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Little Bangladesh? Want more info!

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pwrightmartin Apr 1, 2009 06:06 PM

There's an article in the LA Times about Little Bangladesh in K-town. Anyone know about the restaurants?

I found this 2007 post about Makkah:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8150...

Is Makkah still good? Any other restaurants in the area that people recommend? Thanks.

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    aventinus RE: pwrightmartin Apr 1, 2009 06:26 PM

    It's pretty good. It doesn't seem all that Bengali to me. Seems like North Indian/Pakistani. There's a poster of Bangladesh on the wall though. They have very good breads, biryanis, and tandoori dishes.

    1. sku RE: pwrightmartin Apr 2, 2009 12:22 PM

      Makkah is good, but as aventinus states, even though the owners are Bangladeshi, they hew more toward Bengali Indian style food. Most of the K-Town Bangladeshi food is served out of the steam tables in the Bangladeshi markets as opposed to more formal sit-down restaurants. There are a number of them on Third street between Western and Normandie or so.

      My experience with these places has been pretty hit or miss. Often, the food is excessively greasy, but there are a few good dishes I've had here and there. I've liked some of the places but have yet to find one that is extraordinary.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sku
        a
        apple7blue RE: sku Aug 11, 2010 11:27 AM

        Aventinus's post made sense to me, but I am not sure what sku is saying. Bangladesh means country of bengalis, so that they serve Bengali food would be unsurprising to me. Half of Bengal or bangladesh is in India. It seems like aventinus was saying the opposite of sku, in that the food isn't Bengali but North Indian/Pakistani.

      2. c
        condementia RE: pwrightmartin Aug 11, 2010 12:59 PM

        It's been a while since the OP requested info but I just came across the thread today. Here are a couple of other places...I agree with sku that it's hit-or-miss. Although, I do find the sweets at Aladin to be fairly good most of the time. If you want to try the sweet yoghurt, make sure to ask for it in the clay pot as that tastes better than the one they serve in the foil containers.

        To clear up some of the confusion, Bangladesh used to be a part of India (referred to as East Bengal) and then it became a part of Pakistan (East Pakistan). It gained independence in 1971 and, as such, no part of it is in India. West Bengal is a state in India and you will find Bengalis there as well as in Bangladesh. "Bengali" refers to both the people and the language and in Bengali, the word "bangla" refers specifically to the Bengali language and the word "desh" means country/land. Hope this helps.

        Aladin
        139 S. Vermont Ave.
        Los Angeles, CA 90004
        ph: 213-382-9592

        Swadesh
        4153 West 3rd Street
        Los Angeles, CA 90020-3446
        (213) 386-7799

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        Swadesh
        4153 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90020

        14 Replies
        1. re: condementia
          a
          apple7blue RE: condementia Aug 11, 2010 01:17 PM

          Well the British tried to partition Bengal (Bengal (Bengali: বঙ্গ Bôngo, বাংলা Bangla, বঙ্গদেশ Bôngodesh or বাংলাদেশ Bangladesh) before independence. Pakistan used to be a part of India itself before partition. Technically a political nation named Bangladesh didn't exist until 1971 and no part of that would be in India. I think as we are especially concerned with cuisine on Chowhounds, the food in Bengal is the same between Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal. Does this restaurant have Bengali food or not?

          1. re: apple7blue
            s
            suvro RE: apple7blue Aug 11, 2010 02:55 PM

            I am a Bengali from Calcutta, the capital of state of West Bengal in India. I have not been to Makkah - so I don't know if it serves Bengali food or not.

            The Bengali food of Bangladesh and West Bengal have major differences, though there is also some overlap. Many Bengalis in West Bengal migrated from current area known as Bangladesh (before, during, and after partitions) - so that explains some of the overlaps.

            But for me as a West Bengal Bengali, the Bangladeshi food served in restaurants here are NOT the same as we eat at home. It is much more oily, and most gravies taste the same with the same muddy texture. There is also a paucity of the wide variety of vegetarian cooking that is native to that eastern part of South India - the chechkis, chochhoris, dalnas, dums, ghontos, labras, shuktos, etc.

            I have been to Aladin - it does serve Bangladeshi food with the above caveats. I have not been to Swadesh, but I have been to another Bangladeshi grocery-store-cum-restaurant (these all are) - it used to be called Deshi - but has a different name - see http://www.yelp.com/biz/deshi-food-an...

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            Swadesh
            4153 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90020

            1. re: suvro
              j
              Joani Macaroni RE: suvro Aug 11, 2010 08:18 PM

              Thanks for the explanation suvro, apple7blue, & condimentia - it has been fascinating!

              1. re: suvro
                The Chowhound Team RE: suvro Aug 20, 2010 04:09 PM

                We've split the Bengali food discussion to General Topics, because it's really cool and will definitely benefit lots of hounds from all over, not just LA. The link is: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7289...

                1. re: The Chowhound Team
                  echoparkdirt RE: The Chowhound Team Apr 14, 2012 03:17 PM

                  Just went to Swadesh. The beef patty was wonderful -- well spiced with a flaky pastry exterior. Samosas also great, with a fine potato mash inside. Cheap, and they have a small sit down area. Most dishes are displayed, but I think I saw some stuff come out of the kitchen that wasn't on display, no menu of course. Worth stopping by

                  1. re: echoparkdirt
                    echoparkdirt RE: echoparkdirt Aug 23, 2013 09:55 PM

                    the tandoori chicken is extremely yummy too. i am a fan of the place.

                2. re: suvro
                  Mr Taster RE: suvro Aug 19, 2013 04:35 PM

                  suvro,

                  I just came from a weeklong trip to DC and discovered Bengali food courtesy of DC Chowhound steve.

                  The place was in Arlington, called Gharer Khabar

                  We ordered:
                  Chotpoti
                  Mughlai Paratha
                  Mutton curry***
                  Fish curry***
                  Chicken curry

                  *** for emphasis, those items that were outrageously good (as opposed to just "stellar"). Deeply spiced, rich curries and incredibly tender meats. Similar, but at the same time altogether different from what an non-Bengali American might think of as an Indian curry. I think the fish curry base was slow cooked, dissolved onions, not a simple sautee... good lord. Imagine a french onion soup base seasoned with Indian style spices. It was like nothing I've ever tasted before-- spices were alive, not muddy. Only criticism is that they were too oily, but the flavors were so wonderful I was willing to look past it. It's a mom & pop team, the owner takes the orders and his wife does the cooking. I asked about Bengali food in Los Angeles and he said that he saw several downtown, but can't speak to their quality. Until now I'd never spent much time contemplating the differences between Bengali and Indian styles of cooking but now I'm raring and eager to do so. Please tell me that the state of Bengali cooking has improved in Los Angeles over the last few years.

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster
                    s
                    suvro RE: Mr Taster Aug 19, 2013 04:54 PM

                    Hmmm... Since I cook Bengali food at home, I have not done much exploring of Bengali cuisine in Los Angeles.

                    But for what it's worth, if I were to take someone for Bengali food, here is the place I would try:

                    Little Dhaka in Little India
                    18159 Pioneer Blvd., Artesia, CA 90701; (562) 865-5230
                    Many in our community will occasionally order the mutton/goat and fish from here, if they need in large amounts. They have also been serving food at our local Bengali annual socio-religious festival - which is coming up in October. See http://home.bascweb.org/
                    They usually have steam trays of limited items for daily consumption.

                    The problem is lack of sufficient Bangladeshi population in Los Angeles, and concentration in any one area. In New York in particular there are many cabbies from Bangladesh. Not sure about DC, but my sense is there is a sufficiently large community, clustered in one geographical area that makes it economically viable to open a Bangladeshi restaurant, since the cuisine is somewhat alien to the general US population.

                    As to Bengali cuisine from West Bengal, it is almost impossible to get that practically anywhere, including my native Kolkata (nee Calcutta). The Bengali culture did not lend itself to eating out a lot, though that is changing.

                    To see what is being served now in the few places that have popped up in the last 10 years, here is one URL:
                    Bhojohori Manna - http://www.bhojohorimanna.com/menu/al...
                    (This was the name of a popular film song - and one of the actors in that film started this which has now expanded into a chain)

                    1. re: suvro
                      Mr Taster RE: suvro Aug 19, 2013 05:09 PM

                      For reference, here's the link to the restaurant in DC area (Arlington, VA), located in a low rise strip mall with a bunch of halal shops.

                      http://www.gharerkhabar.com/

                      Mr Taster

                      1. re: suvro
                        TonyC RE: suvro Aug 23, 2013 09:16 AM

                        I finally made it into Little Dhaka (been really afraid since "people" tend to mention the health dept grades, etc. and it literally looks filthier than some of the Chinese hole in the vicinities, and surati + ki Galliyon are both right there).

                        Thanks for the prod suvro, it was tasty enough but man, the place is really uninviting and it seems nothing has changed in 5 years since your last post: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4381...

                        1. re: TonyC
                          s
                          suvro RE: TonyC Aug 23, 2013 09:31 AM

                          I agree the insides are not inviting. I have seen people eat outside - and that is a better option, if there are tables there.

                          I usually go to buy fish (the variety that comes from Gangetic delta), goat meat, and sometimes vegetables such as purslane which are not easily available elsewhere.

                          LA's spread is sometimes a barrier to maintaining good quality South Asian restaurants.

                          1. re: TonyC
                            c
                            chowseeker1999 RE: TonyC Aug 23, 2013 10:32 AM

                            thanx for the info tony; bummer it sounds like it's not that inviting / appetizing. maybe to-go only is the better choice.

                            1. re: chowseeker1999
                              Mr Taster RE: chowseeker1999 Aug 23, 2013 10:34 AM

                              I suggest to-go to Gharer Khabar

                              Mr Taster

                        2. re: Mr Taster
                          j
                          Jwsel RE: Mr Taster Aug 23, 2013 11:34 PM

                          Reading your descriptions of the curries at the Bengali restaurant makes me wonder if the dishes are similar to Malaysian/Indonesian dishes like beef rendang. Speaking of which, does anyone do a good beef rendang in the San Fernando Valley?

                  2. EarlyBird RE: pwrightmartin Feb 25, 2014 02:42 PM

                    My wife and I finally made it to Swadesh this past Saturday, late afternoon. We really enjoyed it.

                    We had: goat curry, chicken biryani (loaded with big pieces of bone in chicken), fish (carp) curry which was really flavorful, and a piece of chicken tikka masala, braised cabbage and some kind of green that resembled collards.

                    Everything had a real down home quality, and the sauces were all quite complex and flavorful. The serving portions were large and price was very reasonable. I particularly loved the goat, as it had a lot of the cartilage and that unctious quality you get when it cooks for a long time.

                    As a plus, it had a quality of adventure travel too, given that we ate at a rickety linoleum table next to boxes filled with spices and a cricket match playing on the t.v. A very nice proprieter runs the place. I'll definitely be going back and working my way through the other food they keep in the steam trays.

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