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Apr 12, 2007 08:48 PM

Real Street Food

I'm looking for real street food. Not taco trucks, not hot dog stands, not pizza joints. You know, food from carts, vendors or even folks selling from the trunks of cars. I want delicious stuff from quasi-legal or illegal and very mobile sources. So far I know of the ubiquitous Mexican snack of hot dog wrapped with bacon, the tamale ladies and Mexican dessert drink sellers.

Does anyone know of a really good tamale lady? The one I knew of where I used to live on DeLongpre near Highland in Hollywood wasn't very good. Too much masa.

Also, I was wondering if there were other ethnic street food other than Mexican? San Gabriel, K-town, Lil' Saigon, Thai Town, etc? I think there are a couple of vendors who hang out in front of the Hawaii Supermarket in SG. Not sure what they hawk.


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  1. Sorry its Mexican but for those interested:
    I was walking up 6th street, two saturday nights ago and the scene was crazy, unbelieveable.

    So many people on the streets - it was really dark - looking like they were buying stuff from people who had spread out a blanket on the sidewalk and set out their wares. You could barely push yourself through the people but every 20 feet or so you came across a little set up - usually a woman with a grill or one of those frying 'discs' and people all huddled around - their faces barely visible in the firelight.

    This stretched from the NE corner of MacArthur park until the Food 4 Less [more or less]. The concentration of sellers was on the north side of the street but I was walking on the south side were there were plenty of food vendors.

    No posted signs for the most part...and you will need to bring spanish skills.

    1. If you're ever in K-town, there is a korean market on western and 5th, called California market, and on most days there is a silver truck/cart in front of the store. They sell Ho Duk, which is a traditional korean street vendor food, a korean pancake made from rice (kind of mochi texture) and the inside is filled with sweet bean, honey, cinnamon, and pine nuts. They cook it right there, and it's yummy.

      1. How about Indonesian Street Food. The name of the gathering is Pondok Kaki Lima, and it happens every Saturday from 10am to 2pm at the Duarte Inn parking lot in the sleepy city of Duarte. In it you'll find dishes cooked up by families, little old ladies, and ex-restauranteurs.

        Check out some pics here:

        3 Replies
        1. re: elmomonster

          I've been this place before. My wife is Indonesian and she wasn't all impressed with the food there. She said that there's a lot of Indo restaurants in Loma Linda

            1. re: Vegasbuff

              Sorry your wife didn't care for it. Which vendor did she try? And what did she have?

              There are about six or seven food stalls there, cooking dozens of different items each (and some experiment with selling different dishes every week). Realistically speaking, they can't be all winners, but in the dozen meals I've had there, I can say that there were only two I didn't completely enjoy.

              There's one vendor that does a Nasi Bungkus that wasn't very good (better and cheaper at Toko Rame), but that same vendor does the most unbelievably decadent Es Durian (Durian shake).

              Another vendor does one of the most scrumptous Nasi Gudeg's I've ever had. And I've had Nasi Gudeg in Yogyakarta. The same booth also produces Soto Mie which is absolutely divine, lots of chewy kikil (tendon).

              What I'm trying to say is:
              Visit more than once, or try more than one item, and you will be gustatorily rewarded.

              By the way, although they are part of the same organization, the vendors are fiercely competitive with each other. It's quite fun to watch how they try to one up each other every week. The ultimate winner? My stomach.


            1. re: Curt the Soi Hound

              And there's always the fruit sellers who won't pitch in to the wat -- they're on the street on the west side of the temple complex selling fruit for $2.50.

              There's also the usual collection of Mexican fruit salad sellers. I thought that was required to be a roving thing until I saw Brianna's in Anaheim, which is an actual store. Some of the roving ones sell tejuino or tepache.

            2. In Santa Ana, there are a lot of street food by the federal court and downtown Santa Ana.

              For Chinese street foods, the closest would be the HK Supermarket Plaza in Rowland Heights. They have stands, not carts, with HK Fishballs, sticky tofu, and other stands. You can just hop stand to stand and pick up different Asian specialities that are usually sold in street vendor cards in Hong Kong or Taiwan.

              3 Replies
              1. re: WHills

                Second HK Supermarket Plaza in RH. Love, love, love the HK Fishball House. Noodle soups with shrimp for under $3! Can't beat it with a stick!

                Some pics and a review of what I'm talking about:

                1. re: elmomonster

                  WOW! I've driven by for YEARS and had no idea there was a shack there! Thanks! :)


                2. re: WHills

                  This is a very good suggestion -- and it has the right taste and "feel" as, say, the fishball stands and "honeycomb" stands in Mong Kok.