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Dining at Chinese Islamic can be an eye-opening experience, especially if most of your Chinese meals have been limited to stir-fries and lo mein. Though you can get standards like moo shoo chicken ($8.50) and beef with broccoli ($9.95) here, the real action is in the less familiar, Muslim-style Chinese cuisine. Who knew, for example, that a Chinese restaurant would serve a lamb stew so delicious? It arrives at your table in a thick clay pot, still bubbling and heaped high with cubes of red-hued meat clinging to the bone. Perfectly tender in a spicy broth, get the stew for $10.95 and add an order of sesame bread that's perfect for broth dipping and miniature sandwich making. It just may be the perfect way to eat lamb.

—Nicolas Taborek

LA Weekly