Advertisement
Filters

Neighborhood

Filter

Restaurants

Price

Sort by

Showing Places
Share
Filters
Map
List
Bicol express from Lasa, located in the Far East Plaza in Chinatown.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Your next takeout meal awaits in Chinatown

[It’s here: The Los Angeles Times’ 101 restaurants, dishes, people and ideas that define how we eat in 2020.]

Over the years, Chinatown has become one of the most dynamic places to eat in Los Angeles. Despite a tumultuous 2020 in dining, it remains so, as evidenced by this group of restaurants from The Times’ 101 list.

From Nashville hot chicken sandwiches that are worth the wait on your delivery app to groundbreaking Filipino fare, these restaurants are just a few of the best the neighborhood has to offer.

Showing Places
The signature fried chicken sandwich from Howlin' Rays.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

Howlin' Ray's

Chinatown American $$
| 2020
Currently, the restaurant’s abbreviated menu is available only for delivery to downtown L.A. and Pasadena (one enterprising acquaintance is in the habit of visiting his brother in Pasadena every time he craves the restaurant’s chicken wings). If you do manage to get your hands on it, the sando is a marvel of engineering, a massive fried chicken breast squeezed into a buttery bun, generously accessorized with pickles and the creamy-spicy mayonnaise called comeback sauce. The medium-hot version is preternaturally crisp yet juicy, a delirium of crunch, salt and heat that rewires your brain, albeit only briefly, pointing you closer to the inscrutable pleasures of Howlin’ Ray’s’ palate-roiling chile heat.
More Info
Honey walnut shrimp sandwich from Katsu Sando.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Katsu Sando

Chinatown $
| 2020
Pork katsu is the foundational sando, built (as are all the sandwiches) on honey milk bread, baked in-house. The clincher, though, is the honey walnut shrimp variant, a witty feat of architecture that fuses battered nobashi shrimp with shrimp tartare emulsion. Its crunch and creaminess winks at the Panda Express favorite but is ultimately far, far superior. Order it with a side of the curry cheese crinkle fries. If you’re passing by in a hurry, grab a cold sando from the fridge.
More Info
Veggie and chili crunch pancit from Lasa.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Lasa

Chinatown $$
| 2020
The “Quarantine Kitchen” menu at Lasa is an extraordinary distillation of the Filipino-Californian cooking for which brothers Chad and Chase Valencia (the former is the chef, the latter front-of-house) are known at their groundbreaking Chinatown restaurant. Lechon kawali is essential, the ultra-fatty tranches of pork belly masterfully rendered with thin, crackly edges. Pancit made with Canton noodles, the frilly, chewy strands glossed in butter, then tossed in calamansi lime juice and chili crisp, gets at the heart of comfort food. Valencia’s cooking is intelligent and accomplished but also witty: Tamarind-dusted chicken wings are meant to evoke the powerfully sour properties of sinigang, and kinilaw, often referred to as the Filipino version of ceviche, is served in a poke-style bowl streaked with fish sauce. The whole fried pompano padded in matis butter, bronzed and crisp around the edges, is one of the best takeout meals I enjoyed this strange and destabilizing year. And it should be noted that Lasa is increasingly a source for interesting and hard-to-find natural wines.
More Info
Char siu, rib, chicken and a macau pork chop bun from Pearl River Deli in Chinatown.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Pearl River Deli

Chinatown Chinese $$
| 2020
The uncanny talent scouts behind Chinatown’s Far East Plaza struck paydirt again in early 2020 when they installed Johnny Lee in the space formerly occupied by Baohaus. Pearl River Deli is his love letter to Cantonese cooking: His family has roots in Taishan, Guangdong, an area from which many of California’s earliest, 19th century Chinese immigrants arrived. Lee keeps his menu short and mercurial. Count on the Macau-style pineapple bao, a sugared bun named for its crunchy, cross-hatched crown that resembles the fruit. He plops a pork chop on the split bun and revs the sandwich with mayo and sofrito. Instagram accounts aren’t quite as barraged by images of the sticky-blistered char siu, wonton soup in resonant chicken and pork broth, and silky scrambles with shrimp, but they should be. Lee is most famous for the Hainan chicken and rice he served at now-closed Side Chick in the Westfield Santa Anita mall. He obliges frequent requests for the dish by occasionally making it a weekend special available only for pre-order. One senses he wishes to concentrate on his current repertoire. It’s a fair stance that ultimately rewards the diner.
More Info