DTLA: China Cafe at Grand Central Market

China Cafe

China Cafe has long fascinated me. It’s in the center of the Grand Central Market. Known for their wontons, I was skeptical this busy lunch counter could be any good. There’s only one way to find out. We tried to wait for a couple of stools to open up but there are a lot of single diners here. They slurp up their noodles, often with beers tucked into paper bags. I’m sure they got the beer at nearby Santo’s Liquor, also at Grand Central Market.

chicken lo mein

No matter, we got our food and sat in the open seating meant for all the eateries at Grand Central Market. Oddly, they seem like pens and with the fat pigeons roaming around poking at the sawdust on the floors, it felt almost like we were eating at a state fair.

wonton seafood noodles soup

My friend got the chicken lo mein which came with a bowl of clear broth. It looked good with fresh broccoli but when I tasted a piece of chicken, it was so tough, I feared for her new Invisalign.

The wonton soups don’t come with noodles but you can add on for another buck. This would make my bowl $7.50 but it came with a generous amount of wontons- 7! Unfortunately, I didn’t care for the tiny bits of bland seafood in my bowl and if I thought the noodles were mushy for the lo mein, then I was even more shocked how bad they were in wonton soup. Then again, the broth was absolutely flavorless and taking a cue from others, I doctored it up with several squeezes of lime and chili paste. I skipped the soy sauce packets since it was salty enough and the soy wasn’t even real soy sauce anyway.

I’m somewhat interested in trying the egg foo young but I’d probably only come back for a bowl of wontons if I can’t get to Chinatown.

Santo’s Liquor

China Cafe at Grand Central Market

317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013 — (213) 628-8481

© The Minty 2012