The East SGV areas such Hacienda/Rowland Heights, Walnut, Diamond Bar combined together has often been referred to as the new "Little Taipei" ever since the mass amount of Taiwanese packed their way out of Monterey Park & Alhambra and moved to these eastern suburbs. In addition to the Taiwanese, there is also a large concentration of Koreans in these areas as well.
There are tons of excellent places in the East SGV serving Taiwan dishes such as "牛肉麵"
Quality - the way the food taste. I would like to see a dramatic improvement in the taste. I have had way too many where the food is overly salty, overly greasy, bland/tastless, over watery, overcooked, and/or too hard to chew (food that otherwise is suppose to be soft and tender).
But considering the small HK population we have here, it is unlikely that will improve.
Thus the main equation in my argument is:
I usually don't focus too much on the service provided by the waiter/waitresses in HK style restaurants. As long as they are not rude, its fine with me. If I get super friendly service, I just take it as an added bonus. My approach towards this type of service applies to all HK Style joints in all cities.
Quality (as outlined on the title of the topic of discussion). :)
Hong Kong Style Dining & Hong Kong Style Restaurants:
1) Seafood Restaurants: 80-90% on the menu serves Cantonese dishes which includes but not limited to Suckling Pig, Shark Fin, Steamed Fish, Abalone, Lobster, etc
2) Dim Sum: 75-90% of the items are Cantonese flavors such as (but not limited to) Ha Kau, Siu Mai, Lotus Leaf Wrapped Chicken Sticky Rice, Cheung Fan, Egg Tarts, Mango Pudding, etc
3) HK Cafes/Cha Chan Teng (again not limited to, but rather the most common ones):
4) BBQ: Selling typical Cantonese BBQ that can bee seen hanging once you enter which sells Cha Siu (pork), duck and then your typical Cantonese style Soup/Noodles (i.e. Wonton Noodle Soup, E-Fu, Beef Brisket,), Fried Rice (i.e.Diced Chicken Salted Fish, Yeung Chow), Beef Chow Fun, Congee (i.e. Preserved Egg & Meat), etc
Again there are more to the list for each of the four restaurant categories I mentioned above. I'm basically just listing some of the most common ones that are typical of each.
Please read my original post a little more carefully. I stated my claims about Newport that they are not a HK-style dining nor a HK syte restaurant. Their Cantonese dish that exist with their Teochew and Southeast asian ones are not something I would not consider HK Cantonese type. This is where the difference lies. So Newport's category does not fall in the boundaries concerning my preference of Panda Express over L.A.'s HK style.
Har Lam Kee is one of the worst HK style dining I have ever had. Worse than some of the mediocre ones I have come across in the SGV. Over greasy, over salted dishes for some dishes while some of the other ones such as their congee are overly watery and bland. Yuck!
Sea Harbour existed in Vancouver way before they opened their branch in Rosemead. And to be honest the Rosemead branch isn't anywhere close to the quality offered by the Richmond one in BC.
Again I am happy with the variety of high quality Asian Cuisines we have here. Unfortunately the ones of HK-style are not among the high quality ones. That is why I spend my money and time where it is worth it such as Taiwanese, Shanghainese, Sichuanese, Japanese, Korean, Thai.
And yes I agree Japanese and Taiwanese restaurants here are better than the ones in Toronto.
Don't necessarily understand what you mean by "No Hong Kong Influence at all in New York". The fact that LA has the smallest amount of HK immigrants compared to Toronto, Vancouver, SF, NY is derived from census data and immigration statistics. You can even go further to annual immigration statistics provided by the INS which consistently shows year by year that SF & NY areas each receive more immigrants from HK than L.A. So it doesn't matter whether you are talking about old or recent immigrants, L.A. is always behind SF and NY in terms of migrating destination popularity among HKers. You don't have to go as far as comparing immigrant numbers to those in the two Canadian hot beds, even within the U.S., L.A. is behind SF & NY in terms of HK populations
I am not a fan of Cantonese restaurants from the Bay Area, but I would even dare say that those that I've had there are even better than the ones I've found in SGV. I've never sampled the ones in NY so I can't comment there.
Going back to Toronto, some of the HK-style that are considered low quality for Toronto or HK standards, are still better than the so called labeled ones best in L.A. such as Elite, NBC, Harbor Kitchen, Face Cafe, etc just to name a few.
The lack of high quality of HK-style restaurants in SGV is easily traced to the factor of the small HK immigrant community that exist here.
Good thing here is that there are many better other options outside of HK style dining I can choose from. Aside from the non-Cantonese Chinese cuisines, there are also tons of excellent Vietnamese, Thai, Korean restaurants to choose from.
It doesn't matter whether we are talking about Dim Sum, HK Cafes, HK Cantonese Seafood joints, or simple Cantonese BBQ takeout. Here in the L.A. metro area, we seriously are deficient in the quality of HK style restaurants. I have lived here for the past 20 years and I have never found one that I would even consider to be "above average quality. Most are either poor or mediocre.
I travel to Toronto every 2-3 months to visit my sister and twin brother there and I am amazed at how far Superior Toronto is when compared to L.A. in terms of HK/Cantonese style dining. The Toronto suburbs of Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, (and to some degree Mississauga) is a Mecca for top notch HK style Dim Sum, HK Style Seafood, HK Style Cafes (cha chan teng), and HK BBQs.
The problem L.A. has with HK style restaurants lies to the fact that we lack H.K immigrants here. Of the 5 major NA markets that have huge concentrations of Chinese population (LA, SF, NY, Vancouver and Toronto), the L.A. region has the smallest number of HK immigrant population. Yes even SF and NY each respectively have larger HK population than L.A. As a result, many of the so-called HK style cuisine here are run and cooked by non-HK Chinese, many whom do not understand the concept of delivering high quality HK dining.
The positive aspect of Chinese Dining in L.A. is the fact that we have so many high quality and low priced non-HK/Cantonese Chinese restaurants such as those serving Taiwanese, Shanghainese, Teochew, Sichuan dishes. So the lack of high quality of HK style restaurant is compensated by the top notch restaurants serving authentic Chinese cuisines from other regions.
These days whenever I go for Chinese dining here, I always go to the non-Cantonese ones such as the Taiwanese style Supreme Dragon in Rowland Heights, Din Tai Fung in Arcadia, Michelle's Pan Cake in San Gabriel, etc, just to name a few of the non-Cantonese Chinese dining I enjoy here. I don't even bother with the HK style ones because I have been disappointed way too many times. I get to go to Toronto so often so only then do I bother going out of for some HK style dining with my siblings and enjoy the delicious cuisines native to my homeland.
To be honest if you ask me here in L.A. if I would rather dine at Panda Express or those HK-style restaurants, I would pick the former. Just goes to show how much I dislike HK-style dining in the Greater L.A. area.
If there is a so-called Cantonese style dining that I enjoy here, it will be Newport Seafood in San Gabriel. But I would hardly consider this a HK style dining. It is rather a mixture of Cantonese and Teochew blended with Southeast Asian (esp Vietnamese and Cambodian) cooking style and spices. This is one restaurant, if someone would ask which Chinese Seafood joint in the L.A. area would be worth recommending, that I would recommend. I in particular love their lobster, beef cubical and their house special spicy fish.
Newport Seafood Restaurant