The first Kee Wah Bakery appeared in Hong Kong in 1938, where its moon cakes, bridal cakes, and other pastries gradually generated a loyal clientele. In 1985, when much of that clientele had migrated to the United States, Kee Wah set down new roots in LA to offer its signature floury goods to Californians. Patrons pick from egg tarts, crispy squares, and pineapple crust buns using a self-serve bakery system, which is refilled with fresh breads baked three times a day. During the autumn, when the Chinese Lunar Festival is in full swing, the bakery churns out moon cakes filled with lotus seed and red-bean paste. The shop's three locations in the San Gabriel Valley—Monterey Park, San Gabriel, and Rowland Heights—help meet the demand for Chinese wedding cakes and almond cookies throughout the valley.
The chefs at R2 Restaurant cook up a menu of East-meets-West fusion fare paired with hot and cold specialty drinks. Dining duos can assuage hunger pangs or attempt to teach other the true meaning of Christmas by sharing starters such as the paper-wrapped chicken or fried tofu. West-leaning appetites are sated with entrees including a seafood alfredo pasta or hot panini, while Eastbound palates can opt for pork fried rice or a curry rice dish. The customizable meals let diners express themselves via choices of rice or pasta, buttered corn or mixed vegetables, a trio of three savory meats, and drizzlings of black pepper, mushroom, or garlic sauce. A generous 24-ounce glass of 1 of 14 different types of iced tea pairs the intricately spiced entrees with exotic flavors such as lychee and plum, and the green boba milk tea lets diners take swift midmeal sips of dairy-infused liquid without toting along their own zip-locked bags of nacho cheese.
From Chick 'N Chow's tables, which flaunt the rosy crimson hue of a bowl of sweet-and-sour sauce, soups launch warm steam alongside kosher and vegetarian dishes. Entire rotisserie chickens emerge from trips to a fryer with a golden cloak and satisfying crunch, and the menu also cheers dieters with low-calorie steamed dishes topped with broccoli that spells out encouraging affirmations. Beneath a fan painted with a traditional landscape, diners gather to-go containers, and delivery drivers tote bags laden with lo mein and memos from telecommuting fortune cookies.
Le Chine Wok sizzles up an MSG-free spread crowded with spicy Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes. Fresh and natural ingredients pepper the menu, turning taste bud against taste bud in intense palatal debates between sea-centric plates such as the candied walnut shrimp or spicy soft-shell crab with serrano peppers ($15.95 each). Dishes, such as the basil eggplant chicken ($12.95), send sweet aromas drifting through the dining room, and the boneless smoked duck is prepared over burning tea green-tea leaves to absorb complex flavors and fortune-telling abilities ($16.95).
Liliya China Bistro's comestibles curators craft authentic Mandarin and Korean-Chinese cuisines using fresh ingredients for dinner and lunch. Four vegetable egg rolls make for flavorful starters or hair curlers, paving the way for heartier eats, such as mongolian beef ($12+) or spicy shredded pork soused in hot garlic sauce ($12+). Otherwise, diners can select from the large stock of seafood spreads, noodle dishes, or vegetable-based entrees, which include a spicy mabo bean curd ($12+) and bok choy mushroom ($12+). During afternoons, guests can peruse the cast of savory midday eats, including bulgogi bedecked with marinated chicken ($9.50), beef ($10.50), or pork ($9.50). Or they can opt for a helping of shrimp, which comes to tables performing an aquatic dance within a sea of lobster sauce ($9.25). Each lunch entree arrives at tables equipped with a savory regime of salad, rice, and soup of the day.
With three restaurants sprinkled throughout southern California, Chi Dynasty represents the holy trinity of Chinese cuisine in Los Angeles. Its flagship location in Los Feliz is a neighborhood staple that’s been serving up generous portions of traditional Sichuan and Mandarin fare for more than 30 years. Dragon-emblazed gold medallions hang alongside the true focal point of Chi Dynasty – a textured, wall-sized mural of deep red waves set against a black backdrop. This, paired with the restaurant’s low lighting and metallic fixtures, naturally elicits a sleek, modern feel that’s ideal for date night. However, it’s Chi Dynasty’s knockout menu that keeps patrons coming back for seconds. The Chinese chicken salad with black bean garlic sauce is a top seller, as are the Sichuan garlic string beans. The shrimp with candied walnuts is another signature dish that won’t disappoint.