I’m always writing about how it’s impossible to find good Chinese food in Los Angeles. Sure, there’s the San Gabriel Valley, but around my area, there’s very few places that are decent – forget about authentic – I mean “yummy” in a very general sense. I forgot about Mandarette Chinese Cafe.
When we first moved to Los Angeles, I used to eat and order out from this place all the time. It’s a celebrity favorite, located near the Beverly Center.
I met up with their PR rep for lunch yesterday. We both started off with soups.
I ordered the “Lion’s Head” – usually it comes as one giant meatball, but these were cut up. A very different texture/flavor – I was hoping this would bring me back to childhood but it didn’t. Only had a few sips…
…plus a taste of the Hot and Sour
I spoke to the waitress in my broken Mandarin.
“Level with me,” I said (I think). “What would you order for a Chinese person? Not an American.”
She guided me towards the Pan Fried String Beans…
…these did not disappoint. Cooked through but still crunchy, with a wonderful garlic flavor – reminded me of my mom’s version. I began nibbling right away.
A standard order I used to always get here – Salt and Pepper Tofu
Fried crispy on the outside, soft and pillow-y on the inside. These were as good as I remember them being.
Another popular dish at Mandarette is their Strawberry Shrimp – there’s a trend in the last decade or so to deep-fry seafood with mayonnaise and sugar. It hope it sticks around; it works.
Brown rice to soak it all up
I filled up on two plates –
Mandarette is one of those rare places where you will be happy if you want very good “Americanized” Chinese food – and if you want something “authentic,” make sure you ask. (FYI Their English is a lot better than my Mandarin.)
The myth that Chinese food makes you hungry an after hour eating it definitely doesn’t hold true for me – I didn’t feel ready to eat again until 9pm.
What’s your go-to Chinese food delivery order? Mine used to be Chicken and Broccoli, but I haven’t had it in years!