Re:Best Chinese I've ever had at China Pavillion in Seattle, WA
It not only looks standardized, it looks oily.
That's not to say oil has no place in Chinese food. Shanghai-style cuisine is supposed to be oily, of course. But this kind of pseudo-Cantonese food always leaves me feeling slightly ill.
As I've said before on other threads, I still love old-fashioned "Chinese-American" food. I just ate at two purveryors of this in the Indianapolis area last week: Lotus Garden in Greenwood, and Hong Kong Inn at 38th and Franklin in Indianapolis. These places have been around for many years, are still family-owned, still have a page or two of tropical tiki-style drinks in their menus, and offer what I'd consider to be the "classics" of this kind of restaurant, including chow meins (both regular and Cantonese-style), chop suey, egg foo young, egg rolls, rumaki, etc. They also have the standards like Hung Yin Gai Ding (chicken almong ding), Moo Goo Gai Pan, butterfly shrimp, etc. Some of these dishes are adaptations of genuine Cantonese food, and some are purely American inventions. But in both restaurants, the quality is very high and the service is good (even though Hong Kong Inn is in a strip mall, it's a sit-down restaurant).
I am not ashamed to say that I love them.
I've been to mainland China and Hong Kong, and I agree that authentic Chinese regional cuisines are wonderful culinary experiences. They are hard to find in the United States and Canada, but can sometimes be located in "Chinatowns" in the major cities, and are well worth searching out.
Mall, food court, and buffet "Chinese" restaurants, where you shovel the food into a plastic box? No thanks! I won't waste my time.