Restaurant: Hop Woo
Location: 11110 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064. (310) 575-3668
Date: May 30 & June 3, 2018
Cuisine: American and Szechuan Chinese
Rating: Surprisingly excellent Szechuan!
Incredible as it sounds, just a few days after hitting up new Brentwood Szechuan GuYi Erick and I explore another new westside Szechuan.
This time disguised as venerable American Chinese Hop Woo, which has been serving a big menu of Cantonese inspired classics for years — but it turns out they have a new Szechuan chef and a secret Szechuan menu!
The space is vintage LA Chinese.
Here is the special Szechuan menu. You have to ask for it. Some of the more challenging items they didn’t even bother to translate!
The big regular menu has a few gems too, but everything here from my first two visits is from the Szechuan menu.
Cold Szechuan Noodles. Not even on the Szechuan menu, but they can make them. Basically nice wheat noodles with a tangy/spicy Szechuan chili oil sauce.
You mix them up and they are quite addictive.
Toothpick lamb. The classic cumin rubbed lamb nibblettes. Quite nice.
Griddle cooked Bullfrog. Very nice sauce and flavor. Mind the little kermit bones.
Griddle cooked lamb. Somewhere between a griddle and a cumin lamb.
Garlic Shredded Pork. Big dish, full of flavor, and nice texture.
MaPo Tofu. Really a 9 or 10 out of 10 version of this favorite of mine. Tons of mala (numbing Szechuan peppercorn), you can see it dusted on top. Eaten over rice this is just so good.
Hop Woo Signature Fresh Rock Fish with Hot and Spicy Flavor. A very nice white fish smothered in delicious chilies (and chili oil). Some good vegetables like lotus leaf are hiding in there too.
Fried Rice Cake with Brown Sugar. The owner gave these to us on the house. Very interesting Chinese dessert, all about the texture as usual. Chewy inside and dusty sweet on the outside.
Classic oranges and Fortune Cookies.
Overall, I was very impressed with the Szechuan items. It’s not a huge menu of them, and they aren’t quite Szechuan Impression or anything, but a few of these dishes, like the MaPo Tofu and the fish were absolutely first rate. Nice balance of tangy, hot, and numbing. It’s great to have a few real Szechuan choices on the westside!