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Dinner around the world - help!

I'm on a quest to eat a representative meal from every country in the world. Of course, most I'll have to make myself, but whenever possible I want to eat the real deal at restaurants.

I'm from Texas, coming to Anaheim for a conference at the end of October. Will be in the area for 7 days, and I'd like to have 7 great lunches and an equal number of great dinners - from as many countries as possible. I've had the basics - Thai, Chinese, French, etc.

What would really please me would be some not-so-basics. How about Tunisian food? Cambodian? Bangladeshi? Nicaraguan? You get the idea - things I'd not easily find anywhere but in a place like LA.

So, can you help out this ambitious taste-bud-traveler?


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  1. Cambodian is easy. Long Beach actually has a designated Cambodia Town. Two restaurants that have both received good reviews here are:

    1. Monorom 2150 East Anaheim Street Long Beach (562) 987-0130

    2, Siem Reap 1810-1812 East Anaheim Street Long Beach (562) 591-7414

    I'm sure you will be getting more recommendations for other places to try to complete your "trip"

    1. For a start, take advantage of L.A.'s vast Central American and South American communities and have food from El Salvador, Columbia, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil and Ecuador. Don't have time to list them all but search the L.A. board under these countries and you'll find plenty of choices.
      Also, Long Beach for Cambodian, Hollywood and North Hollywood for the best Thai.

      1. Well, immediately adjacent to Anaheim is Orange County's Little Saigon -- you can definitely get Vietnamese food there. You can have Indonesian in Rowland Heights (in Yes Plaza at the corner of Colima and Fullerton Rd). Anaheim has an Eritrean restaurant called Merhaba at the corner of Ball Rd and Dale St and an Ethiopian place (honestly, the food is identical) called Tana on La Palma Avenue. Palestine is represented by Anaheim's Little Gaza, near the intersection of Ball and Brookhurst, Lebanon by Zena's Lebanese on Tustin Street in the city of Orange. There's North Korean in LA's Koreatown, though I disremember the name of the restaurant -- someone will chime in, it's the dongchimi place where they won't let you take the leftovers.

        There are Pakistani restaurants in Artesia, about a 30 minute drive from Anaheim, and an Uzbek restaurant (Uzbekistan) in Hollywood. Burmese food can be had in Whittier (Golden Triangle); Laotian can be had in Long Beach, but no specific restaurant names spring to mind.

        We have Turner New Zealand in Costa Mesa, and Springbok Bar & Grill in Long Beach for South African; Kabo Cafe in Long Beach has Belgian, American and Congolese food. (OK, it has like two Congolese dishes, but still... where are you going to get a Congolese restaurant anywhere??) There's Kalesa Grill in Anaheim which will give you Filipino food and Dunarea, also in Anaheim, has Romanian food despite describing itself as "European cuisine".

        Further afield is a Bolivian restaurant in North Hollywood's arts district; more Guatemalan bakeries than you can shake a stick at in the San Fernando Valley; a Colombian restaurant that's technically in Burbank; a bunch of Jamaican places in Inglewood.

        1. Warszawa (or Polka ) for Polish
          Los Balcones de Peru or Qusqo for Peruvian
          Chibcha for Colombian
          Derrick's for Jamaican
          Aristo Cafe (or Sofra) for Turkish
          Manila Sunrise (or Aristocrat) for Filipino
          Tigeorges' Kitchen for Haitian
          El Asador for Nicaraguan
          Uzbekistan for Uzbek
          Csardas for Hungarian
          Vienna Cafe for Austrian
          Selamat Detang (or Belacan Grill) for Malaysian
          Indo Cafe (or Ramayani) for Indonesian
          Tagine or Mouns of Tunis or Katoubia for Moroccan
          Rinconcito Ecuatoriano for Ecuadorian
          Los Chorros for El Salvadorean

          1. How far are you willing to drive? While OC has many choices like Vietnamese, Korean, etc, your options expand immensely if you expand your driving radius. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you're attending a conference, you might not have time to drive out to all these recommendations and then come back for the afternoon session. Thrown in the Orange Crush factor and it's conceivable that you end up spending more time in a car than you will in a restaurant.

            1 Reply
            1. re: SauceSupreme

              Your point about drive time is well taken. I'm willing to drive far for the unusual. How far? 90 minutes I guess.

              However, given my parameters (in Anaheim for a conference), part of what's great about this board and the input I've had is that I can start mapping out what could be reached for lunch and what would need to wait until dinner. I'll also stay 1.5 days after the conference for fun and have more time/space at my disposal.

              These suggestions are fantastic! I'm most grateful.

            2. Since you're willing to drive in the evening, how about the Tibet-Nepal House in Pasadena for dinner one night? This is a link to the full menu: http://tibetnepalhouse.com/menu_print... and this is a link to the website:http://tibetnepalhouse.com .

              Not a bad drive from Anaheim - straight up the 57 to the 210 and then head west - can be done in an hour if not at rush hour.

              Tibet Nepal House
              36 E. Holly Street, Pasadena, CA 91103

              5 Replies
              1. re: ElsieDee

                ...but in rush hour will take 2 or more hours (trust me on this, I split my worktime between Orange and Burbank and have lived both in the Valley and in Anaheim)... always, always, always check sigalert.com or commuteview.net. Chow is worth driving for, but if you're angry and upset when you get there, the food won't taste as good.

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  Excellent point on the two hours and the anger affecting enjoyment of food.

                  Perhaps it'd be worth considering on the day after the OP's conference ends, when they say that they'll have more time for travel? It's my understanding that the lunch buffet is quite good.

                  Another idea (may have been suggested up-thread, but I'm having trouble expanding the previous posts) would be to check out some of the Ethiopian places in LA (a search should yield decent results).

                  1. re: ElsieDee

                    There's an Ethiopian place and an Eritrean place (why the distinction, I don't know, the food is identical but named in Tigrinya at Merhaba and Amharic at Tana) both in Anaheim. Not as good as South Fairfax Avenue, but good enough to save the drive.

                    And my explorations last night turned up a North Korean place in Garden Grove, Ham-hung. (Naengmyon is a speciality of North Korea, but it's certainly not limited to North Korean restaurants -- the menu, however, advertises Pyongyang-style and Hamhung-style naengmyon, which are North Korean.)

                  2. re: Das Ubergeek

                    I was on the 5 this weekend going to a function @ the Empress Pavillion; it took 1.5 hours. So, from OC to LA on a weekend, anticipate at least an hour and a half for travel...and then some for parking.

                  3. re: ElsieDee

                    If you'd like to add a taste of yak to your dining experience, do try Tibet-Nepal House, as ElsieDee suggested. The restaurant has a great Sat-Sun brunch, though you'll have to order the yak from the menu.

                  4. Ah, a post after my own heart. I've eliminated all those in the San Fernando Valley as being too far. The info is not complete on all of them and I hope they're all still in business:

                    Argentina - Carlito's Gardel - West Hollywood

                    Bangladesh - Makkah Halal - Korea Town

                    Belgium - Brussels Bistro - Laguna Beach

                    Benin - Uncle Al's Seafood - Long Beach

                    Belize - Little Belize - Inglewood

                    Bosnia - Aroma Cafe - W.L.A.

                    Bulgaria - Danube - Westwood
                    1303 Westwood Blvd., (310) 473-2414

                    Burma - Golden Triangle - Whittier
                    (562) 945-6778

                    Chile - Rincon Chileno - Hollywood

                    Costa Rica - La Casa de Fernando - Anaheim
                    (714) 527-2010

                    Crotia - Ante's - San Pedro

                    Ecuador - El Caserio - Silverlake

                    Egypt - Pharaoh's Restaurant - Orange
                    1841 E Chapman Ave, (714) 633-8570

                    Enteria - Red Sea - Culver City
                    (310) 202-7425

                    German - Jagerhaus - Anaheim

                    Haiti - Tigeorge's Chicken - Downtown-ish L.A.

                    Hungary - Duna Csarda - West(?) Hollywood

                    Kenya - Ngoma - Mid-Wilshire (& other mid-African countries).

                    Korea - Soot Bull Jeep - KoreaTown

                    Indonesia - Toko Rame - Bellflower

                    Ivory Coast - Sweet Africa Fast Food - Inglewood (6 tables).
                    (310) 674-6008

                    Lebanese - Sunnin - Long Beach
                    (562) 433-9000

                    Lithuanian - Tanya's Russian Bistro - Rancho Palos Verdes
                    (310) 521-9621 (Cook/Chef is from Kaunas).

                    Mayalsian - Belacan Grill - Rendodo Beach

                    Morocco - Tagine - West Hollywood

                    Mozambique - Mozambique - Laguna Beach

                    Nepal - Katmandu Kitchen - WLA (south)

                    Nigeria - Lagos Cafe - Gardena
                    (310) 768-3972

                    No. Korea - Yongsusan - K-Town

                    Pakistan - Shan - Artesia

                    Peru - Kotosh at Kamiyana - Torance (Peruvian/Japanese).

                    Poland - Warszawa - Santa Monica

                    Russia - Trakir - West Hollywood
                    (323) 654-3030

                    Senegal - Bistro 4040 - Baldwin Hills
                    (323) 290-0988

                    Serbia - Metro Cafe - Culver City

                    Singapore - Banana Leaf - West Hollywood
                    3rd st Farmer's market

                    South Africa - Springbok - Long Beach

                    Switzerland - Waterfront cafe - Venice

                    Syria - Sham - Santa Monica

                    Trinidad & Tobago - Caribbean Treehouse - Inglewood
                    (310) 330-1170

                    Tunisia - Moun of Tunis - Hollywood

                    Uzbekistan - Uzbekistan - Hollywood
                    (323) 464-3663

                    Venezuela - Coupa Cafe - Beverly Hills

                    1 Reply
                    1. For Nicaraguan, El Gallo Pinto in Azusa is very good

                      1. Two of the world's most eclectic and varied cuisines have a fair amount of representation in the general LA area. Peruvian and Persian cuisines have tons of history and cultures attributing to their respective evolutions.

                        Peruvian is somewhat scattered all over So Cal, and I don't know the ones in OC. But in the LA area, a few come to mind in no order:

                        Las Quenas on Sherman Way
                        12708 Sherman Way
                        North Hollywood, CA 91605

                        Los Balcones del Peru
                        1360 Vine St
                        Hollywood, CA 90028

                        5786 Melrose Ave
                        LA, CA 90038

                        El Rocoto

                        Kotosh at Kamiyama

                        Persian restos for the most part are concentrated in the Westwood area of Los Angeles called, "Tehrangeles," Beverly Hills, the San Fernando Valley, and some Glendale. Moreover, alot of Persian restos, markets and bakeries are on Westwood Blvd in Westwood.

                        Shamshiri (lots of loveon this board for price/quality/service/quantity
                        )1712 Westwood Blvd
                        LA, CA 90024

                        Flame (recently reviewed by J. Gold, LA Weekly)

                        1422 Westwood Blvd
                        LA, CA 90024

                        Rose Market (various Persian groceries, but known for their Persian ice creams
                        )1922 Westwood Blvd
                        LA, CA 90024

                        I envy you for all the choices that you're having to choose from, especially if it's your first shot at all of these recs from our posters. But on the same token I feel for you in having to narrow your choices down to the final list. Realistically, if you choose to head to LA from the OC, try to travel on our freeways during the off-hours. AM and PM rush hours on the 5 can be horrid, as well as alot of the other freeways that you'll most likely be navigating. And I'm not sure if your experiences in Thai and Chinese have been in the general LA and San Gabriel Valley areas - if not, then give these cuisines another shot - I think you'll be amazed.

                        1. I am deeply grateful for these suggestions. This trip will now be a great adventure. I promise I will take notes on my experience and post them here after the visit to your fair town(s).


                          1. Filipino food can be found in Cerrotis, which isn't too far from OC.

                            Magic Wok is good for traditional food, in a hole in the wall setting. Uhh....the link thing didn't work right for it.....but its the one in Cerritos near ARtesia Blvd. Here's a review from elmomonster.

                            If you want grilled meats and other assorted filipino food in a nicer seting, check out

                            1. You may also want to consider one of the only (they call themselves "THE only") Portuguese restaurant in the L.A. area. Euro Cafe. It's in Claremont. From Anaheim you can take the 57 Freeway to the 210 Freeway. The restaurant is just off the 210 at Baseline and Mills. This is a post-drive-time trip.


                              1. Moun of Tunis in Hollywood for Tunisian. I love the brik (large fried pastry dough filled with potato and runny egg).

                                1. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Noah of Man Bites World. He ate in a different country's restaurant every day until he'd exhausted the possibilities that he found here in L.A. The link to his archive is: http://manbitesworld.com/Archives/76/... and it will have a great deal of potentially useful information. It's a couple of years old at this point, so you might want to call some of these places to make sure they're still around.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: estone888

                                    This thread is a year older than Noah's quest and so it is not surprising it didn't make it in. Except for the post's today they are all from 2007.