For the Belly of the Beast: Fat Dragon in Los Angeles

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San Gabriel Valley may have the reputation of being SoCal’s Asian food mecca, but Fat Dragon Kitchen & Tea Bar, which just opened in LA’s Silver Lake, is bringing classic Chinese flavors out west. Owner Allen Wong, of Sticky Rice, opened Fat Dragon which serves traditional Chinese food minus the MSG and only using fresh ingredients. This fast-casual spot is located in the same shopping strip mall as Trois Familia and should be on every LA foodie’s radar.

Fat Dragon
3500 W. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
http://fatdragonla.com

The aspect of Fat Dragon that I find the most fun is the tea bar, which is not a common find in the LA scene. Since it’s fast-casual, customers can order a tea to go. They have blackboard menu (subject to change) packed with green, black, white, oolong and herbal infusion teas – bonus – they tell you how caffeinated each tea is on a scale of 1-3 tea leaves. I’m more of an iced tea lover personally, so I tried a few of them.

Ginger Rose

My personal favorite was the Ginger Rose hot tea. This tea is made with chunks of fresh ginger, rosebuds and a little brown sugar. It’s floral with a ginger kick.

Hong Kong Milk Tea & Classic Milk Tea

The Hong Kong Milk Tea is a simple black tea with sweetened milk. It just never goes out of style with my tastebuds. The Classic Milk Tea is a little sweeter but a little less creamy, if that’s what you lean towards.

For those of you looking for a pick-me-up, I recommend the Passion Fruit Cucumber Goji Berry Iced Green Tea; it will perk you up at the first sip. This iced tea is fruity, full of tart and will energize even the sleepiest person.

 

Passion Fruit Cucumber Goji Berry Iced Green Tea

Mary’s Orange Chicken

The menu at Fat Dragon offers the best in traditional Chinese-American cuisine with higher quality ingredients. The portions are pretty substantial, for two people, I recommend one main and one noodles and rice dish. My favorite Fat Dragon items are below.

Mary’s Orange Chicken – This Chinese-American dish never goes out of style. The orange sauce is a little lighter than most traditional spots, but I think that’s great, cause it allows you to focus on the freshness and crispiness of the chicken.

Fish with Black Bean Sauce

Fish with Black Bean Sauce – Whitefish is sauteed with onions and red bell peppers in a savory black bean sauce. Since the Whitefish isn’t fried, I recommend this dish for those trying to keep it on the lighter side.

Mary’s Fried Chicken

Mary’s Fried Chicken – You just can’t go wrong with fried chicken! This free-range clucker is fried crispy golden but still maintains juiciness.

Five Spiced Quail

Five Spiced Quail – Five Spice is a flavor I’ve been obsessed with this past Winter, so of course I appreciate this dish. The halved quails are fried and seasoned; it’s a simple starter but so good. Like any quail dish, there are a lot more little bones, but the meat is so good that it make paying extra attention worth it.

 

 

 

Dragon Fried Rice

Dragon Fried Rice – This was my favorite item on the menu. This traditional rice dish is fried with Chinese sausage, Chinese bacon, and kohlrabi. For those of you not familiar with kohlrabi (no shame, I wasn’t either!) it’s an Asian vegetable that is like a hybrid of cabbage and turnip. It reminded me of a less fibrous but more flavorful water chestnut. If you’re aiming to be a little healthier, you can have this dish made with brown rice.

Fortune Cookies – It ain’t Chinese food without a fortune cookie! At Fat Dragon, they are baked in house with a blackberry jam and stuffed with inspirational quotes like this one. Instead of the typical predictions, these are packed with quotes from admirable folks.

The best part of Fat Dragon is that there’s no MSG, so I was able to try all this glorious food and not leave feeling sick from too much of a good thing! If you want Chinese but don’t to make the drive to SGV, be sure to check out Fat Dragon!

Julianne

Actress and Founder of Girls on Food: I was born and raised in the suburbs of Sacramento, California. I grew up a typical “McDonald’s kid”. I was very picky about what I ate and refused to try new foods. No fun, I know. My Mom started taking me on trips to Europe when I was a teenager and that’s when my palate for finer foods began to develop. Some of my most memorable favorite meals include Veal Bolognese in Rome, Gyros in Athens, Paella in Lisbon and Duck L’Orange in Paris. While this helped me grow out of a fast food phase, I still eat out quite a bit. I know I should be at home cooking, but I love dining out. I started working in restaurants in various front of the house positions at age 15. Since my start, I’ve worked in every casual restaurant setting you can think of: a teriyaki stand, brewery, sushi nightclub, trendy Mexican, family-style Italian, American diner, pizza parlor and even a BLT themed food truck. I can't help but notice that many of the LA food bloggers don't have any sort of background working in a restaurant. A lot of my perspective on food and dining out comes from my years of experience in the biz. Since starting this blog, I have shot appearances on a couple of cooking competition shows as a taster (including MasterChef Junior and another upcoming show). We have also started producing a Youtube Channel. IMDb page here: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2023647/ For this site I contribute content from all over Los Angeles (and the world) to showcase my favorite fine-dining spots, steakhouses, exclusive supper clubs, Hollywood nightlife and our very own #GOFx events, which I plan and coordinate.

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