I was hungry as I drove home from Palm Springs after spending the afternoon with my friend Ruth and shopping at Cabazon. As everyone who has driven the 120 miles on the 10 freeway knows, there is almost nothing but fast food chains along the route. I wanted something fast but I wasn’t willing to settle for a bad diner or even worse, a greasy drive through, so I kept driving until I reached Monterey Park.

Since Monterey Park is the center of good Chinese food in the Los Angeles vicinity, I figured anywhere I stopped should have at least decent, if not great food, so I literally drove straight off the Garfield exit and parked in the first strip mall parking lot lined with restaurants. There were four restaurants of various specialties and styles in this small center across the street from Hong Kong Market.

I chose Golden City Seafood because 1) it looked the cleanest 2) it had the most people, all of whom were Asian, and 3) they had live fish tanks with swimming fish, prawns, and lobsters. I liked it even better when I asked to see a menu in English and they smiled and handed me two (one with pictures). I am always impressed when Chinese places are friendly towards non Chinese speaking people; even though I do speak Cantonese, I never start off with it because I like to arrive “incognito” so that I can hear what they say about me and my white friends, without them knowing that I understand every word they say (I also do this in French restaurants for the same reason).

I am happy to report that the food was as good as the welcome. Everything from the house special lobster ($15) to the beef chow fun ($8) was flavorful and fresh. Even the side of tender greens was perfectly cooked to a bright green, with just enough seasoning to make it tasty. I saw nearby tables ordering everything from steamed oysters with ginger and green onion, to hot pots, fried rice dishes, and beautifully pink shrimp. I wish I could have tasted everything I saw, but it just means I’ll have to go back with more people.

It was nice to get confirmation that my seventh sense, good restaurant divination, is still in good working order.

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