Dear Mr. Gold:
My husband and I, originally from Connecticut, are fairly new to L.A., and have had a hard time finding good Chinese food. This is our first year as a married couple and we're looking for a nice restaurant in which to restart our tradition of Chinese dinner on Christmas. I'm obsessed with dumplings. My husband, although he loves Chinese food, feels more comfortable if there are some Americanized dishes on the menu — General Tso's chicken, beef and broccoli, etc. Any suggestions?
–Caylie Marchi, via Facebook
Dear Ms. Marchi:
Welcome to Los Angeles. I think you will find that General Tso's chicken is rarer in good Chinese restaurants here than live geoduck or charcoal-grilled lamb fat in the style of Xinjiang, but this is as it should be. East Coast Chinese food is a genre all its own, and you can find a pretty good facsimile at places like Chin Chin or even Genghis Cohen, where they serve potstickers and beef with broccoli alongside things like the Krispy Kanton Knish. But it is probably my duty to steer you toward a place like Mei Long Village in San Gabriel, a truly good Shanghai-style restaurant with some of the best soup dumplings in town, a range of unchallenging yet delicious dishes like jade shrimp, lion's head meatballs and the infamous pork pump, as well as enough sticky things to keep both of you happy. If you decide that your new holiday traditions need to include braised jellyfish head, Mei Long Village can help you there, too. You can start in on the dried sea cucumber another time.
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