Wah’s Golden Hen Chinese-American Restaurant

Wah’s Golden Hen Chinese-American Restaurant

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.
  1. I make it a habit to avoid any restaurant that advertises itself as “Chinese-American.” Too many bad experiences to count. I’m a sucker for good Chinese food, and when I’m visiting a new location and happen upon some small hole-in-the-wall place, I just have to give it a try. Sadly, this has led to a great many disappointments.

    For earning straight A’s in school, my Godson received a reward: my wife and I would take him wherever he wanted for dinner. Knowing that our financial situation could be considerably better than it is he wanted to go someplace inexpensive but good—by his reckoning. He had been telling us about Wah’s Golden Hen for years and wanted us to go there for his special dinner. However, considering we live in a Latino neighborhood and the tiny restaurant looked in dire need of a makeover the last time we saw it (which was a couple years ago), I figured it couldn’t be very good. Still, I was willing to humor our Godson. After all, he had earned it with his 4.0 average.

    So we drove all of five blocks, found the parking lot adequate and easy to negotiate and took a seat inside. When the waitress saw that we were there with our Godson—who she knows very well and of whom she is rather fond—she quickly ushered the three of us to the biggest table in the small dining room.

    We ordered wonton soup, house fried rice, the BBQ pork appetizer, fried salty squid (calamari) and spicy chicken with almonds.

    The soup came before I was even comfortable in my seat. A bad sign, you may surmise. Soup that’s been sitting around hoping someone would order it, perhaps you are thinking…?

    Wrong! I normally don’t order wonton soup because I find it bland and lacking in character, let alone substance. This soup changed my mind. I usually pour chili oil and soy sauce into Chinese soups of virtually any description, but after one sip of this wonton soup, I knew that would be a mistake. It was, quite simply, the best wonton soup I have ever tried. It had to come in two bowls because it was so packed with stuff. One bowl held only delicious broth exploding with savory flavor; the other had shrimp, chicken, bok choy, cabbage, mushrooms and slices of carrot, all cooked perfectly, tender and delectable. When you eat here—and you should—be sure to get the wonton soup.

    The squid was nearly as good as that we get at our favorite Chinatown restaurant; quite tasty and tender. The BBQ pork looked suspiciously fried to me, but it was tasty, too. Not the best I’ve had, but certainly more than good enough to eat. The almond chicken surprised me the most: it was loaded with perfectly cooked vegetables, and the chicken pieces were tender, juicy and delicious. The sauce was slightly on the salty side, but that runs with my tastes so it wasn’t a negative point.

    The only part of the meal that might qualify as a low point was the fried rice. There was nothing wrong with the rice; don’t get me wrong. But I hold every restaurant’s fried rice to the standard set by my wife, and so far, no restaurant has topped hers. We kept comparing the food to Mayflower Seafood Restaurant in Chinatown, where we used to eat frequently, and we all agreed that every part of the meal was much better than what we got at Mayflower with the exception of the rice. But that’s a minor thing.

    Every Chinese restaurant I’ve been to concludes the meal with either a fortune cookie or an almond cookie upon presentation of the check. This place gives you both—and we even liked the fortunes!

    The staff was incredibly nice, friendly, gracious and accommodating. The service was second to none. And the prices were considerably lower than any other Chinese restaurant we have visited in LA, plus they offer terrific lunch and dinner specials. The interior is clean but plain, unpretentious, too bright to be considered intimate or cozy (in the good sense of the word; we aren’t talking real estate, here) and the place gets an A rating from the Department of Health. Nothing special, but the food and staff are.

    I would recommend this restaurant to anyone with a hankering for good Chinese food who happened to find themselves in the East Hollywood/Virgil Village area… and why you would be here is anyone’s guess.


    Golden Hen
    709 North Virgil Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA 90029

    (323) 661-0093

Leave a Reply