Not noticeably different from orange chicken except in name, the tangerine chicken consists of mostly small pieces of white meat deep fried in a thick batter. This dish is very tasty, somewhat spicy, and contains no veggies whatsover. I found that I only needed a few bites to feel full due to the heaviness of deep fried chicken combined with the artificially full feeling imparted by spicy foods. Either because of MSG or because it was deep fried (I'm leaning toward the latter), this dish did not agree with my stomach, but it was definitely me and not the dish itself as my friend did not get sick. Note that you can order your food without MSG, but you have to request it.
The chicken came with hot and sour soup, which is generally hard to mess up. The soup was pretty good and pretty spicy but it had a kind of underlying musty flavor that I didn't care for. It also came with two small spring rolls, which were so dry I couldn't eat them.
On the vegetarian section of the menu, ma-po tofu was the only dish that wasn't just a plate of veggies. Fortunately, it's also a dish I like. Silken tofu squares swim in a bath of thick, spicy sauce garnished with scallions.
We also tried both a passion fruit and a peach boba tea. Both were so syrupy sweet I couldn't barely drink them, and the boba were tasteless and getting a bit mushy. If you want boba, you're better off going next door or across the street.
According to my friend who picked up our takeout order, the service was very friendly, and quite prompt. They told him the wait for our food would be ten minutes, and it was ten minutes exactly. They took care to make sure he could carry everything, including the drinks. Although there was a shift change while he was waiting, and he had no problems with a messed up order or any misunderstandings. I might also point out, in light of the recent articles, that this place has a grade A rating. You can also have the food delivered by a third party delivery service (see link to menu, below).
Overall, in spite of my criticisms, I think this place is a winner, because the food is very inexpensive, but not so inexpensive as to qualify as "cheap Chinese," which is generally a good thing where meat is involved. The menu is quite extensive, so there's something for pretty much anyone. I had this meal to go, but I've also eaten at their restaurant. It's very casual, with ambience slightly above that of a fast food restaurant--not a place for a date or to really catch up with a friend, but perfect for a quick bite to eat. As far as I can tell, there aren't a lot of options for Chinese in this part of town, so when I can't go to Mao's Kitchen, Little Hong Kong Cafe will do.
Little Hong Kong Cafe
2129 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA