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Sep 9, 2009 03:29 PM

Eat What Bourdain Just Ate: Dosa, Lamb Soup and Squirming Tentacles

While New York and Los Angeles are clearly, very different cities, the outer reaches of both areas have something in common: terrific foods from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. For this week's No Reservations, the crew was focusing on the outer boroughs of New York, and Bourdain seemed legitimately upset that he had gone his entire life as a New Yorker without really experiencing the culinary bounty that had been sitting just on the outskirts. Angelenos-- don't make that same mistake.

So while Tony ate southern Indian vegetarian cuisine, like big crispy dosa, in the basement of a Hindu temple in Queens, you'd do best to head to Artesia, and eat somewhere like Udupi Palace, home of the much loved rava dosa. How about those chopped up, squirming octopus tentacles he ate with famed Momofuku chef David Chang? Masan, in Koreatown, will make those delicious treats (along with other killed-on-site seafood), just make sure to chew quickly if you want to avoid their suckers grabbing onto the inside of your mouth for dear life. For Muslim Chinese food, there are a few options around town, like Rosemead restaurant China Islamic. We have that lamb noodle soup, too, such as the one TonyC recently raved about at JTYH Restaurant .

Sri Lankan food hasn't fully made it to Los Angeles in the way that it should have, but we do have some, like the tiny restaurant Curry Bowl in Tarzana. If, like Bourdain, you want to suck back frilly drinks at a Tiki bar, few have a more historic and enjoyable kitsch-factor than Bahooka Family Restaurant. But what if you want something similar to Sam's Soul Food in the Bronx? Try M&M Soul Food on Crenshaw, where patrons have regularly enjoyed a wide range of casual, low-key fare. This episode's host also raved about sitting down to delicious street tacos and quesadillas, but in that category, they clearly have nothing on us. As for that delicious looking dim sum? We have that too, and a common favorite at the moment is Elite Restaurant in Monterey Park. The one thing they showed that we really don't have? A proper answer to the much adored Brooklyn empire of Marlow & Sons, Marlow & Daughters and Diner. But to have that, we'll need better butchers.

Elite Restaurant
700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

Bahooka Ribs & Grog
4501 Rosemead Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

China Islamic Restaurant
7727 Garvey Ave, Rosemead, CA 91770

Udupi Palace
18635 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, CA 90701

M & M Soul Food
5496 W Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90045

Curry Bowl
19662 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA 91356

Masan Restaurant
2851 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

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  1. Hi noahbites -
    Thanks for the excellent information. I watched this show as well & was thinking specifically about the Korean eatery. As for your rec, does it also serve the same style of dishes he ate? I am very interested in the giant pot of steamed clams, sea snails, mussels, crabs, etc. I would like to find a place that does both!

    2 Replies
    1. re: MahiMahiFish

      I don't think they have that exact dish-- but it's the closest overall experience that you're probably going to get. They do have some great seafood stews though, like their monkfish stew (they call it angler fish), which has the very...uh...surprising ingredient: sea squirt (known to explode in your mouth).

      In fact, check out this video of my friend eating said sea squirt at Masan:

      1. re: noahbites

        I didn't see the episode but I've had a fish/seafood soup or stew (tang or chigae) at Surah in Buena Park that included sea squirts. And I would add, "yuk". One was enough. I don't know that you can count on them always including the sea squirts. But I do like Surah for their panchan and soups/stews in general. You'll have to discover the Korean word for sea squirt if you want to ask for them. Surah mostly caters to Koreans and you can't always count on someone translating food names between Korean and English.

        There is a Surah review on KevinEAts' website, although he didn't have this dish.

        Hope he doesn't mind me posting a link to his review.

        5333 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90621

    2. sounds good, that reminds me i haven't been to m and m in quite some time.

      1. Hi Noah,

        Great report. :) I was thinking of many of the same places as I watching that episode. :)

        1. I just want to add that Priyani in Northridge is much better Sri Lankan than Curry Bowl. In OC we have Wadiya in Anaheim.

          Also good if you want a cheap dosa fix is India Sweets & Spices in Canoga Park (Sherman Way and Topanga Canyon Blvd.), along with other south Indian chaat (snacks) like bhel puri.