Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Date Night: Twin Dragon

 Crispy Egg Rolls

Since 1962, Twin Dragon has offered quality Chinese food prepared fresh by chefs trained in China, Hong Kong and Taiwann. Nestled on W. Pico Blvd in the heart of West Los Angeles, the family-run business prides itself on its innovative, healthy cuisine. Quinn and his family have been going there for years, and we've stopped by on several occasions to feast! Each entree runs around $7-9, but can feed 2 people to the point of immobility, as well as provide a hefty sum of leftovers. This spot is great for a family event or quiet night out.

Each visit to Twin Dragon requires an appetizer of crispy egg rolls, pork Moo Shu, or -- dare to dream -- both. Our server presented our pork Moo Shu with delicate flair, almost as if he were performing on stage. His fingers folded effortlessly to create a flawlessly wrapped moo shu. For those of you unfamiliar with Moo Shu, Quinn likened it to a "Chinese burrito". Traditionally served with sesame stir-fried shredded pork chop meat, scrambled eggs, mushrooms and bamboo shoots, the Moo Shu is seasoned with ginger, garlic, scallions, soy sauce, and huangjiu rice cooking wine. Hoison sauce is spread on warm, thin moo shoo pancakes and then wrapped with the meat. The hoison is addictive. I love to spread any extra sauce on my rice.

Pork Moo Shu

Another staple of Twin Dragon is their Chow Fun. Originally a Cantonese dish, Chow Fun is like its similarly named cousin, Chow Mein, in that its a pan-fried noodle dish with veggies and meat. Unlike Chow Mein's thin, spaghetti-like noodles, Chow Fun is more like an Italian tagliatelli - wide and flat rice noodles. The dish gets its smokey flavor from the immense heat of the wok it's cooked in. It reminds of my favorite Thai dish, Pad See Ew, and is always my choice for an entree. 

Quinn is a huge fan of Broccoli with Beef, available at every Chinese-American restaurant. Twin Dragon's version dripped with a sweet Tariyaki sauce. The meat was neither too chewy nor too crispy, thin slivers of beef and ultra-soft broccoli. One of my qualms as a kid about Chinese food (I hated everything except Cashew Chicken) was the crunchy, sauteed broccoli. My favorite vegetable of all time, broccoli was meant to melt in your mouth and not such a chore to eat. Both the Broccoli with Beef and Chicken Chow Fun are my top picks for this restaurant -- and don't forget the Moo Shu!

(Broccoli with Beef, Chicken Chow Fun)

Honorable Mention: Prawns with Oyster sauce. This fiery dish consists of prawns, pea shoots, hoison and oyster sauces, and chili peppers. The end result was more of a glaze than a sauce, and a piquant bite in comparison with the gentler Chinese dishes.

Of course, at every restaurant there's bound to be a dud; the "I-wish-I'd-ordered-something-else" choice. For Quinn and I, that choice was Baby Bok Choi with mushrooms. Bok Choi is loosely referred to as Chinese cabbage, and can be delicious if prepared correctly. Normally we would enjoy Bok Choi peeled away from the center and its individual leaves sauteed in the wok like a spinach. This version was served whole, which left it crunchy and most of the inner leaves were left without any flavor. The mushrooms were fine, but I found myself having seconds of the Chow Fun rather than eat any more.

 Baby Bok Choi with Mushrooms, Prawns in Oy
Twin Dragon was also one of the first restaurants in West Hollywood to offer delivery, so if you don't feel like eating out you can always order in! Now that I've rehashed my experience here, I'm craving more Chinese food! Any quality Chinese joints in Los Angeles to recommend? Let me know!

Twin Dragon
8597 West Pico Blvd, Los Angeles
(310) 657-7355


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