Hop Woo is serving authentic Szechuan Food in the Westside


#1

I stoped by Hop Woo restaurant tonight with my friend and discovered they had the new Szechuan menu, we tried Lazi Chicken and Zigong Ginger Frog, they were amazingly good…we could save the long drive to the SGV in the future lol!


#2

Welcome to FTC!

Yes, they started this about two weeks ago. We talked about it 'cuz Gu Yi in Brentwood wasn’t so great…


#3

I see. It was much better than Gu Yi and less expensive:blush:


#4

Thank you for posting this! I ran out as soon as I saw this post and made it to Hop Woo before they closed last night. I am no Sichaun expert (I’ve been to Chengdu Taste twice in the last five years) but I thought this was head and shoulders above most westside Chinese.

The Mapo Tofu had a decent amount of numbing, although it was interesting that they seemed to only use ground peppercorns and not whole ones, am I mistaken or do most places usually use both?

The cucumber with garlic was superb, garlicky and spicy with a nice amount of oil and vinegar to balance it, and the Lazi chicken was good although it could definitely be spicier.

The owner came up and asked us how we had heard about the new menu and said that they also owned a place in SGV called Meet With Chengdu (anyone been?). He said that the chef from MWC was in the house last night, so I don’t know if quality will keep up when he goes back to the SGV but for now it is nice to know that you can get good Chinese food without having to drive all the way to Alhambra.


#5

Got delivery from here last night. Beware, the website is run by a third party, so many menu items are not on it, and they also took 45 minutes to fax the order to the restaurant, at least according to the restaurant, which made for a very long wait - 1 hour 15 min. I would call to order directly to Hop Woo.

We got the intestine hot pot. It was good, but not as good as Gu Yi’s intestine with veggies, IMO. Also, it was dry, and I was expecting it to be more soupy.


Got the mapo tofu with brains. Not on the online menu. You have to order another item of the same cost and ask in the notes section for it to be replaced with this item. Overall, I liked it, though it was a little on the salty side. The tofu complimented the creamy brains. I don’t know what mapo tofu is but have read many FTCers talk about it.

I didn’t get a picture of the toothpick lamb, another item not on the online menu. Husband ate that one, mostly. He really enjoyed it.

We also got the fried chicken with chiles and garlic. Addictive! I ate so much chili! Great as leftovers!

The pepper salt squid was very good, also. I asked for extra chili, like I always do, though I could have had much more.

Husband really liked this place, more than Gu Yi. He felt the cooking was less greasy, also. I think each has it’s good items, like that tripe at Gu Yi.


#6

I don’t know what mapo tofu is but have read many FTCers talk about it.

You leapfrogged right over from intern to master.


#7

:blush:


#8

I doubt Gu Yi is going to last very long whereas I think Hop Woo will.

I already have heard and noted distressing things about Gu Yi’s owner’s commitment. Perhaps I am over reading into the comments made (such as “we are not pursuing the alcohol license because the owner went back to China”) or the fact that their plans to make the menu a bit more like Cheng Du Tastes were quickly abandoned.
Plus –
the rent is probably much higher and the location is not going to get nearly as much traffic as Hop Woo’s will


#9

Hop Woo is legit af…would suggest eating there over take out tho IMO


#10

I sincerely hope that they stay open. That tripe and veggie intestine :sweat_drops: drool!


#11

I had the mapo tofu on Tuesday for lunch. Wasn’t impressed; no heat, no meat.


#12

Do they use Szechuan peppercorns?


#13

Yes. Lots.

@Bob_Brooks
I would guess that Mapo Tofu is on both menus and they likely assumed you wanted the milder version.
If you want meat and heat you probably need to specify that to them. I would ask for ask for Sichuan style with pork.


#14

Good to know. I’ll give it another go. Thanks CB.


#15

I remember distinct tongue numbing from the dishes at Gu Yi but not from the Hop Woo food we ordered. There was chili, which I loaded up on, so maybe my tongue was already blown from that and I couldn’t notice any numbing from the food.

Also, the mapo tofu with brains didn’t have tons of heat, but it felt right for a dish with brains, which would be easily overpowered by too much heat, I would assume.


#16

I order from them today and found another delicious dish, the cold noodles!

It was a little spicy, a little sour, a little sweet. Very flavorful with shredded cucumber, ground peanut and white sesame! It is the best noodles I have ever got in the U.S.! Great for the summer season!

I remember it was on the blackboard not the menu waiters gave us. Maybe you need to ask them about the cold noodle.


#17

That’s quite a claim…

Is it a coincidence that you joined the board around the same time Hop Woo started serving Szechuan food and that the only place you seem to comment on is Hop Woo?


#18

Another Hop Woo fan over here. Made a quick stop for dinner one, so I only tried the kung pao chicken, I’ll be bach.

They also now give you both menus without having to ask.


#19

Of all the Sichuan menus we’ve tried around the Westside, Hop Woo’s was the most enjoyable. Finally - a chef who ain’t afraid to dial up the spice level - they have the heat factor right. But why no mala? Since I was the only one quibbling about the absence of Sichuan peppercorns, I guess it didn’t matter.


#20

Yep it’s legit.

Ordered the kung pao chicken in honor of @brwencino :wink:, as well as my usual mapo tofu. Both were quite tasty, especially the mapo tofu, which should satisfy all but the tiny tofu fetishists :grin: among us.

New photo by Andrew Wilmar

While I was waiting for my food, I had an interesting chat with the young manager(?),. He explained their customer base for the new menu is primarily Chinese students at UCLA and SMC, and was very insistent that Westerners find Sichuan food to salty and oily.

I wish that I’d remembered @Bob_Brooks’s experience with the mapo tofu. But the bottom line here is to be clear that you like spicy food and want to order off the Sichuan menu specifically.

Wait, there were no peppercorns in your food? Like not even ground? I could have used a little more numbing flavor but it was definitely present in the dishes I ordered.