New Yorker SUPER FOODIE Needs Recs.
First of all, start listening to the Good Food podcasts on KCRW (kcrw.com). Start reading Jonathan Gold's Counter Intelligence article in the LA Weekly (laweekly.com). For the best tacos, read the blog lataco.com
LA is filled with ethnic food but, unlike Manhattan, you might have to drive 30-60 minutes to get the best of the best.
Some of the best Asian ethnic foods - including, but not limited to, Chinese (Szechuan, Canton, Hunan, etc.), Taiwanese, Vietnamese, et. al - found in San Gabriel Valley/Monterey Park.
Korean BBQ and tofu houses found in or near Koreatown.
Many people enjoy Thai food in the Wat Thai temple...
Let's see -- I live in the Valley (the Brooklyn of LA) so most of these will be up here, but they're generally cheap and all great.
Pho 999 or Pho So 1 (Van Nuys)
Quan Hy (Westminster)
Nha Hang My Hanh (South El Monte)
S Vietnamese Fine Dining (Westminster)
Banh Mi Che Cali (Rosemead, Westminster)
Vinh Loi Tofu (Reseda)
CHINESE -- ask Jerome for better recs, he's much better than I
China Islamic (Monterey Park)
Sin Ba La Taiwanese (Arcadia)
Din Tai Fung (Arcadia)
NBC Seafood for dim sum (Monterey Park)
Malan Noodles (Hacienda Heights)
Soot Bull Jeep (Koreatown)
Sa Rit Gol (Koreatown)
Chosun Galbee (Koreatown)
Beverly Soon Tofu (Koreatown)
Sagan (Buena Park)
Seoul Grindz (Glendale)
Ka-San (La Crescenta)
Shinsengumi (Torrance, Gardena, Fountain Valley)
Daichan (Studio City - not the kaiten sushi place)
Santouka Ramen (Torrance)
Hakata Ramen (Torrance, Fountain Valley)
Gyu-Kaku (Sherman Oaks)
Urasawa (Beverly Hills)
Tama (Studio City)
Asanebo (Studio City)
Nozawa (Studio City)
Hide (West LA)
Wat Thai (North Hollywood, weekend lunches only)
Thai Nakorn (Garden Grove)
Yai (Thai Town)
Krua (North Hollywood, West Covina)
Swan (North Hollywood)
Sanamluang (Thai Town, North Hollywood)
Bua Siam (North Hollywood)
Sri Siam (North Hollywood)
Ambala Dhaba (Artesia)
Woodlands (Artesia, Chatsworth)
India Sweets & Spices (Canoga Park, West LA)
To be continued...
Manila Good-Ha (Panorama City, Glendale, Koreatown)
Max's of Manila (Glendale)
Babita (San Gabriel)
La Serenata de Garibaldi (East LA -- don't go to WLA/SM branches)
Tacos Baja Ensenada (East LA)
El Taco Nazo (South El Monte)
Mariscos Colima (North Hollywood)
Carnitas Michoacan (Valley Glen/North Hollywood)
El Taco Llama (North Hollywood -- Magnolia/Bakman branch ONLY)
Skaf's Grill (North Hollywood)
Carnival (Sherman Oaks)
Olive Branch (La Crescenta)
Sunnin (West LA)
Javan (West LA -- service alert)
Meals By Genet (Mid-City)
Fassica (Culver City)
And before you get homesick and ask, no, we haven't got any New York pizza, New York bagels, or New York egg rolls that measure up to snuff. Langer's pastrami is excellent and would do a land-office business even if it were next door to Katz's.
I was only there for a summer, but these were some of my ethnic favs:
Katmandu (Nepalese) in Culver City
Sanamluang (Thai) in Thai Town
Annapurna (South Indian) in Culver City (very good dosas)
La Golondrina (Mexican) in Olvera Street. (A popular choice but probably not a Chowhound choice--nevertheless, the perfect guacamole, thick, seed-based hot sauce, fantastic homemade flour tortillas, and fresh fish make it a winner in my eyes.)
How to capture a lifetime of eating recommendations into one email? it's impossible, so I'll just share a couple of my favorites. Or maybe more than a couple...
Langer's for pastrami
Mama's Hot Tamales for central american tamales
Whittier Blvd in East LA for taco trucks
La Playita for ceviche
Tacos Baja Ensenada for fish tacos
Monte Alban for Oaxacan food
Sa Rit Gol for Korean food
Hide Sushi for good, cheaper, cash-only sushi
Sushi Sasabune for more expensive omakase
Sushi Zo for high quality, classic sushi
Santa Monica farmers markets for produce that will blow away a New Yorker.
Add to all the great suggestions above:
Chicken-Itza for panuchos (near USC)
La Flor de Yucatan a bakery, for that amazing ham/cheese torte (la hardro? I'm butchering the language) and chocinita pibil (weekends only) - Hoover & Washington
Kobawoo for acorn noodles, mung-bean pancake, on Vermont
Daikokuya for Ramen Japantown
Palms Thai for the fun of watching the Asian Elvis impersonator (dinner only)
Chameau - French Moroccon (Fairfax/Beverly)
Ma Dang Gook Soo (Korean noodles) on Western
Magic Carpet - Yemenite Jewish, eggplant assortment appetizer and the melawach, a crunchy pancake, choose your topping (closed for Shabbat)
Wednesday farmer's market in Santa Monica is astounding. Love the Caribbean curry at the Hollywood F.M. on Sunday.
haha "super foodie." oh reeeaaaally? =P
santouka in torrance for ramen.
manpuku (sawtelle) and tama-en (lomita) for yakiniku, unless you can get into totoraku.
shin sen gumi in gardena for yakitori.
gaja in lomita for okonomiyaki.
urasawa for sushi but if you truly are a super foodie you're probably in with masa in nyc.
overall, you will not find better japanese food in new york than in LA that's for sure.
*throws down the gauntlet*
re: mc michael
Come on now...
We all know that a REAL super foodie goes to Wat Thai Temple, Shibucho Costa Mesa, Bulgarini, Monte Alban, Bay Cities Italian Deli, Roscoes Chicken and Waffles, Mashti Malone's, Langer's, Krua Thai, Taco's Baja Ensenada, Zankou, Phillipes, Sapp Coffee House, La Playita/Mariscos Gullen, and Indo Cafe...
...all in one day and still hasn't spent what you'd spend on one meal at Cut, Spago, Urasawa, Valentino, AOC, or the Water Grill.
Again, you make the call.
re: mc michael