There is a certain type of Chinese food The Monster was raised on. While it combined elements of Szechwan, Mandarin and Cantonese cooking, in his head The Monster always thought of it as dirty, New York style Chinese food. Thick, crunchy fried eggrolls (not the more delicate/crap style favored in LA), pungent hot and sour soup, cold sesame noodles drowning in peanut sauce and General Tso’s Chicken. There was not one thing authentic about it but that didn’t mean it wasn’t delicious. Every Sunday night the whole family would gather for a meal where too many plates were ordered and shared. And then we’d all go home and complain.

While San Gabriel Valley undoubtedly serves up the best Chinese and Dim Sum around, the urge often hits to satisfy this particular hankering. And when it does The Monster makes his way to Hu’s Szechwan.

Hu’s is a love it or hate it place. It’s a dumpy little building devoid of atmosphere. Many people go once and leave screaming they’ll never come back. Apparently a few of the dishes on the menu are so bad that the vitriol on review sites gets ugly. But order wisely and this may become a go-to for you as well.

As a semi-regular (once a month for lunch), The Monster has made his way through many of the menu items. They have ridiculously huge chicken wings. They have egg rolls just like when The Monster was a kid. They have all the lo meins and mu shu you could want.

But by this point the order is always the same. The waiter will bring out an order of the crunchy, spicy cucumbers (free since The Monster is a recognized, gotta be known somewhere!). It’s a great way to get the ball rolling for what will admittedly become a meal that you’ll have to undo the belt buckle for later.

A steaming bowl of hot and sour soup (also gratis) will then quickly be served. It’s a nice soup, combining enough of both flavors to always finish the portion.

Already, the faint of heart might quit. At this point The Monster orders the shrimp in Szechwan hot sauce and the Yu Hsiang chicken. Both are huge portions and both are dripping in deliciously thick sauce with plump shrimp and garlicky chicken. For The Monster they are a guarantee that the afternoon will be spent complaining. Why did The Monster eat this much? Why can’t The Monster learn? Someone have pity for The Monster.

Month later The Monster will be back. He’ll do it all over again.

Why go? Holding your stomach after a gluttonous Chinese meal and kvetching sounds good to you.

Monster rating: 3 ½ Monsters

10450 National Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034

(310) 837-0252

Hu's Szechwan on Urbanspoon



Filed under Hu's Szechwan, Reviews

5 responses to “REVIEW: HU’S SZECHWAN

  1. Old Brooklyn Joke:
    How do you tell a Jewish Neighborhood?
    There’s a Chinese restaurant next to a Kosher butcher shop.

    I remember the Chinese food the Monster was raised on. In one restaurant in Brooklyn the menu said “Won Ton Soup (Kreplach)”

  2. Neal Osherow

    Hu’s is part of my lunch rotation — I’m the guy with the hot chili oil, ordering the twice-cooked pork without tofu or the kung pao chicken with extra sauce. Let’s meet there.

  3. Robert Littman

    Rob Littman
    The place is a dive BUT everything is fresh. When I arrived the help was shelling peas that left a beautiful bouquet…..the hostess (8.5 on my scale) smiled and took my order. The shrimp in lobster sauce is amazing…smooth kind of creamy and the shrimp are not from a frozen bag….The eggplant with bean sauce a bit salty but good and the egg drop soup needs two amazings…Plus I got enough food to feed me for a week. I will be back for the hostesses bright red smile and the shrimp. In which order I am not sure.

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