Does Anybody Know Where Mainland Chinese USC Students Get Their Chinese Food Fix?

Not writing an article, just trying to figure out something that’s driving me crazy. USC has one of the largest contingent of Mainland Chinese students in the US but I can’t find much of a trace of authentic Chinese food in the vicinity. There was Bamboo Express in University Village, but that closed when they tore the shopping center down and the owners went and opened Qin West in Chinatown and Westwood. There was the Shang’xi food truck that turned into House of Bao in Chinatown and closed down. And I still see random references to Chinese food trucks near campus, but visits today to Jefferson & McClintock, as well as Hoover St. netted just one with something Panda in its name. Also nothing of note in the shopping centers on Figueroa. Any ideas?

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There’s a Panda Express type thing on campus. Bbq pork on rice every damn day.

Just kidding - that was a decade ago, I hope they do something else by now.

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I could be dating myself, but most of them came endowed with cash and a car, so they head out to SGV…a scant few slum it in Chinatown. But I guess Uber and Lyft have made it easier to not have a car these days.

Well until about 2 years ago there was nothing convenient to UCLA also, so that was my presumption. But in the past two years a bunch of places have opened up targeting international Chinese students at UCLA (as they had in the previous 5 years so in dozens if not hundreds of college campuses nationwide), and it would be odd if USC were left out. Heck there’s a Chinese restaurant in Thousand Oaks that gets overrun at lunch time by Chinese students from a nearby language school.

Dare I say this?

Many of the mainland Chinese students, not only do not live in/around USC but they do not even go to school. (I hear the going rate for a USC diploma and a picture at graduation ceremony is about $100K for a STEM degree, less for liberal arts.)

So there’s really little to no demand for Chinese food around USC that mainlanders (whatever that may mean) will crave.

They don’t live near campus, and they don’t go to school. So they just eat at, I guess, places like Chengdu Impression? Whenever they want?

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@ipsedixit is right. During my time there, a lot of them were living downtown at the Medici (et al) and the high rises. If you can afford those digs, you can afford to trek elsewhere for food.

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Well there are thousands of them, and even if a lot of them live in the SGV or downtown luxury apartments, there should be enough of them during the day to create a demand for Chinese food. And as crime statistics unfortunately showed, there are some who do live near campus.

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They eat in Arcadia.


Even the less wealthy ones end up buying a car to share amongst the 4-8 crammed into a tiny suite at the Lorenzo and just go to SGV for their home-style fix.

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You misunderstand.

If you are talking mainlanders, then most of them (1) do not live near campus or (2) do not ever go to class or (3) both.

So, if you aren’t around USC (because you don’t live around the school or because you just don’t go to class, ever), then what’s the point of opening up a restaurant for mainland Chinese, ahem, students?

Did you get out and inspect the trucks? There are trucks along Jefferson across from the international student housing. Some of them have old singage so if you just drive past you might think it was an old taco truck or fancy puffy taco or something like that. Usually there are four and each one carries a WIDE array of different chinese items. Some trucks have specials as well. So you can get your intestines. Your beef noodle soups. Your Popcorn Chicken. Everything comes in Combo, so Rice, Veg, Soup. So it’s a LOT of food. But It’s all middling quality. Not terrible, but not anything that prevents us from taking trips to SGV. But for the price (all the trucks seem to take cards) and the convenience, it’s not been a bad choice for us…


I live near USC and am frequently on Campus. I see and hear a LOT of Chinese. They are there, attending classes and eating Lemonade and using the Sprinkles ATM. They don’t tend to wander far from the campus though.

The ABC/Ks though, I see them in my neighborhood! They live in University Park and get out to Natures Brew, Bacaro, up until recently Rewts/Hashtag. I see them all the time on the train, at the DTLA target. They are more apt to live downtown IME.

It will be interesting to see what the the new village brings tho’ Restuarants are usually last to sign on leases, but hopefully someone gets smart because there is also a strong ‘campus tour’ set.



Yeah. They get a special USC rate. The Ubering around campus is RIDICULOUS! Always cars stopped on Fig simultaneously picking people up/dropping off at the Chipotle. I almost always get hit from one zooming around the parking lot at the Ralphs on Vermont. This is why I take the train to Whole Foods or drive to Urban Radish. I always leave the Ralphs on edge.


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Those are generally not mainlanders.

One of the best quickie Chinese food places in the city! But their selection was more akin to Panda Express. But also keep in mind these are STUDENTS. Students anywhere, food is mostly about comfort and fuel. Socializing to a certain degree now. Although I rarely see them gaggle like the ABCs. Most of the time the customers of the trucks come in and then scuttle back to the student housing. We are usually the one talking to the trucks. Also, the trucks leave at around 7p.

Perhaps, but they definitely are not the ABC/Ks that I interact with on campus either. There are distinct factions, like most schools, but things at USC are a bit more magnified.


100% this, “the Chinese Beverly Hills”. Look at Santa Anita mall nowadays it caters to the mainlanders.

Chinese people are some of the most intra-racial racists.



according to:

there are 4653 chinese foreign students in terms of country of origin. they further distinguish 363 taiwanese foreign students; from which i infer that the 4653 are all… mainlanders?

i leave it to others to break down the demographics into greater detail and identify the percentage of HCC kids with $eriou$ moolah.