When it comes to takeout food, there’s nothing more iconic than the Chinese to-go carton. And since Los Angeles is filled with movers and shakers, these little cardboard boxes of goodness are the perfect containers for a meal on the fly. Whether you’re running to a meeting, a photo shoot, an audition, personal errands; schlepping the kids around; or just trying to meet up with a few friends, people are constantly in motion – unless you’re on the 405 and then no one goes anywhere. Food often becomes an afterthought and Chinese takeout is the most convenient by design. From fried shrimp to orange chicken to egg foo young, just grab a fork and you’re ready to roll with little fuss or mess. The portions are usually enormous, so leftovers are a definite bonus. If you suddenly find yourself craving Chinese but don’t have time for a sit-down meal, here are five places for the best takeout.
Wah’s Golden Hen
709 N Virgil Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029
In business nearly 40 years, Wah’s Golden Hen is a neighborhood landmark on the corner of Melrose and Virgil Avenues that serves up delicious food with a little bit of quirk on the side. The dark cherry wood tables contradict the homeland tchotchkes, and the wait staff is consistently friendly. If suffering from menu indecisions, the hostess/waitress/owner will choose the house special for you…like it or not. But you’ll definitely enjoy the fried rice with chicken, pork, beef and shrimp. The house wonton soup and lo mein will also hit the spot. Regardless if you sit down or take it to go, you’ll have enough leftovers for days. This is a cash-only spot.
Green Apple China Bistro
12265 Ventura Blvd, Suite 112
Studio City, CA 91604
Another Chinese chow spot offering a lot of food for your buck is Green Apple China Bistro on Ventura Boulevard. The New York-style egg rolls are as enormous as they are delicious. The orange chicken entree is enough for two and a large soup can feed the whole family. The Har Gow is delectably crispy and the hot and sour soup is spicy and flavorful. Green Apple China Bistro is also vegetarian friendly and will accommodate with any dish. There’s free parking for two hours with validation if you choose to sit down to eat or just pop in to pick up your order.
317 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Located in Grand Central Market, LA’s oldest and largest open market, China Café serves some of the best Chinese food for under $5. Tucked along the Hill Street side of the market, you can grab your grub to people watch in the general dining area or take it home to enjoy. The Egg Foo Young is a favorite and the Wonton Soup is more of a meal than an appetizer. The line gets long around lunchtime and this vendor only accepts cash. The only downside to this place is that when the market closes, so does the café. Plan your trip to China Café wisely or else you’ll miss out.
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The New Moon
112 W 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
The New Moon in downtown L.A. may not be LA’s most authentic Chinese food, but it is super yummy. Most notable on the menu is the plum sauce served on the side of various dishes. This dressing is perfect on the chicken salad – or for anything you want to give a little extra flavor to. The Chloe’s shrimp and Shelby’s sweet and spicy beef dishes are large enough for two, but after one bite, most people are no longer willing to share. The Kung Pao has a decent kick and all noodle dishes have a choice of either Shanghai (stir fried) or Hong Kong (meat and vegetables topping crispy noodles). The New Moon serves wine if you sit down to eat but if your order is for pick up, make sure to ask for a place setting or you won’t even get napkins.
Full House Seafood Restaurant
963 N Hill St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
If you want a serious Chinese seafood experience, then head to Full House Seafood Restaurant. Salt-and-pepper squid or shrimp, honey-walnut shrimp, crabmeat chicken fried rice and many more oceanic dishes line the menu. And if your conscience can handle the pleading look of a live lobster in its final breathing moments, your server will bring it to your table for execution approval. The personalities of the servers tend to wane around midnight, but you would too if you had to work until 3 a.m. The place isn’t cheap, but where else can you get fresh seafood until the wee hours of the morning? Needless to say, this is a great late-night takeout spot.
Kristine G. Bottone is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.