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Aug 22, 2006 09:28 PM

ny chowhound visiting LA, looking for eating recommendations

i'll be in LA very shortly with some friends for a food tour of the city/region and was hoping to get some great eating recommendations from you guys. specifically, i was hoping that you could direct me to some of the best places to get the following*:

-vietnamese (mainly for the westminster area, but i'm open to wherever if it's excellent and authentic)
-thai (mainly thai town, but again, any location is fine)
-mexican (anywhere)
-chinese (incl. taiwanese, cantonese, sichuan, hunan as well as snack places serving boba, etc. i'm assuming most of the best places are in the san gabriel valley)
-japanese (sushi, noodle shops, izakayas, etc. looking for recs in the sawtelle/west LA area if possible.)
-burgers (other than in-n-out, apple pan, cassell's, tommy's, fatburger)
-desserts (other than mashti malone)

i'm also open to other cuisines, esp. if it's something that i can't really find in ny (e.g. armenian cuisine; if there's something other than zankou that i should definitely hit up, i'd love to hear!). not really looking to do indian cuisine on this leg of our trip, but am definitely open to cuisines such as cambodian, filipino, and other asian foods. i also have a lot of korean recs already but if there's something i shouldn't miss, please let me know!

*authenticity and high quality are a must, of course. decor/ambience doesn't matter at all. i'd also appreciate any recommended dishes, if possible.
**i'm willing to travel anywhere within greater LA, but would prefer to stay relatively close to the city wherever possible. of course, if there's something worth travelling for (e.g. vietnamese in westminster), i'd have no problem going there.

THANK YOU SO MUCH in advance for any/recommendations. i realize i'm asking a lot, but since my friends and i are going to try to eat as much as possible during our trip we wanted up-to-date suggestions.

and of course, i'd be happy to give you guys nyc food recs anytime. i'm a ny board regular (i don't always post, but check it everyday), so if you're ever planning a trip to ny, just post a similar request on the nyc board and i'll be sure to respond.

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  1. Hiya... In addition to the thai town choices, you really owe yourself a trip over the hill to the Valley's North Hollywood Wat Thai weekend-only street vendor experience. The temple grounds are swarming with hungry chowhounds and friendly thai folk selling very inexpensive street food from chicken and pork skewers to duck soups and noodle dishes to fragrant papaya salad to garlicky sausages to coconut custard cups to sticky rice and mango. Genuinely satisfying to all the senses. The neighborhood is often rife with construction and a sense of valley-drought, but the serene temple and the not-so-serene but amiable vendor scene is a must-taste treat. Oh, and you purchase tokens/chits to pay for the grub, mostly in the $1, $2, and $3 range. Enjoy...

    1. I just posted on the NY board asking for recs. Going in September and looking forward to it.

      Here's some of my recent favorites:

      thai: Sanamluang Cafe in Thai town.

      japanese: Kotohira in Gardena (udon that will haunt you forever -- get the dry udon without the soup base); in Sawtelle area: Chabuya for ramen (love the smoky miso soup base), kiriko for sushi; in Little Tokyo by downtown: orochon for ramen; in west LA -- just went recently, and I thought Sushi Zo was fantastic.

      dessert: definitely try the desert tasting menu at Providence. Providence is definitely worth it for an entire meal, but you can go there and just get dessert.

      1. Welcome to LA

        Here's my 0.02 for you ...

        *SinBaLa (651 W. Duarte Rd., Arcadia, 626-446-0886) for Taiwanese sausages, pork chop rice, fish ball soup and Taiwanese slush

        *Dai Ho (9148 Las Tunas Dr., Temple City, 626-291-2295), great beef noodle soup, dan-dan mein, and pickled veggies

        *QQ (9441 1/2 Las Tunas Dr., Temple City, 626-292-1128), literally a hole-in-the-wall, but if it's Taiwanese street food you want then you'll find it here (website:


        *Babita (1823 South San Gabriel Blvd., San Gabriel, 626-288-7265), great haute-Mexican cuisine.

        I'm sure others will chime in with more recs ...

        Enjoy your stay.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ipsedixit

          QQ Kitchen got a new owner about a year ago. From what I've heard, it's not nearly as good as it was before. The original staff of QQ Kitchen has since started a new restaurant that seems to have opened just recently. It is located in the mini-mall directly east of its old location. It replaced a Korean restaurant. It's still a hole in the wall.

          Won Won Kitchen
          9461 Las Tunas Dr.
          Temple CIty 91780

        2. Izakaya: My favorite is Wakasan on Westwood (recommended to me by the chef at Urasawa of all people), it's a $25 prix-fixe omakase, about 9-10 small dishes. Also really liked the Torrance branch of Musha.

          Ramen: Santouka in the Mitsuwa center in Torrance, hands down the best. Daikokuya in Little Tokyo, also good. Shin Sen Gumi in Gardena, more festive and a lot more side dishes, great for hanging out.

          Thai: Nadpob in Silverlake. Fiery salads, very authentic.

          Desserts: Jin Patisserie on Abbott Kinney, a nice break during the afternoon.

          Indonesian: Simpang Asia on National, reasonably authentic Indonesian street fare. Indo Kitchen in Alhambra, also good.

          1. Sushi- Sushi Masu on Westwood Blvd. just south of Santa Monica Blvd. Very good, unpretentious, Masu is owner and sushi chef.
            Also, Sushi Echigo upstairs 1 block West of Bundy on Santa Monica also very good.
            Chinese-good hole in the wall- Hopwoo on Olympic and Sepulveda. Great lobster dishes.
            Mexican seafood-La Serenata Gourmet on Pico just West of Westwood blvd. One dwontown also more famous. Also love Casablanca at Lincoln and Rose. They make their own flour tortillas and have a great chicken casserole dish + all the other Mexican stuff.
            I eat at all the fancy places in LA, but these are some of my favorite ethnic places.