Feng Mao in LA, Still Our Favorite Chinese Restaurant in America

We are in Los Angeles for Memorial Day weekend to eat Chinese and Korean food.

Now in our Seattle base the flight is shorter though the need more urgent than NY. Seattle Chinese and Korean dining punches way below what a population that supports 3 daily flights to Seoul and 2 to Shanghai should suggest.

Every LA trip our meal in and out of LAX is at Feng Mao 2 in Koreatown. We then continue to a base in San Grabriel, Buena Park or similar with large dining clusters. If only Koreatown would open a solid value hotel option like a Holiday Inn Express, we would stay right there.

Feng Mao 2 Kebabs

Feng Mao aka Lamb Kebab has locations on Olympic and on Western. We like the one on Western, known as Feng Mao 2, for its ambiance and location near the Korean shopping supermarkets.

The menu is the food of the ethnic Korean population of Northeast China’s Jilin province. They bring in touches of cumin from China’s Northwest, though it is not Uyghur food, another regional Chinese cuisine in short supply in the US. Chinese food traditionalists will scoff at elevating a regional ethnic cuisine over any of the ‘eight great cuisines.’

Besides us loving the food, that rarity of it outside China makes it all the more special to us. You can reliably find the food of Fujian, Guangdong, Hunan and Sichuan are restaurants in major US urban centers.

Glimpses of Jiangsu and Zhejiang can be had with luck. Shanghai Restaurant in San Gabriel and Shanghai Delight in Silicon Valley have some of the key dishes.

These awesome roast meats are elusive, cumin lamb on the right, fried spicy squid on the left:

Feng Mao 2 Roasts

Start with roasting your own kebabs and add in cumin or spicy roasted meat platters. Balance with a dish like chives with tofu skin or a stew. Add in a potato pancake or dumplings.

Enjoy!

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  • Norman Cabanilla

    There is a hoiday inn express in the west lake part of LA, which isn’t far from koreatown. You can walk to the Red line station in DTLA and take the train into koreatown

  • Boris Minevich

    Stefan, any recommendation for NYC? Thanks

  • Konaflyer

    How about a recommendation for Vancouver, Canada? We will be going there in two weeks and have awful Chinese food in our home town. We’d much appreciate your insight.

  • You’ll not find anything like this in Manhattan, and I was never willing to hike out to Flushing. For Cantonese in Manhattan we like Congee Bowery and XO Kitchen to start.

  • Thank you, we will take a lot at that next time around.

  • We have only been to Vancouver once and don’t have any to vouch for ourselves. In my post on Shanghainese restaurants, which is totally different food, two readers mentioned the following in Vancouver: Long’s Noodle House, Peaceful, Top Shanghai (Richmond), and River.

    A Vancouver-based friend of Hong Kong origin sent the following picks:

    Chinese:

    -Dinesty dumpling house (for xiao long bao)
    -Peaceful chinese restaurant (northern chinese)
    -Green Lettuce (chinese / east indian fusion)
    –Koon Bo
    Kirin (a bit pricey but good)
    -Sun Siu Wah (also a bit pricey but good)

    Vancouver is known for their Japanese food as well:
    -Hokkaido Ramen Santouka
    -Ramen Jinya
    -Guu (multiple locations downtown, all are good)
    -Zakushi (yakitori style bbq)
    -Kingyo

  • Konaflyer

    Thanks so much, Stefan. We’ll try your friend’s recommendations!

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  • Mike

    The xiao long bao at Nan Xiang in Flushing are worth the trip out there.

  • XingLong

    Your blog reminds me of the “Road and Belt” propaganda, everything seems so wonderful in China. It is not!

  • Not sure how writing about a Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles achieves that. Just the day before I was criticized as the opposite for including a piece on Yang Shuping’s University of Maryland speech.