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Zam Zam now has normal hours

Drove by Zam Zam on my way home today and was shocked to find the door wide open and the open sign actually lit up (more surprising since I don't think it's lit even when they are open). Turns out starting this week they're now open all day (I think 11-9) seven days a week. They had a menu of about 10 options most of which I have never seen in my many other trips there. Tried to lamb korma, which like so much there was very, very good.

While I was getting used to the "what's the chance its open?" guessing game, its nice to have a more consistent chance at getting my biryani fix

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  1. RIGHT AFTER I MOVE. unbelievable. But great news. My favorite place in LA, best biryani I've ever had, mutton biryani being my favorite plate of food ever.

    Now that they have curry... damn... I guess that means the "westside indian??" threads are done?

        1. Tis True! Tis True! Went there to pick up dinner today and was happy to find them busy cooking.

          They have a white board with several dishes on them, but they only had Chicken Biryani, Chicken Tika and Chicken or Beef Kabobs availble when I went this evening. So if you have your heart set on a particular dish, call before hand.

          We got the chicken biyrani which was wonderful. It was full of chicken which was tender and flavorful. We also got the beef kabob, finely ground beef again, wonderfully spiced, not the slightest bit dry. I was shocked that the items came out so quickly (Like I didn't even have a chance to take out my knitting!) and that both dishes cost just $12 (The Biryani was enough for 2 with some left over!). I picked up some veggies at Samosa house up the street (although next time I might swing over Taras) and we had quite the feast! This place along with Kabob Grill, Tara's and Jasmine makes Culver city a truely great place to eat.


          3 Replies
          1. re: Dommy

            Was the chicken in the chicken biryani boneless or did it have bones? How spicy? And did they just make it or did they ask you for a spiciness level?

            1. re: nosh

              Good questions... There was a good part of a chicken in the portion I received. Everything. bits of thigh, leg, breast, even back all with bones. It gave the Biryani a great flavor and made it seem more like Paella than fried rice.

              Now, as i memtioned the items came out immediately, so they don't really customize orders (which is another reason prices are so low) however, while it did come out well spiced, it was not spicy. What it did come with was a giant hot pepper which when chopped up delivered quite a punch of heat. So it's the ultimate in customization... at home.


              1. re: nosh

                Biryani is made in one big pot, the chicken/mutton and rice cooked together. So they're making like 20+ orders all together, and therefore you can't customize. Usually you get a few good hunks of meat, a chunk of potato and hopefully a chili or two in there, but it's somewhat up in the air. Spiciness can be adjusted by using more/less of their green chutney, which is out of this world.

                Any place you can point at a menu and say "I want that biryani" and it's ready for you in 20 minutes is going to give you a bullshit biryani. The reason ZZ gets so much love is because they do biryani the way it's meant to be done. And good luck finding better unless you want to fly to Pakistan.

                As far as bones go... yeah there's bones. And whole spices. And about 80 other things that'll break your teeth or give you an unwelcome blast of spice if you're not careful. *try biting into a whole black cardamom pod... no fun. Take care when eating. Be glad those spices are in there though, they're what makes the whole thing so good.

            2. I just tried Zam Zam and was blown away. It was as full-bodied and possibly as spicy (depending on the dish) as Al Watan. Perhaps I'm partial to the cuisine-but they do seem to do it right. Can't wait to go through the menu. To bolster my own credibility,can I mention that I usually agree with Westside Gal? One warning though-- not quite what you'd call a normal "date place." Very casual and not very polished-- almost like a catering kitchen/take-out place. But I think that adds character. Homey, if you can relate.

              2 Replies
              1. re: longtimehere

                They do don't right! I've never been a fan of Al Watan & Al Noor because although they have wonderful flavors, I've found their dishes needlessly heavy. Zam Zam however remained not only true to the flavor, but also true to the ingredients everything from the tender chicken to the blistered hot pepper to the grain of perfectly cooked rice. Someone is paying attention in that kitchen!!



                1. re: longtimehere

                  Partial to the cuisine or not, ZZ is a place that will blow you away. I spent 6+ years eating around LA, trying food from every corner of the globe at every hole in the wall my extensive research brought me to.

                  Zam Zam's mutton biryani was my favorite plate of food in the city. I used to walk down the street for it... now I drive up from Irvine for it.

                  If you live in LA and never try this place, you're a fool. End of story.

                2. Went yesterday, as good as ever. Had mutton biryani and chicken tikka, my favorite dishes there, with a piece of warm, fresh baked naan. heaven.

                  ...and they now have an A health rating.

                  1. I trited it for the first time, too.

                    Nothing much to add because all the reviews are basically the same. Had Chicken biryani and mutton "balls." They didn't have mutton biryani.

                    What I do want to add is this: we ordered the daal. I'm used to eating daal from a million Indian restaurants plus have tried the Pakistani version at Al Noor. So, a word of warning: The daal at Zam Zam was extremely hot. i enjoy hot food. Maybe not the hottest, I don't venture into Thai Town spots and ask them for the hottest food. But I enjoy spicy food, I'm not a chile weakling.

                    But this was very hot. I only mention it as a warning to people who don't enjoy hot food and think that the daal is going to be the "cooling" or "bland" part of the meal. On the other hand, if spicy is your thing, this daal is for you. There were dozens of pieces of chile in our order, like little green bombs among the yellow lentils. I'm sure that there are some chile lovers out there who will say the daal is "not that hot" and that's fine. This warning is for the average person.

                    1. Been twice in the last week. Two days to finish the take each time.

                      This place is not a "well, if I'm nearby..." or "maybe I should try this someday"

                      If you read this board, and you care about what hits your tongue, you WILL RUN here. The Biryani is revelatory. There are angels in it, And I know, cause I heard the harp. Spices are excellent, not overly so, but very deft. With everything you eat, you get the sense that these chefs know what they are doing.

                      this is not a shoulda, but a GOTTA. Eat whatever they have.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: CulverJack

                        What were their hours before this big change?

                        1. re: CLowe

                          Generally it was after services at the King Fahad Mosque, which is a block away.

                          1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                            Thanks! Found a midtown lunch post about this. Big changes are afoot, then!

                      2. Does the biryani here have peanuts?

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: ns1

                          anyone? hounds with peanut allergies want to know :(

                          1. re: ns1

                            No peanuts in my experience.

                            1. re: ns1

                              We had it tonight and while I am fairly certain that there are no peanuts, I would not bet my life on it. They may use peanut oil. Give them a call, I'm sure they'll answer.

                              1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                                Something I only recently learned is that peanut oil does not contain the allergens so those with a peanut allergy should be good to go!

                            2. I went to go for lunch yesterday, Monday, at 12:30 is was closed and there was trash on the floor and piled on the trashcan by the door. Really filthy looking.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: trojans

                                the food was so freaking worth it though.

                                1. re: ns1

                                  I went back today to try it and they opened at 12:00PM The place had been cleaned up to an extent. I got the special the cook was pushing which consisted of the Chicken Biryani, My choice of chicken kabob, two pieces of tandoori chicken, Naan and my choice of to entree items I got the Lamb khorma and the chicken curry. All for $9!! Bottom line? A real righteous meal, outstanding in all aspects.

                              2. Has anyone tried the frozen samosas?

                                1. Dearest Zam Zam,

                                  Where have you been all of my life?

                                  On my two visits, I did not see your mutton biryani. Just the chicken. Is your mutton biryani strictly a Saturday special?

                                  Also, your tandoori chicken was outrageously moist. And the value is insanely good. A HUGE mound of chicken and potato biryani, topped with a mincemeat kebab, tandoori chicken, and two "sides" (lamb, chicken korma, spinach, daal) and a piece of naan for $9. Round it up to $10 if you want chai. Enough to comfortably feed two. I understand that sometimes you run out of tandoori chicken and my biryani has only one topping. Such is life.

                                  Thank you for saving me gas money to Artesia (even though the biryani I've had in Artesia at Shan didn't come anywhere near the quality of yours.)

                                  I love you with all the the heat and passion of a million Scoville units.


                                  Mr Taster

                                  20 Replies
                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                      Mutton pulao fridays, biryani saturdays. ~2pm. Call ahead.

                                      I love them too. too much.

                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                        I've eaten all around Artesia and nothing compares to the Biryani at Zam Zam...

                                        Oddly enough though, I have never gotten their Chai... how is it?


                                        1. re: Dommy

                                          Not bad for $1 :) It's served from the coffee pump unsweetened. Big selection of sweeteners next to it. Pretty interesting how much sugar wakes up the flavor of the spices.

                                          Bear in mind, they do not have coffee lids for to-go orders.

                                          Mr Taster

                                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                                              You can eat there, but the decor is minimal to say the least. Feels like eating in the kitchen of some shady Italian restaurant that's a front for the mob.

                                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                No, it's primarily eat-in, though there's minimal seating and no decor (other than a freezer filled with samosas and a lifetime supply of "Shan" brand products which, for my money & aesthetic sensibility, is all the decor I require.)

                                                In fact, the reason why they don't have to-go lids for the coffee cups is because "people usually drink it here" (or so said the guy who took my order).

                                                Having said this, my takeout container was busting at the seams and the naan, double wrapped in foil, was still hot when I got it back to my office at Miracle Mile.

                                                Next time I'll know to bring my double insulated stainless travel mug.

                                                Mr Taster

                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                  Found out Zam Zam has a not too highly developed facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ZamZamMarket2 I got gas (petrol) at my favorite station which is owned by some folks from Bangladesh. The owner used to suggest things for me to try at Al-Watan. I mentioned Zam Zam to him around 6 or 7 months ago. He hadn't heard about it, but when I asked him today he looked to be in reverie. "The best, the best..." "So much food and so cheap." He tells me he really loves the kebabs. I'm thinking it's time to pick up some food, but everything I hear says it's pretty spicy. My sister hates spice and it would be great revenge, but she can carry a grudge. Can anybody suggest something for the folks who have a low heat threshold? I also asked the station owner if they were open late. "It's Ramadan, they'll be open until at least 9 pm." Does anyone know if it kills lunch possibilities, since the faithful are supposed to fast from sunrise to sunset?

                                                  1. re: Feed_me

                                                    I hold off on going there during Ramadan.

                                                    1. re: J.L.

                                                      J.L., I bow to your judgement in these matters. I shall wait a while before I test my heat threshold. I have been slowly increasing the chili sauce in my bib bim bap at the korean joint.

                                                    2. re: Feed_me

                                                      My husband and I went there on Sunday at 12-ish. It was our first visit, so I couldn't say for sure, but I got the impression that they weren't running at full capacity, either because it was Sunday or because of Ramadan. We were a bit confused by the whole operation. There was no menu, and though they had chicken biryani, they didn't seem to have any other dishes. We ordered the biryani, expecting to get sides of curry or korma as some others have described in this thread, but instead we just got two huge platters of biryani. No complaints though - it was amazing, especially with the raita that another (very nice) customer suggested that we have with it. I would definitely like to try some other dishes, so we'll go back after Ramadan.

                                                      1. re: aching

                                                        I suggest getting the "mix plate" - it has the biryani + choice of 2 items from the hot plate + tandoori chicken + naan. If you just order biryani, that's all you get.

                                                        1. re: chrishei

                                                          We figured it was something like that, but the hot plate was empty - again, I don't think they were fully up and running at that particular moment.

                                                          1. re: chrishei

                                                            On my first visit, I got the mix plate, but apparently they were out of tandoori chicken (I didn't know any better). I got the chicken biryani, mincemeat kebab, 2 side dishes, and naan for $9.

                                                            Second visit, they had tandoori chicken ready to go. To my surprise, for the same $9 I got all of the above PLUS two pieces of tandoori chicken thrown on top.

                                                            The chicken was smack-in-the-face juicy. Unbelievable stuff. Having just recently suffered from dry-as-a-bone tandoori chicken (not a restaurant I chose...!), I was thrilled to have my faith restored.

                                                            Mr Taster

                                                            1. re: chrishei

                                                              Can you go here and just getting veggie dishes ?

                                                              Or maybe a seafood or fish curry or veggie Bryani ?


                                                            2. re: aching

                                                              yes, it is very confusing for a first timer.

                                                            3. re: Feed_me

                                                              I love this story, feed me.

                                                              To me, it is the essence, and one of the great joys, of chowhounding. As a white guy, that makes innumerable trips to all sorts of places to try all sorts of "authentic" foods, I often find myself telling Mr/Mrs X from Country Y about a fantastic place that serves their native food (and, usually, getting looked at like a nut-job). But, when they later give me some feedback (pun intended) like you got....well....who doesn't LOVE that?

                                                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                Ciao Bob, you're not alone. I'm asian and a caucasian friend of mine ended up in the wilds of Kansas near the panhandle. He is probably much more knowledgeable about the foods of Asia and tells me it's 25 miles to the nearest Chinese joint and 125 miles for a good meal of any kind of asian food. I remember the first time a friend of mine took me into Azuma on Western in Gardena. They gave me a menu in Japanese. I had to ask for the menu in English. I can see you've had much more experience with many more styles of food than I will ever muster. You're kind of the Chuck Norris in the martial arts of food!

                                                                  1. re: PeterCC

                                                                    PeterCC, I think you might be right. That plus having Bacon in the name is truly chowhoundish!

                                                  2. I think the hot plate foods are only available on Mon-thurs. On friday they have Lamb pilaf. ON saturday they only have biryani and kababs and on sunday they have something different again. Thats what they explained to me last time i was there.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: carln

                                                      I believe it's called lamb pilau, not lamb pilaf.

                                                      The whole situation is already confusing enough, so it's important to be precise!

                                                      Mr Taster