Via The L.A. Times:
…in the San Gabriel Valley, home to the nation’s largest Chinese American community, the [restaurant] letter-grade system is often viewed as little more than a minor intrusion on a proud cuisine ó if diners consider it at all. …
The county does not categorize restaurants by their cuisine. But, anecdotally, officials have long believed that Chinese restaurants elude A grades at a rate greater than any other type of restaurant. Consider this: 80% of the county’s eateries have an A. So why is it so hard to find an authentic Chinese restaurant with anything other than a B or C?
Chinese restaurateurs argue that their kitchens simply use too many ingredients and too many cooking techniques to comply with the all the rules of health inspectors…
They say inspectors are overly strict and that a perfect score is tantamount to destroying the flavor of their food. If a roast duck were kept at the temperature the county wants it at all times, for example, chefs say you’d be left with duck jerky, not the succulent flesh and crispy skin diners expect.
And if diners were getting sick, restaurant owners say, they wouldn’t be coming to eat in such large numbers.
Indeed, when I mentioned this article last Friday to a Chinese colleague who used to work at a Chinese restaurant, he agreed.
And in the late 1990s, when I was working at a building in Westwood, I regularly ate at a Mongolian BBQ restaurant that received a “C” letter grade and never got sick from eating there.
Which isn’t to say that one can’t get sick from eating Chinese food, but it’s never happened to me thus far. So I’m curious if the connoiseurs of Chinese food out there don’t mind eating at a Chinese restaurant that has a “C?”
UPDATE: Here’s an update.