Chinese American food

Thread Starter

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,779
A old time fav closed because the parents retired and the kids didn't want to be in the food biz. A lot of these small town places will be missed.

 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
3,532
Unfortunately, it's not just Chinese restaurants. It is all too common in non-franchised restaurants. I've known quite a few very successful mom and pop places that lasted only one or maybe two generations. The kids get educated and go off to college never to return. Sometimes they can sell the business but invariably it does not survive the transition to new owners.

EDIT: This analogy also applies to farms! Kids get educated and don't want a life of toil with little return for it. There are much better/easier ways to make a good living. I used to live in dairy country. Those poor kids had to be up to milk the cows at 5 AM and again after school at 5 PM and cows don't take holidays so that is every day of the year. Teachers cut them a lot of slack over falling asleep in class.
 
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OBW0549

Joined Mar 2, 2015
3,566
Unfortunately, it's not just Chinese restaurants. It is all too common in non-franchised restaurants. I've known quite a few very successful mom and pop places that lasted only one or maybe two generations. The kids get educated and go off to college never to return.
Sad but true. We had one really superb restaurant here in town that we often took customers to for dinner when they visited to conduct design reviews, contract negotiations, etc. but Mom and Pop decided to pack it in a year ago and retire to Florida; the kids were not interested in the restaurant biz so they shut it down, and now the place is vacant.

Sometimes they can sell the business but invariably it does not survive the transition to new owners.
I have my fingers crossed: the building is being renovated and the "word on the street" is that a new restaurant will be opening there some time this year. We'll see.
 

Thread Starter

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,779
Meantime he is busy eating it.
When I worked in Asia my wife would get her nails done at one of those classic nail salons. I didn't speak too much of the local lingo but I understood a lot more. The customer gossip was hilarious until I dropped a few words to let them know I was in on some of the jokes.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
13,303
Some Chinese American restaurants should go out of business. Any that don't have Asian cooks end up with food that doesn't taste at all like it should.

There used to be a restaurant in my area called Wu's Open Kitchen. They cooked behind a glass wall so you could see food being prepared. The first few years we went there, all of the cooks were Asian and the food was good. Then they replaced them with Hispanics. The food used the same ingredients, but didn't taste like Asian food. It wasn't too long before they went out of business because there were plenty of restaurants that served more authentic tasting food.

There are a couple Chinese American restaurants within 5 miles of me (which is something because I live in a rural area). I gave them each a couple tries and now I'll drive 15-50 miles to get better food.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
3,532
The same thing happened here. Small (what is a "fresh off the boat" starter buy-in) place that has changed hands several times with a small buffet. Does a good business for a small place in a small out of the way strip mall just off of I-95 with decent food. Last time I was there they also had a Hispanic guy cooking for them with the expected results.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
13,303
Most of the Chinese American restaurants I go to are Chinese restaurants that cater to American tastes without serving American food. Most of them still have some more authentic dishes for the Asian palate. If they know you, you can ask for things not on the menu. I asked for black mushrooms to be added to a dish at one mom and pop restaurant that I was a regular at and they did it, but I had to wait half an hour for them to soak the mushrooms.

I like Chinese buffets because the ones operated by Asians usually have some authentic food. But they usually have all of the fried food that children, and some adults, like to load up on. If I wanted french fries, I'd go to a fast food place. If I wanted pizza, I'd go to a pizza place. What's up with all of the Caucasians getting the sugar donuts at a Chinese buffet (and on their first plate)? Chicken strips, french fries, garlic bread, and donuts... Kids and grown men.

Every once in awhile, I try a french fry. They're always bad enough to make me gag...
 
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SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
3,532
Long ago I would always try to get to the Kai Kai Coffee Shop when I was in Chicago. Nasty ancient place with streaked painted walls and embossed tin ceiling tiles and HUGE antique coffee urns with the chrome rusting off them probably there since the 20s. They had the Chinese menus in ideographs on cheap butcher wrap paper hanging on the walls and for the "white devils" they would bring you the english menu. You'd see the old guys in there eating their hundred-year-old eggs and holding their bowls of rice up to their lips to shovel it in with their chopsticks. I took a girlfriend to one of the more upper-scale restaurants on the street and while paying the bill on the way out the young Chinese guy running the register asked us how was the food. I politely said it was good (it was decent) and he told us "I wouldn't eat here". We left laughing out the door. The Kai Kai was better and dirt cheap which is why all the Chinese ate there.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
13,303
Some of the best Chinese restaurants I've eaten at were "holes in the wall". One only had fewer than a dozen tables and it was constantly packed at lunch time (South SF Bay Area; Sunnyvale or Santa Clara). If I had my choice, I'd've eaten there every day. The Wife of the Owner (Margaret) said she ate one of my favorites (Mandarin Beef Stew Noodles, or over rice) every day when she was in college. Sadly, they went out of business. The name of the restaurant was Yu's Yu's for anyone from that area.

I've eaten at a dozen Chinese restaurants in Chinatown in San Francisco. Most of them are holes in the wall and serve excellent food. One restaurant across the street from Bank of America had a terrible dining environment (wind kept opening the door), but the food was excellent. That's one of the few restaurants I've eaten at that had a huge picture menu.

The best Hot and Sour Soup I've ever had was at a Chinese restaurant in Japantown (SF). My Wife and I were entertaining guests. They didn't like it, but my Wife and I had sniffles when we entered the restaurant and were cleared up when we left.

My mouth is watering now. Memories of walking around Chinatown munching on BBQ pork and baked BBQ pork buns. Watching the old Chinese men playing card games in a park-like setting on top of one of the parking garages near the Transamerica Building.
 
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jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
I lived in a small Minnesota town for many years. There was an excellent Chinese restaurant that catered an annual New Years (Chinese). It was fun.

One day, my lab received an odd specimen -- anything odd goes to the microbiology laboratory. It was a house fly that had hatched inside a patient's stomach. The first case of myiasis I had seen. Of course, we didn't advertise the source, but everyone in the lab knew where the poorly washed lettuce was consumed.

I still went to the restaurant, just not for salad.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
13,303
Of course, we didn't advertise the source, but everyone in the lab knew where the poorly washed lettuce was consumed.
That problem isn't limited to Chinese restaurants. I went to lunch at a hotel restaurant in Santa Clara with some colleagues. One lady ordered a spinach salad and there were worms in the dressing. They had the nerve to ask her if she wanted them to bring her another. She decided to have something that was cooked.

I've never been in a Vietnamese restaurant that didn't have cockroaches wandering around.

One time I was at a Mexican restaurant in Folsom, CA. One lady had a cockroach on her plate and they comped her meal. They should have comped the whole table...

One time I ordered a dozen baked pork buns from an Asian bakery. One of them had a small cockroach on the bottom. I picked it off and ate the bun.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
3,532
One of the cooks at a local very popular restaurant told my wife the first thing they did every day was to strain the roaches out of the fryer oil. And yeah I took one bite out of a burger at an upscale place and when I put the burger down on the plate a roach crawled out of it. They did comp it and asked if I wanted another to which I replied: "No I think I've lost my appetite".
 
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