Whenever I read a best-of list in the national media, I wince internally. They're usually either cobbled together by looking at the Internet and seeing which ones are mentioned most often–which results in a kind of small-scale Zagat guide, prone to the hype machine–or they're put together by people who have not visited very many cities in the United States, which makes the comments section explode with people pissed off that their favorite little place in Minneapolis or Memphis didn't make it.
This is why I was surprised when I read CNNGo's list of the fifty best
Chinese restaurants in the United States, which covered a lot of ground
and a lot of different genres of Chinese cooking. The list is devoid of places dishing up cornstarchy stir-fries with
annoying, inaccurate names; it's heavy on Sichuanese fare, but that's
because in many cities, the only Chinese cuisine recognizable to Chinese
customers is often Sichuanese.
The Los Angeles area has more recommendations than any other city, which
makes me wonder how long Clarissa Wei, the New York-based author, has
been lurking in the San Gabriel Valley. It runs the gamut from Beijing
to Shanghai to Taiwan, reflecting the diversity along the 10 and 60
freeways. I am surprised that there aren't more places along the #7
train in Queens, but I haven't been out there in enough time that it
could have turned into LA Chinatown.
If you're looking for our recommendations on great Chinese in OC, just
wait a week or two; it's coming soon in our “Best of Best of Best Of!”
column–or drop hints in the comments.