One Of The Older Chinese Restaurants in Chinatown is Gone

Chiu Heng on Alpine St. in Chinatown, which opened around 1985, is gone. It was surprisingly anonymous probably due to its location on Alpine St. Indeed, despite being open for over 30 years, it has zero Yelp reviews. Their Chiu Chow menu was emblematic of Los Angeles Chinatown of the 1980s, and its passing is commentary on changes in Chinatown as well as the contraction of Chiu Chow food options in the US.

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That’s pretty amazing. What would you say are signature Chiu Chow dishes?

Chinatown has been a shell of its former self for a long time.

I know. When I was a kid it was the fun place to go on weekends and summer vacation. I remember there was a new Chinatown and an old Chinatown. Then it all went on a slow decline. When they started reviving it, a few market/shopping center places became popular again. But mostly the “reviving” has been non-Chinese places.

What do you think is the cause? Economy? Or maybe the older generation retiring and the younger generation not wanting to be in the food trade?

Kinda’ sad though.

Back in the '80s we’d go there for the rice noodle soup with fish balls, beef balls or fish cake. We stopped going there once we decided we didn’t want to eat anywhere else in Chinatown except ABC Seafood, during their golden years.

Yes ABC Seafood!

I just looked it up. Chiu Heng was featured on the crassly named site called “Noodle Whore”. They showed pictures of the dishes you just mentioned. Looked delicious.

I kind of capsulized the history of Chinatown dining in the article below. In a sentence I’d say it’s the suburbanization of Chinese American communities (San Gabriel Valley for Los Angeles, but similar stories in other cities) across the US, and the gentrification of downtowns (LA and other cities).


Great. I’ll read it.

BTW… We went to a screening of the JGold documentary City of Gold last night. I thought of you for 2 reasons. He ate at Chengdu :relaxed:. But he also talked (sadly) about going to Audubon Middle School and how much more integrated certain L.A. neighborhoods were then.

The decline of Chinatown reminds me of the decline of the deli scene in NYC, as the main patrons (immigrants on the Lower East Side) passed away, and their children moved to Long Island and other suburbs.

Unlike then, however, we are still blessed with new immigrant Chinese communities in the SGV creating new (to me at least) restaurants and regional cuisines. No longer just Hunan and Cantonese.

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Most of my high school classmates at Dorsey came from Audubon. However I went to Mount Vernon, now known and Johnnie Cochran Middle School.

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My husband went to Audubon for a minute. It got too rough, so they used grandparents address for John Burrows. But his family was like the Jeffersons. They moved on up. When he brags about growing up in tough neighborhoods. The kids are like “Oh yeah dad. It must have tough growing up on the mean streets of Pacific Palisades.”

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You would like the JGold doc. He talked about knowing a person’s economic situation by the deli their family went too.

I think sadly that makes Kim Chuy the last and only Chiu Chow noodle house in Chinatown. A good sign is I always see patrons here. I love the noodle soups here with a little of the shacha sauce and the leek cakes.

And even in SGV, Cantonese food is not as prominent as it was in the 80’s-90’s.

In Chinatown, Los Angeles proper, you can still get good Canto home style comfort foods.

New Dragon, makes a very good HK Wonton Noodle Soup.

Fortune Gourmet, the white cut chicken is very good. Combine that with some of the house complimentary soup (isn’t that one of the best parts about Cantonese food? A Canto household ALWAYS has tasty soups) and a plate of garlicky ong choy or choy sum. They also make perfect shrimp and scrambled eggs.

Jade Wok, the house special tofu and pork ribs are popular and tasty. I like all the Canto comfort foods here: steam pork patty, beef and tomatoes, a plate of greens, fish and corn, etc.

Phoenix, the jook/congee is good here.

These places need better marketing. With so much interest in Chinatown now.

Alot of people forget there is still a working class Chinese population here, not everyone moved to SGV. Alpine Rec, Castelar, the hillsides areas past Hill and from Chinatown to Echo Park, Lincoln Heights and El Sereno, Senior folks building at North Broadway x Chavez, ABC Health Care Center…


[quote=“JeetKuneBao, post:14, topic:4372”]
These places need better marketing. With so much interest in Chinatown now.
[/quote]Very true

True, true.

@CiaoBob: Shrimp & eggs got your attention?

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J & K Hong Kong has some good stuff, too (e.g., fish with sing gua), though also some not so good stuff.

Are they actually Chinese? My understanding was that the makeup of the population changed in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s.

I remember Empress Pavilion being a “big deal” when it opened. But I hated going to Chinatown as a kid. It’s was crowded and overwhelming. The suburban sprawl that allowed for the (iniitally) wondrous vastness of the megacomplex that was just a few miles from where you lived was very alluring, I think…

[quote=“paranoidgarliclover, post:18, topic:4372”]
But I hated going to Chinatown as a kid. It’s was crowded and overwhelming.
[/quote]Yep… We had the most fun when we were pre-teens. I could see it being a little overwhelming for little kids.

Chinatown died when DiHo Market opened up.

Blame the demise of Chinatown on Wu, and his forward thinking.

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