As I mentioned a few pages back in writing about a Chinese restaurant called Wan-Q, my family had its favorite place to get chow mein and it wasn’t Kowloon.

Kowloon was at 6124 W. Pico Boulevard,  just east of La Cienega.  It was across the street from where the post office there now is located.  I remember it as a dark place with nice decor but they didn’t prepare the food the way Wan-Q did and so we didn’t like it and now that I think about it, I’m not sure why we even went there.  I think it was my Aunt Dot’s penchant for trying new things that caused us to forsake a Chinese restaurant we loved and which was closer to us for one that was a bit farther away and an unknown quantity.  To this day, if I find a place I like, I stick with it and don’t bypass it for something that, at best, might be just as good.  I think this all flows from the lesson I learned when we tried Kowloon.

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53 Responses to Kowloon

  • Mary Lisa Flanigan says:

    I just found a menu from Kowloon in my mother’s attic. I don’t know what year it is from, I believe the early 60’s. It has newspaper articles on the inside covers and features photos of drinks, including the Scorpian Bowl. It also features the Foreign Correspondent’s Special for $5 that a previous person mentioned. Luckily I am old enough to appreciate this gem rather than just tossing it as I might have 10 years ago! Glad to have found it on this website.

  • Donielle Slaughter says:

    I remember Kowloon as a little girl. My dad would take my mom and I there all the time. I had my first Shirley Temple there and would ALWAYS order sweet and sour chicken. ❤️ Fond memories.

  • Joyce Dugan says:

    When I was a little kid (would have been the mid 50s) we lived near Pico and La Brea and used to Kowloon. It’s the first Chinese food I ever ate and I wish I could eat it again. Though our tastes in Asian food have become more sophisticated, nothing can top the flavors of Kowloon and the lovely owners and staff. And thanks for reminding me of the pineapple in creme de menthe!! We were transplanted Chicagoans and Mom said it was as good as anything back home. Quite a compliment.

  • Raymond Woo says:

    Wow I thourghly enjoyed ever comment about the KowloonRestaurant.. The two Owners were Joe Ho and ? Lim. Joe worked as a waiter from My Gandfather’s New Shanghai Cafe in Culver City across fron RKO/Deslu Studios( Washington Blvd). I was 6 years old, I helped Joe sweep the floors, he told me sometimes monies would fall out of people’s pocket. I could keep what ever I find when sweeping the floor. New Shanghai Cafe had the the cleanest floor in the state. It took 3 weeks before I found my first nickle. Joe was a portly man with a friendly way with people. My neighbor Junior was the part time car attend, during his LA College years. My dad continued Old Shanghai Cafe ( LA, Broadway/Vernon) and later open Woo’s Garden in Inglewood (1960). My grandfather continued New Shanghai and helped several other get started in Cantonese restaurants in China Town (Ginglin Way). Great to remissness. Cheers

  • Gina W. says:

    Kowloon was THEE place to go when my family wanted to splurge bak in the 60’s. Their BIGGEST dinner was called the Correspondent’s Dinner….7 courses at least….and it cost a whopping FIVE BUCKS per person. (a lot in the early to mid 60’s)

    Over the years I was able to get some of their recipes from the LA Times SOS column in its food section…Chicken Salad, Cube Steak Walnut Chicken….which I have to this day. When I make Chinese at home I always try to replicate that menu. I have never found a Chinese restaurant to equal Kowloon. Panda Inn (the original on Foothill in Pasadena) came fairly close but now that I live in So OC there is nothing that compares to Kowloon (or even Panda)

    OK…raise your hand if you were ever able to finish a Scorpion! In my adult years for of us would split one and STILL got looped! Remember the big clam shell it was served in…and the floating gardenias? Man…..there just aren’t any restaurants like THAT anymore! God how I miss Kowloon! Thanks for the memories everyone contributed.

  • Chris Cole says:

    Does no one remember the egg roll? I’m still looking for an egg roll that comes close. It was large, maybe two inches in diameter (although I was a little kid), so big they brought it to the table sliced in maybe 4 huge slices – might have been two rolls, side by side, but not sure. Large chunks of tender pork. The outer wrapper was wonderfully soft, I believe fried and then finished in the oven (am guessing). If I could get a recipe…

  • D. S. says:

    When I was a little girl we lived just a mile or two from Kowloon’s. (c. 1959-1965). I will never forget that place. To me, it was a deep, dark, exotic cave with bamboo everywhere, and a lit-up fountain in the front entrance where my mother let me make a wish and toss a penny in. It was there my father convinced me that the meat they used in the little silver triangles (paper-wrapped chicken) was actually elephant meat. Being an astute gourmet at the ripe age of three, I tried to hide my astonishment while nodding knowingly, as I nibbled. My family and I loved Kowloon’s. I am sad it is no more.

  • Paul Panella says:

    My wife and I dined at Kowloon frequently in the 1980’s as we lived close by. Such great memories. I’ll never forget their delicious food and the striking decor. Their wild exotic drinks were unlike anything else in Los Angeles including Trader Vic’s. And the drinks were big. Have one too many (and that likely meant two) and we referred to your state of inebriation as being “Kowlooned”.

  • Yucca cul de sac in Scottsdale (NW) says:

    I never could have gone to Kowloon, so this is not a memory, proper. I have read of it recently in Ken Caillat’s book from 2012 about music. Some story about fun with the alcoholic drink straws. I think his father worked at Ames Research, & that could be N.A.S.A. I liked the foil: exotic drinks & aerospace.

  • Bruce says:

    that was our bar hangout (in addition to eating there once a week) drinks were 1.10 each and we would have four and leave a fiver on the bar. my liver has just now recovered after 35 yrs.

  • Miles Wachner in tokyo says:

    Next year 2019 is the hundredth birthday of musso and Frank’s on Hollywood Blvd.

  • Miles Wachner in tokyo says:

    Anyone remember the French restaurant on sunset Blvd near la brea with an Eiffel Tower on the roof.

  • Miles Wachner in tokyo says:

    My mother, Audrey Kearns, wrote a restaurant-nightclub column for the now defunct Hollywood citizen news. We ate at the Kowloon for most of my youth and got to know the owners, chefs etc. every thanksgiving and Christmas for about ten years, my mother received a fully cooked and stuffed turkey or glazed ham from the Kowloon

  • Mark B. says:

    Ate here several times as a kid in the mid-60’s, and the food was always good. Although I can’t substantiate it, my father always claimed they operated an illegal gambling casino in the basement here that was accessed via a freezer door in the kitchen. Anyone else ever hear this rumor?

  • Bill James says:

    Having grown up I the Pico/Fairfax are Kowloon and Wan-Q in addition to The Islander on La Cienega were special places in my childhood days (50’s and 60’s) for dinner. Those were places we went to for birthdays and etc. The food was very good and the atmosphere was great.
    We long for those days at times.

  • Trish Smiley says:

    I remember going there as a child in the early sixties my mom and her boyfriend used to take me there it was the only place I remember ever having Chinese. I love the bacon wrapped shrimp and the little foiled pouches of chicken and my favorite was the creme de menthe pineapple chunks I still wish that place was still around I recently moved back to the LA area a few years ago and wanted to go only to find out they were there so many of the good ones are gone.

  • SANDRA Wilkins says:

    We ate at Kowloon after our wedding reception. Had many dinners there while dating and with my family. What was the name of the drink served in a pineapple?

  • Bob Borgen says:

    Thanks Jerry — I’ll check it out — but maybe just take a look!

  • Bob Borgen says:

    Thanks Jerry Mezerow!

  • Jerry Mezerow says:

    To Bob Borgen- There is a Kowloon Menu for sale on ebay. It is very pricey because of exotic drink pictures from the old days. Check it out.

  • Rich says:

    Kowloon was one of my favorite Chinese eating places. I flew my soon-to-be wife and myself from San Diego to L.A. just to eat at Kowloon and introduce my Mom to my new best friend. We flew back to San Diego that same night. The food was great, the appetizers fabulous, and the atmosphere fun. What super memories!!

  • Chris says:

    Hey there,,well I have a menu from kowllows on pico,,I found a bunch of old menu from a bunch of old l.a resto ..mean some real cool ones,,a bunch from the 40s,,the kowllows one is cool,,has the pictures of the drinks,,real cool..

  • Dayna R. says:

    Yes, my family went to Kowloon for special occasions as well– wonderful childhood memories— dark and exotic, the adults had cocktails & the kids
    had Shirley Temples, sweet & sour pork, paper-wrapped chicken, fried rice…
    yummy stuff no one dares to eat anymore.

  • Cyrus says:

    As a kid our family used to drive all the from Orange County to Kowloon’s. I remember my dad used to always get the Lobster Cantonese. The whole family loved the place. This was in the late 60’s to 70’s. On my 21st birthday my dad took me there for my first legal drink, i got a Fog Cutter. I have never found a Chinese restaurant I liked as much as Kowloon’s.

  • Al says:

    Fu’s Palace is a good Chinese restaurant but I still can’t believe that it’s in the Wan-Q building. The atmosphere of both of them are so different from each other.

  • Mike Shawn says:

    Always loved Kowloon. They had a small waterfall as you walked in and the red carpet was kept damp by the spray. This was before people would freak out by the word mold. One of their drinks was served in the shell of a pineapple and the chunks were soaked in rum. You drank the booze, took home the pineapple, placed it in the fridge, and had a hangover cure for the next day. The last time I was there was in the early 90’s and it was being used as an underground dance club.

  • RS says:

    I only went there in its declining years, but Kowloon was still an amazing place because of the magical decor, the kind of professional service you can’t find anymore, and because it was one of the last places to execute perfectly the classics of American-Chinese cooking, a cuisine that is now sadly just a memory.

  • jedd gilbert says:

    Kowloons was the only place my mom took us for Chinese when we were little and I loved it, the food was excellent, loved the bacon wrapped shrimp

  • Mark A Brown says:

    I want pictures of the interior! This was our special place to go for a celebration dinner. I remember all of the beautiful bamboo species that made up the separate eating places and the glass enclosed running water gardens, the rumaki,won ton soup and paper wrapped chicken etc. Shirley Temple drinks for us kids.
    Oh for a place like that to go for real food! Supposedly a lot of movers and shakers in the movie industry went there although that may have just been my salesman father talking the place up for us.

  • Debbie says:

    Drove down Pico recently, and it hit me, that’s where Kowloon’s was located. My grandparents lived near there and that’s where we always had big family gatherings. Someone previously mentioned the pineapple chunks in the creme de menthe cream. I can still taste it. I can still hear the little fountain/little waterfall? in one of the rooms. I miss those good times.

  • Karen SDRT says:

    My folks were transplanted New Yorkers also and loved Kowloon’s food (although for some reason my mom pronounced the name “coo-lon”). Going there from our home near LAX was a family special occasion in the early to mid-1960’s. I don’t remember too much about the food, but do remember the dark lighting, big booths along the exotic aquarium and the pineapple soaked in creme de menthe which we then duplicated at home as a special dessert (we kids were allowed only one small bite)!

  • Mary Anne says:

    In the 1960’s, the Kowloon was our “go to” place for special occasions. I celebrated my 15th birthday there. We would always order the “Foreign Correspondent’s Special”. I believe it came with Lobster Cantonese that my dad loved. The pineapple chunks on a bed of shaved ice, drenched in crème de menthe was delicious. My much younger sister, after being taken to Kowloon for the first time, insisted that all of her food be served in bite sized pieces with toothpicks like the pineapple at Kowloon. I still remember the delicious food there, even 50 years and many miles away later.

  • Helene says:

    We ate often as a family at Kowloon late 50’s till mid 60’s. I recall an area that was full of live fish, like the whole wall. The paper wrapped chicken before it came in foil. Mid 60’s I would get takeout with my boyfriend and we would eat at the Drive In….good times. Oh and the almond cookie!

  • Tim Wells says:

    Kowloon was my choice for Chinese for many years. Good food, great service, and the best “exotic” cocktails ever. I also loved the ambiance. It was like stepping back it time to when “going out” was something special. I, and many of my friends, lament it’s demise.

  • Bob Koch says:

    We use to go there when I was a kid and I thought it was so cool because of the decor and the food.

  • Vicki says:

    A treasured memory from my childhood, Kowloon was a special treat in the 60s. The decor was magical to a child, the food exotic.

  • Ricky says:

    Yes , I also remember the big blue booths. I also remember the last time I went there with friends a large cockroach decided to join our party . There he was sitting on top of the big blue booth.

  • Calendula says:

    And no place else served the pineapple chunks soaked in creme de menthe!

  • Karen says:

    We loved Kowloon when I was a kid in the 60s. I was enchanted with those booths along the wall next to that long pretty garden atrium. A magical place for a kid. Loved the food too.

  • ArchiesBoy says:

    I’ll never forget their paper-wrapped chicken, and I was just a kid then, back in the 40s!

  • Bill James says:

    I remember going to Kowloon’s for special occassion celebrations as a kid. Great food. People use to have dinners flown back east for their enjoyment.

  • Bonnie says:

    This was a favorite dinner place for my family in the sixties. My parents were from New York, and they said Kowloon’s was the closest match for New York Chinese food, which they felt was superior to LA’s at least in those days. They had wonderful soups, which you could get to go, if you brought in your own pot!

    I remember they got kind of seedy in later years and eventually closed down. A loss for the city of LA.

  • John Hindsill says:

    This is not per se about Kowloon, although I did eat there a few times.

    This afternoon I was telling some friends about this wonderful website. They were really jazzed, asking if this or that store was mentioned here. Kowloon came up, and our friend mentioned that from 1961-1963 she & her coworkers from the Bank of America across the street often lunched there. I told her my cousin Esther worked in that branch for 30 odd years including that period. She remembered her, and was surprised, that Esther, now about 98 years old, is still alive.

    Also, I expect Old Restaurants may receive a new visitor soon.

  • RJ says:

    By the time I went in the 1980s, I don’t think the main selling point was the food. But I do remember them serving a drink called The Scorpion that was served in a big punch bowl, which you sipped from straws. Talk about a potent potable…

  • Mike says:

    I grew up in Beverlywood, on Olin St, between Robertson & Canfield, but I went to Uni High, and then Santa Monica College, and I remember a lot of my classmates at Uni, and Santa Monica College knew this restaurant as a place that didn’t card people for alcohol, even when it was pretty obvious that they were underage. Of course, back then, in the mid to late 80’s, a lot of places weren’t as strict, and didn’t check ID’s like they do now. Never ate here though, but my family did eat at Wan Q’s on Pico a couple of times.

  • Bob Borgen says:

    I would love to find an old menu from there someday….I remember their biggest special was the “Foreign Correspondents Special” — featuring a lot of items — but for the whopping price of $7.50 per person in 1970.

  • Carolyn Kunin says:

    Oh, dear. I’m salivating. The tastes, the smells and the decor (behind the rows of booths on one side was a recreation of a miniature chinese garden). We went there on Friday nights and one time were met with an odd sign stating that the restaurant was closed to accomodate the wedding party of Margaret O’Brien.

    Oh – and the pressed duck – like everything else – was delectable. I have since learned to appreciate other styles of Chinese cooking, but Kowloon’s was best of all.

  • Shelly says:

    Went their as a child. Never have had better Chinese appetizer fried shrimp since.

  • Lola says:

    Kowloon had a dessert that I loved: pineapple chunks awash in a puddle of creme d’menthe. It is the only place I’ve ever been served that. The rest of their food was good, but not particularly memorable.

  • Bob Kaplan says:

    I went to Kowloon many times when I was younger and I worked across the street at Big Town Market for several years. Great memories.

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