looked at the menu, you've downed the first bowl of these noodles and gone through the duck sauce. "Waiter? Can we please have more noodles and a bowl of the duck sauce?" He usually bitches silently, but returns with the goods. They have the most incredible, friendly personalities don't they? But, they sure as hell can cook and that's all that matters to me!

    Then the next true test for any great "Old School Cantonese" Chinese restaurant is the Won Ton Soup. Are they lazy or do they do the right thing? The right thing is some actual pork filling within the won tons, lots of greens, legitimate pieces of roast pork and a really good broth. Put some scallions on top and we're good to go. Me, I like mine mixed with egg drop soup.

    Then comes a great egg roll ( with pork and shrimp in it), great shrimp with lobster sauce (No peas and carrots) the standard to judge any Cantonese palce by IMHO, great ribs, roast pork ends, legitimate fried rice with big pieces of roast pork..NO PEAS AND CARROTS!

    I've had Chinese plenty of times in San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver. It's all been very good..No, never seen table noodles either. When you stick to the seafood dishes like dungeness crab with black bean sauce or salt and pepper crab on the Left Coast, it's good. Hey, why do anything else when you live on the East Coast. We never see dungeness crab...

    I do like NYC's Chinatown better than SF's because I have not found anything quite as good as NY Noodletown or Big Wong's in SF. you never see noodles or duck sauce in Chinatown unless you ask and it's lousy duck sauce.

    I wanted to clarify my post..It really is addressing the 1960's Chinese food I grew up with. It is not Chinatown Chinese. It's still around, but harder to find.

    SF is really pretty good. And, if you live in Florida, either coast is REAL GOOD!

    #6
    leethebard
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 6323
    • Joined: 2007/08/16 17:35:00
    • Location: brick, NJ
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/23 16:09:41 (permalink)
    I've eaten in both San Francisco's and New York's China towns several times. True,not much different....but,and I don't know why, New York's china town just seemed to have a more diversified menu...I guess I'm voting for New York!
    #7
    Slim Strummer
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 233
    • Joined: 2006/03/23 12:35:00
    • Location: Lexington, MA
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/23 16:17:54 (permalink)
    I've lived on both coasts. Dumplings are called "Peking Ravioli" in the Boston area, and "Potstickers" in SF Chinatown.

    So, that would be my 2 cents.
    #8
    johnnyblanco
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 22
    • Joined: 2008/03/20 13:37:00
    • Location: west sacramento, CA
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/23 19:24:59 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Baah Ben

    Johnny Blanco! A man after my own heart! A legitimate (Old time - NY/NJ Surburban Cantonese style)Chinese food lover! First sign that a Chinese restaurant is going to be good...the table noodles and the duck sauce. The best places are not lazy! They fry won ton skins into the most wonderful table noodles. You sit down to a bowl of 3/4" wide wonderful greasy noodles ..Brooklyn's Chinese restaurants use to be famous for these. Richard Yee's, The San Pan, etc.

    Then comes the duck sauce. It has to be doctored up! They all buy the duck sauce in 5 gallon tubs (we brought it for our restaurant for our Chinese Roast Pork on Garlic Hoagies). The good places add applesauce, fresh garlic and some even add pimento to the basic stuff to make it really taste great.

    So, before you have even looked at the menu, you've downed the first bowl of these noodles and gone through the duck sauce. "Waiter? Can we please have more noodles and a bowl of the duck sauce?" He usually bitches silently, but returns with the goods. They have the most incredible, friendly personalities don't they? But, they sure as hell can cook and that's all that matters to me!

    Then the next true test for any great "Old School Cantonese" Chinese restaurant is the Won Ton Soup. Are they lazy or do they do the right thing? The right thing is some actual pork filling within the won tons, lots of greens, legitimate pieces of roast pork and a really good broth. Put some scallions on top and we're good to go. Me, I like mine mixed with egg drop soup.

    Then comes a great egg roll ( with pork and shrimp in it), great shrimp with lobster sauce (No peas and carrots) the standard to judge any Cantonese palce by IMHO, great ribs, roast pork ends, legitimate fried rice with big pieces of roast pork..NO PEAS AND CARROTS!

    I've had Chinese plenty of times in San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver. It's all been very good..No, never seen table noodles either. When you stick to the seafood dishes like dungeness crab with black bean sauce or salt and pepper crab on the Left Coast, it's good. Hey, why do anything else when you live on the East Coast. We never see dungeness crab...

    I do like NYC's Chinatown better than SF's because I have not found anything quite as good as NY Noodletown or Big Wong's in SF. you never see noodles or duck sauce in Chinatown unless you ask and it's lousy duck sauce.

    I wanted to clarify my post..It really is addressing the 1960's Chinese food I grew up with. It is not Chinatown Chinese. It's still around, but harder to find.

    SF is really pretty good. And, if you live in Florida, either coast is REAL GOOD!




    Oh I will say this.. I can get noodles thank god .. and I can get duck sauce and the whole trimmings.. just when I want to go to a chinese place I wish these things were on the table s'all and they're not out here.. but when I go to any resteraunt on the east coast.. bam.. they're there without me even asking. ;)

    Also will say this.. if you're in SF next time around ask for a place called Sam Wo's it's on Washington Street and it's this tiny hole in the wall place you have to walk thru a kitchen to get to the dining area upstairs (which is also sparse). But I will say this...

    The food is CHEAP and it's REALLY good. ;)

    Johnny
    #9
    NYNM
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3053
    • Joined: 2005/06/16 23:00:00
    • Location: New York, NY/Santa Fe, NM
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/23 19:44:03 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by johnnyblanco



    - When you go to a sit down chinese resteraunt on the east coast.. there are three things that are either on the table or get put on the table when you get seated. Duck Sauce, Chinese Hot mustard and noodles. West Coast? Not a thing gets put on the table..

    -



    Well, here the East Coast goes the way of the West Coast. I haven't gotten anything (noodles, sauces) on my table with a meal in a long time...
    #10
    Baah Ben
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3026
    • Joined: 2001/11/30 21:45:00
    • Location: Ormond Beach, FL
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/23 20:30:28 (permalink)
    NYNM - Never saw noodles in NYC Chinatown either. But in most places in NJ, the Bronx, Brooklyn, etc. they always had them. Today, I have no idea. Here in Florida, we get both at most palces. One of the places has very, very good table noodles and duck sauce. The other has just decent duck sauce and lousy table noodles.
    #11
    Jennifer_4
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1511
    • Joined: 2000/09/19 04:01:00
    • Location: Fresno, CA
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/23 20:38:55 (permalink)
    Well here in Fresno we have plenty of lo mein and hot mustard ..as well as chow mein.. and in my experience.. the lo mein differs from chow mein in that the chow version is bean sprout heavy whereas the lo focuses more on the meat and veggies.. and the usual thing on the tables is soy, chili oil and vinegar.
    #12
    wanderingjew
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 7923
    • Joined: 2001/01/18 18:49:00
    • Location: East Greenwich/ Warwick, RI
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/23 21:12:53 (permalink)
    I noticed the same thing that johnnyblanco did when I lived in Seattle which does have a significant Chinese population, hoewever if I recall its primarily Cantonese. I remember that instead of duck sauce most places had "sweet and sour sauce" and of course dumplings were called potstickers. I recall one Chinese restaurant I went to near my office in Bothell, began to offer noodles probably around a year or so before I left in 1996.
    #13
    uncledaveyo
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 599
    • Joined: 2006/07/03 13:14:00
    • Location: Northern California
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/23 21:28:10 (permalink)
    Oakland's Chinatown kicks SF's butt. That being said; I really do think this is like any other discussion on these boards. Everyone has their own tastes, and its dictated in large part by what we are used to. For the record I think NYCs Chinatown is awesome also. I think my main point was that West Sacramento shouldn't be ones litmus test for cuisine in the Golden State - its pretty much "the sticks," and California is a pretty huge diverse place. The Silicon Valley is a pretty amazing place to find Asian food also.

    As for Sam Wo - its a great place to end up if your drunk, but if that's "really good" Chinese food, then this dialog is superflous. Sam Wo is fun and cheap, but pretty awful.
    #14
    BBq King
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 123
    • Joined: 2004/05/30 12:41:00
    • Location: Phoenix, OR
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/23 21:56:33 (permalink)
    Whether you are partial to NYC or The City for Chinese food, or any place in between, please remember a couple of things.
    Eating Cantonese style is akin to eating at Taco Bell and thinking you are eating true Mexican food. (Please no discussion about how T-Bell is FF etc.I understand that.)
    The Chinese food eaten in America, no matter where it is served, has no relationship to Chinese food in China except for cookin styles.
    #15
    uncledaveyo
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 599
    • Joined: 2006/07/03 13:14:00
    • Location: Northern California
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/23 22:10:11 (permalink)
    well said, King Of Cue.
    #16
    NYNM
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3053
    • Joined: 2005/06/16 23:00:00
    • Location: New York, NY/Santa Fe, NM
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/23 22:26:24 (permalink)
    I once saw a (popular) Chinese restaurant in Heidelberg, Germany...pass it by...

    We also have a few Chinese restaurants in Santa Fe. Except maybe for the chile (chili) I wouldn't think of it...Ole!
    #17
    1bbqboy
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 4636
    • Joined: 2000/11/20 16:52:00
    • Location: Rogue Valley
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/24 09:27:29 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by NYNM

    I once saw a (popular) Chinese restaurant in Heidelberg, Germany...pass it by...

    We also have a few Chinese restaurants in Santa Fe. Except maybe for the chile (chili) I wouldn't think of it...Ole!

    Why? Are Asians only Asians in SF, LA, and NY?
    #18
    wanderingjew
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 7923
    • Joined: 2001/01/18 18:49:00
    • Location: East Greenwich/ Warwick, RI
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/24 11:06:10 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by bill voss

    quote:
    Originally posted by NYNM

    I once saw a (popular) Chinese restaurant in Heidelberg, Germany...pass it by...

    We also have a few Chinese restaurants in Santa Fe. Except maybe for the chile (chili) I wouldn't think of it...Ole!

    Why? Are Asians only Asians in SF, LA, and NY?


    No, they're in Seattle too.

    BTW, I can tell you my ONE Chinese restaurant encounter in Albuquerque back in 1987 was BAD BAD BAD!
    #19
    johnnyblanco
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 22
    • Joined: 2008/03/20 13:37:00
    • Location: west sacramento, CA
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/24 11:06:21 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by uncledaveyo

    Oakland's Chinatown kicks SF's butt. That being said; I really do think this is like any other discussion on these boards. Everyone has their own tastes, and its dictated in large part by what we are used to. For the record I think NYCs Chinatown is awesome also. I think my main point was that West Sacramento shouldn't be ones litmus test for cuisine in the Golden State - its pretty much "the sticks," and California is a pretty huge diverse place. The Silicon Valley is a pretty amazing place to find Asian food also.

    As for Sam Wo - its a great place to end up if your drunk, but if that's "really good" Chinese food, then this dialog is superflous. Sam Wo is fun and cheap, but pretty awful.


    Really? I eat there alot and the food has never disappointed. I also used to eat in a place in Oakland chinatown.. forgot the name of it.. I think it had swan in the title. That was also very good.
    #20
    zataar
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1440
    • Joined: 2004/04/05 15:08:00
    • Location: kansas city, MO
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/24 11:09:08 (permalink)

    Why? Are Asians only Asians in SF, LA, and NY?



    Some on the best Chinese restaurants are in Iran and Central Asia! Persians I know love to talk about the differences of the Chinese restaurants in Iran to those here in the US. No comparison, they say.
    Many Chinese live outside of China. One of the best Chinese restaurants in Europe is in Prague. I read a terrific article several years ago in Saveur about the Golden Lion in Prague. I'd go there in a minute if I could.
    #21
    Slim Strummer
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 233
    • Joined: 2006/03/23 12:35:00
    • Location: Lexington, MA
    • Status: offline
    RE: East Coast Vs West Coast Chinese food? 2008/03/24 11:13:28 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by zataar


    Why? Are Asians only Asians in SF, LA, and NY?



    Some on the best Chinese restaurants are in Iran and Central Asia! Persians I know love to talk about the differences of the Chinese restaurants in Iran to those here in the US. No comparison, they say.
    Many Chinese live outside of China. One of the best Chinese restaurants in Europe is in Prague. I read a terrific article several years ago in Saveur about the Golden Lion in Prague. I'd go there in a minute if I could.


    To that end, I had Chinese food in London once and it was great. We asked for stuff off of the menu and the cooks were thrilled to do it. My sense was that they have to tone down their food alot for the English palate.
    #22
    Jump to:
    © 2014 APG vNext Commercial Version 5.1