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One Man Says L.A. Has Best Chinese Restaurants in America

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(Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist)
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David R. Chan knows Chinese cuisine. The man has dined in over 6,000 restaurants that focus on the country's cooking, and the list that he published says when it comes to the United States, L.A. has the best. In a move that'll likely have the East Coast elite up in arms, not a single New York establishment made the list. Why?

"New York has relatively little Hong Kong influence, and I like to describe its Chinese food as being mired in the 1990s. Part of the issue is that while New York City does have a continuing influx of Chinese immigrants, their influx is more of the working class ilk, and heavily weighted towards Fujian province, not a culinary mecca. In contrast, more wealthy/professional Chinese settle in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, and they demand, and can afford, a higher quality of Chinese food," says Chan in his piece for the Asia Society.

Chan believes it's the cities with the strongest Hong Kong influence that afford the best food. That said, if the competition were opened up to North America, Vancouver would probably dominate.

But this list was limited to the continental U.S., with seven of his top 10 ten in L.A.: 101 Noodle House (Arcadia), Din Tai Fung (Arcadia), Sea Harbour (Rosemead), Elite Restaurant (Monterey Park), Lunasia (Alhambra), Seafood Village (Monterey Park), and King Hua (Alhambra). Note that none of these are in Chinatown, and that they're all in the 626. The remaining top three are in San Francisco. (Sounds like a victory the Fung Brothers could flow on, eh?)

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Chan is an interesting, compulsive character to be sure. He follows Chowhound and the Chinese Yellow Pages in order to keep up with openings. An profile in the Weekly noted that, "he doesn't use chopsticks and doesn't speak Chinese. He has been to Asia just five times. He's a third-generation American (his paternal Toishanese grandfather immigrated to the United States in 1900). He's been on a low-carb and low-sugar diet. And he's never once lived in the San Gabriel Valley."

Yet at the time of that interview, there were only two restaurants he could note that he hadn't yet tried. So, do you think there are any that he missed on his hit list?