Yahoo's "Best Chinese Restaurant in California" Opens Branch in Arts District

Last year, Yahoo came up with a listing of the best Chinese restaurant in each state. The California winner was The Chairman, a food truck that subsequently opened a brick and mortar in San Francisco’s Tenderloin. Yahoo’s selection criteria for the best Chinese restaurant in each state was very exact and scientific. They used the restaurant with the highest Yelp rating. (I’d write an article on why Yelp ratings of Chinese restaurants suck if I could find somebody to publish it.) The Los Angeles branch is quite similar to the S.F. branch, and presumably also the truck. (I’ve only been to the SF store.) There’s like only 10 items on the menu. We had the pork belly with glazed miso on a baked bun (kind of like a King’s Hawaiian bun sandwich) and the spicy chicken on a steam bun (flat and folded like a taco shell). Both items were pretty good, but nothing worth giving stratospheric ratings. Primarily a hipster clientele but enough Asians to make it legit. But one of the top Chinese restaurants in California? No way. The Chairman is at 500 E. Los Angeles St. near Urth Caffe.

the amount of alcohol i’m going to consume to blunt the sadness brought on
by the most rightly esteemed chandavki using the dreaded h****r word cannot
be measured.


I actually used the word once before on the other board in a discussion on Sqirl, specifically with regard to my comment that I was the only guy in the restaurant who had shaved that morning.


i probably drank that time, too.

i admit this is a me and not a you problem.


It was great bumping into you there the other day. I’m glad I can lend my Asian-ness to the spot to make it more legit. Like you alluded to, it’s good enough to have lunch at if you’re nearby (and certainly more affordable than a lot of the other options people would go to in the vicinity), but not a spot to go out of your way to find.

I do like the outdoor patio though, because I can have my lunch and be a dog creeper at the same time.

11 more steps to go.

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tony, is this a subtle way of telling me i’m addicted to hating the word h*****r?


Since S.F. has a rep for the best Chinese in Cali, I’m surprised The Chairman would get great reviews on Yelp or anywhere else in the city. You’d think they know. Could it be there’s a twist on the classics? Curious.

I would definitely read your article on why Yelp ratings of Chinese food sucks. They do seem all over the place. I’m curious, what are your favorite Chinese restaurants in L.A.?

While SF had California’s best Chinese food for almost 150 years, it was surpassed by LA in the 1990s and the gap reached its height about 5 years ago, when almost all Bay Area dim sum was from carts and there was a limited amount of regional Chinese food to be found. The gap has since closed but LA is still ahead. I like the usual suspects like Sea Harbour, Lunasia, King Hua, Elite, Chengdu Taste, Sichuan Impression, plus other less noted places like Tasty Garden, Noodle Boy, Qingdao Bread Food, Mei Long Village, Mama’s Lu and Shanxi Noodle.


Oh Sweet. I’ll keep these. Thanks!

That rating is a puzzlement to those of us in the SF Bay Area. I would say that The Chairman (nee Chairman Bao) is the best Chinese food truck in the area, but hardly the best Chinese restaurant. Depending on the truck’s location that night the menu will vary. I remember having a roast duck bao at a street fair but they never have it at the Alameda Point Antique Market (think Rose Bowl). The duck bao was my favorite, but I recall the other one or two I had as being quite tasty. I don’t patronize them often because the lines are too long and no duck.

Here’s my early draft on why Chinese restaurant Yelp ratings are dubious. Looking to expand this if I can find a vehicle. Chandavkl's Blog: Why Yelp Star Ratings For Chinese Restaurants Don't Fly

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And, the best American food in the world is In and Out Hamburger!

Yep… From what I hear Shake Shack’s burger doesn’t holdup to In N Out.

Read your draft. Very good. Because I’m not an expert, I’m curious to try a few places you mentioned to test your theories. The one thing I can agree with you about is people comparing the food to what they eat in their native countries. I have a friend who was born in Vietnam and returns frequently. She constantly complains about Vietnamese food in and outside of L.A. And heaven forbid it’s modern or fusion. No matter how tasty it is it’s unacceptable to her. I adore her, but now completely avoid eating pho with her.

Interestingly enough, I know a few Thais who say Thai is better in LA than in Bangkok bc of ingredient quality.

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You know, I never thought of that. I went to Thailand & Vietnam with my previously mentioned friend. And I cannot remember any of my meals in Thailand. But here in L.A. I crave and go out of my way for Thai food.

that’s funny; many vietnamese americans I know prefer the VN food over here due to better quality ingredients.

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Good article!

@chandavkl, I think you have uncovered one of the few (maybe only) commonalities of Yelpers and Michelin Raters - like many in the West, their ratings reveal they share a deep anti-Sino prejudice.