Solid Local Seafood in Chinatown
960 N. Hill Street (in Chinatown)
Phone: 213-253-2660 | map
Near the top of the small stretch of Chinatown north of Cesar Chavez Blvd. is Golden City, staidly waiting between an extravagant jeweler and a Lollicup. Inside is an aquarium with plump, golden fish who gaze wide-eyed at you as if vaguely worried they are in danger of being on the menu (they're not, of course), and a huge, blue, fuzzy, unconcerned fish.
Gaunt white-shirted waiters brusquely take your order, and immediately whisk out a steaming pot of tea and a soup that is sort of an egg-drop meets cream corn, dense and lushly addictive.
The dishes are varied and will take us a while to add to our culinary experiences. The Szechuan style bean curd is tangy and familiar, sweetly sour but nothing like "sweet & sour." The sliced chicken in a spicy garlic sauce is a general, easy-to-understand winner, tenderly stir-fried with red and green peppers and onion. But, dude: Chinese Sausage Fried Sticky Rice. With shredded orange egg yolk on top. It's outstanding, with a texture almost like crisp noodles. Did we take all this home? Yes, we did.
Oooh, what else: Dry Scallop with Crab Meat and Egg White Fried Rice. That's next time. And Scallop with fresh white mushrooms. And hot braised shrimp. Even a home-style lotus root and a "French style Beef Steak." We definitely plan to exploit the "seafood" aspect of this restaurant's name.
Want to be adventurous? As much as epicurians will say that San Francisco's Chinatown beats L.A.'s Chinatown hollow, and that neither is remotely like real food in China, this is still a Chinese place, not your local Panda Express. How about a hot pot with sea cucumber and duck web (read: feet)? Shark's fin soup with abalone, sea cucumber and fish maw? Frog porridge? We're not messing around here.
(With a touristy white family behind us, safely ordering beef & broccoli and whose children wanted to know if they could get butter with their white rice, we were sorely tempted to boldly go farther down the road of Chinese cuisine just to help make up for it.)
Golden City is open 11-10 daily, with lunch specials (the soup is complimentary for the lunch); you can park in the many public pay lots that peek out from the bases of Chinatown's office buildings.
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), East Side/Downtown, Chinese, Seafood )
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