Peking Dragon is a Dana Point restaurant that sells Chinese food. DayGlo sweet-and-sour chicken will be marched out of the kitchen, and glistening noodles in soy-sauce-ladened gravies will land on tables with a thud. The latter will be twirled up by customers with forks as though they were slurping spaghetti. This is Chinese as most Americans know it—cuisine that might be more familiar to someone from Canton, Ohio, than Canton Province. It’s the kind of place that still has chop suey, egg foo young and rumaki on the menu, and when you ask the waiter for some crispy noodles, he’ll bring it out on a big plate for free, knowing that your table will be munching on it as you wait for your order. You dip the deep-fried twigs in the orange-colored sweet-and-sour sauce poured from a trio of carafes on every table. Another carafe holds hot mustard, another a vinegar-soy blend you’d presumably use on rice.
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It was Sunday night at Peking Dragon Restaurant in Dana Point, one of only three Chinese eateries in the seaside city, and every Naugahyde booth was taken. You had to wait at least 15 minutes if you didn't have a reservation. Standi...