If you've picked up the latest edition of The Weekly -- which is, by the way, our annual, and might I say, awesome Best of OC Issue (okay, I'm done with the shameless plug) -- you might have noticed my review of May Garden's secret menu in the usual Food section.
During a chat with head honcho Ted Kissell, he asked me, "Don't many/most Chinese restaurants have two menus, the Americanized one and the Chinese one?"
I told him that, actually, I'm not sure. But for the most part, no.
In the San Gabriel Valley in particular, most places will go whole hog in one regional specialty. That is, what they do is what they do. So they don't bother doing a secret menu. But, of course, their clientele is predominately Chinese there.
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Same with the notable Chinese restaurants in O.C.: Sam Woo, China Garden, Capital and King Lobster Palace, to name a few. They don't do it because what they serve on the regular menu is already "authentic", for lack of a better term.
Other than China Garden, there is one other place that I am aware of which offers a secret menu of the "real" stuff. I've been told that Fu Wing Lo in Fountain Valley will prepare an off-menu Cantonese meal when asked.
Surely there must be others, since it only takes one guy in the kitchen to get bored cooking another batch of kung pao chicken before he comes up with whole list of entrees to cure his own homesickness.
So dear reader, I ask you: where have you seen hidden menus? It doesn't necessarily have to be Chinese either. Let's dish.