Traditional Chinese Breakfast at Li Orient (Downtown L.A.): A Pictorial Essay

Will wonders never cease? Yes, traditional Chinese breakfast (and a decent one, at that) has finally arrived in Downtown Los Angeles. Li Orient is serving a takeout Chinese breakfast for the office-set crowd. The food overall is quite good. Here are some things I learned on my first visit:

  1. It’s “to-go” only.
  2. Even with validation, parking in U.S. Bank Tower garage will cost you $10. Also, the entrance to the place can be a bit hard to find if you’re not used to the urban skyscraper life.
  3. The yeow tiao (fried crullers) are made on-premises, and are tasty.
  4. The soy milk is fresh.
  5. Duck congee here reminds me of home.
  6. The vegetarian bun has egg in it.
  7. There are occasionally off-the-menu buns offered. The buns in general are hit-and-miss.

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Crullers are really fresh and not greasy…

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Green bean crepe ( 煎餅果子): Beijinger-style, and super-flavorful.

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Shredded roast duck porridge ( 鴨絲粥 ): Comforting…

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Steamed lotus paste bun: Acceptable, but the edges were a bit dry, indicating they had been sitting for a bit…

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Sticky rice fan tuan ( 鹹飯糰 ): Nicely constructed, with yummy pickled veggies inside. Large enough to save half for lunch later.

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Green scallion pancakes ( 蔥油餅 ): A bit too coarse and thick for my liking, but this is close to what they like in Beijing.

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Soy milk ( 豆漿 ): Fresh! You can choose plain, sweet, or salty. Excellent for dipping of cruller.

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Steamed black sesame seed bun: Too dry on this visit.

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Pork belly & scallion bun: Okay, THIS was splendid! Shenjianbao in flavor, except this was fluffy and steamed! It’s not on the menu - I got lucky when I visited and asked if they had any off-menu items that day…

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Steamed pork and baby bok choy bun ( 豬肉青江菜包 ): Really nice too.

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Steamed vegetarian bun ( 素包 ): True vegans beware: There are eggs in it. Tasty, though.

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Tea egg ( 茶葉蛋 ): Decent.

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Steamed red bean paste bun: Nice and moist.

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It’s not cheap, but it’s Downtown, and some menu items shine.

RECOMMENDED

Li Orient Restaurant - Traditional Chinese Breakfast
U.S. Bank Tower
633 W. 5th St., Suite #400
Los Angeles, CA 90071
323.500.1186
Li Orient breakfast menu

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Truly fascinating that you can’t get this stuff in Chinatown and have to go to the heart of downtown instead. Are they very busy?

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Thanks for the report @J_L. Interesting that a place like this opened in the U.S. Bank Tower.

I’d be interested in trying it, but hearing that it’s To-Go Only, and $10 parking, and thinking about how some of those items might not sit very well (like the egg crepe dish - wouldn’t it get “steamed” in the container and get soggy?), makes me less enthused. But if I was visiting that area, I might stop in and try and eat it immediately. :wink:

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The US Bank Tower was pretty dead when I worked at a company headquartered in there several years ago (before they remodeled the building), and I’m curious how this place will do considering the area around it is empty after regular working hours. I wish there was a place like this in Chinatown, which is easier to get to and park.

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they need to get on postmates or something ASAP.

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The Li Orient breakfast is definitely not as Canto as, say, Si Hai. There’s a more Beijing vibe to it. I see the Downtown USC student parachute kids discovering this.

The place was dead when I went.

It’s a weird location.

Not really in the front of the bank tower or really the back, and it’s sort of on that weird upper level where you don’t really see it if you drive on Hope to enter the building garage.

You really have to know that it’s there to go there. It has literally zero visibility. If McCormick and Schmicks couldn’t make it there …

We were invited to their pre-Grand Opening happy hour. It was great. The napkins were wonderful.

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… and the between-the-lines have spoken.

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Man, had to go to Kaohsiung to get mine.

Fresh yeow tiao. Real fresh.

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Best I’ve had outside HK. Slim, svelte and golden brown. Head and shoulders above the bloated Carol Doda knockoffs that have dishonored my jook in the SFBA.

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Flat top crisp pancake, split and stuffed with scallion omelet, complemented with pickled mustard greens.

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  • salty soy milk and yeow tiao
  • bao leek stuffing
  • bao cabb stuffing
  • bao daikon stuffing
  • fresh sweet soy milk

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Breakfast for 2: NT $116 = USD $3.92
One way cab fare: NT $200 = USD $6.76

Queue to order.

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Dining al fresco.

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I swear.

Must be the water.

But the salted soy milk in Taiwan is just better than anything here in the States.

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One way cab fare? How does that work?:laughing:

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The cost of cab vs cost of eats was so disproportionate, we walked the one hour back to the hotel. No mean feat, in 88 F temps. :slight_smile:

Actually, we took a leisurely stroll back and soaked in the local terroir.

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To be (un?)fair, most any brekkie setup on the street corner in Taiwan will best the stuff in LA.

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