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:
- It’s “to-go” only.
- 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.
- The yeow tiao (fried crullers) are made on-premises, and are tasty.
- The soy milk is fresh.
- Duck congee here reminds me of home.
- The vegetarian bun has egg in it.
- There are occasionally off-the-menu buns offered. The buns in general are hit-and-miss.
Crullers are really fresh and not greasy…
Green bean crepe ( 煎餅果子): Beijinger-style, and super-flavorful.
Shredded roast duck porridge ( 鴨絲粥 ): Comforting…
Steamed lotus paste bun: Acceptable, but the edges were a bit dry, indicating they had been sitting for a bit…
Sticky rice fan tuan ( 鹹飯糰 ): Nicely constructed, with yummy pickled veggies inside. Large enough to save half for lunch later.
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.
Soy milk ( 豆漿 ): Fresh! You can choose plain, sweet, or salty. Excellent for dipping of cruller.
Steamed black sesame seed bun: Too dry on this visit.
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…
Steamed pork and baby bok choy bun ( 豬肉青江菜包 ): Really nice too.
Steamed vegetarian bun ( 素包 ): True vegans beware: There are eggs in it. Tasty, though.
Tea egg ( 茶葉蛋 ): Decent.
Steamed red bean paste bun: Nice and moist.
It’s not cheap, but it’s Downtown, and some menu items shine.
Li Orient Restaurant - Traditional Chinese Breakfast
U.S. Bank Tower
633 W. 5th St., Suite #400
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Li Orient breakfast menu