06/05/2012 at 04:00 PM EDT
Don't bother asking Los Angeles accountant and attorney David R. Chan what he feels like eating when you go out with him for a meal – his answer is more than likely going to be "Chinese."
The amateur restaurant reviewer for Chowhound
(his handle: Chandavkl) has eaten in more than 6,090 Chinese restaurants in the L.A.-area in the past six decades, and aims to dine at every authentic Chinese eatery around the city at least once. He even keeps a spreadsheet on his culinary conquests that dates back to 1951. Each restaurants gets comments like "dirt cheap" or "good and cheap," or has notes about his favorite dishes.
A third-generation Chinese-American (who doesn't speak Chinese or know how to use chopsticks), Chan thinks of his database of Chinese restaurants as a way of documenting the Chinese-American experience in America, as he explains to food writer Clarissa Wei
in L.A. Weekly
"You can see the progression of Chinese food in Los Angeles, first centered in Chinatown, then openings in Monterey Park, Alhambra and Montebello, then further spreading to other communities," Chan says.
He's ventured outside of Southern California, too, taking stock of Guilin noodles and dim sum from Vancouver to New York. He's got his sights set on Springfield, Mo., next, where he's looking forward to the cashew chicken.
Is there a cuisine that you could eat more than 6,000 times? Tell us in the comments below.