I'm a 95 lb stick- 102 on a good day (after a buffet), but I love food like no other. I spend about 3 months of the year in Asia. When I'm not in Asia scouring the streets for good food, I'm checking out the best places to eat in L.A.. Do street vendors or C ratings from restaurants scare me? Course not-cause the best food is cheap, made and sold on the street, & cooked by someone who hasn't washed their hands in ages...Delicious!
It was that time of the month again-vegetarian day time! This time we went to Veggie Life at 9324 Garvey Ave. South El Monte, 91733. You don't have to be vegetarian to check out this place. If you ever just want a break and want to eat healthier, then you can check out vegetarian places. Their food isn't bland so there's no need to worry. It tastes like the real Vietnamese meat dishes so you should give them a try.
Here's the veggie bi cuon "beef" rolls. Not my fave, but my mom seemed to enjoy them.
"chicken" curry noodles. These were pretty good.
Bon rieu noodles were really good. It's a very clear broth that uses a lot of tomatoes in it. It's not spicy at all, perfect for all those that can't handle any spice.
And here was their standout dish, their veggie Bon Bo hue. Bon bo hue is beef noodle soup that is spicy. Veggie Life actually makes a really good broth.
Veggie Life is a very small restaurant so you may need to wait a bit. The best time to go try this place would be on a non Buddhist holiday. Then there's practically no line!
Check out my epic defeat scores on the Buzz Lightyear ride!
Sure Disneyland may be fun and exciting for all the rides and the fireworks display, but people seem to forget about the food. Here's a list of the best food in Disneyland (non including the sit down restaurants). Unfortunately, I was so hungry that I didn't take a picture of everything we had.
Item 1: Dole Pineapple Whip Float from the Tikki Hut.
The hut is actually sponsored by Dole. It's amazing. It's actually the best part of going to Disneyland. The pineapple juice is topped with Pineapple flavored ice cream with a cherry on top. Sure, it was freezing at 8:30 PM but the line was still really long.
Item 2: Mickey Mouse Head Pretzels
Sure, it seems a little gruesome to bite Mickey's head off but it's super good. Pretty expensive $4 salt pretzels. They also very cleverly make it super salty so that you have to buy a drink from them too. Sneaky....
Item 3: Turkey Legs
Here's a picture of the massive turkey leg you can get for $7. Think Fred Flintstone. It's super good though! This will fill you up and you can hold it between rides!
Item 4: Gumbo
Item 5: Popcorn
Disney popcorn is loaded with salt and butter. It's super good but so salty you have to buy a drink to wash it all down.
Item 6: Frozen lemonade
And as you all should know, the best best food at Disneyland would be at Club 33. Club 33 is a private club that is hidden in the New Orleans Square in Disneyland. Although finding the club is hard, getting into the club is an even more difficult feat - With a wait-list estimated at 14 years and annual membership fees starting at $10K/year, most may never have an opportunity to enter Club 33 unless invited as a guest of a pre-existing member. There's even a secret elevator just to get in. That would be my dream! If you have a membership, let's be friends!
(Don't let the long lines scare you. They go really fast!)
Yum, yum, yum! For my birthday, I wanted to go to Disneyland and my friend works for Disney so she was was able to get me tickets for cheaper, but I had to go to Burbank to pick it up amongst Justin Bieber fans & Jonas Brother Fan Vans hovering all over. My friend also took me out to lunch on her break to the most AMAZING place. I think this is one of my new favorite places! Porto's Bakery is located at 3614 West Magnolia Blvd. Burbank, 91504. Go, go, go!
Here are the famous potato balls at Porto's. This is some serious yum! They gave us the potato balls up front in a tray and then gave us a number (Carl's Jr. style). Then, we went over to pick up our drinks. The staff brought the rest of the food to us. They are pretty good at hunting you down since there is seating outside and inside of this place!
Left was my pina colada smoothie and right was my friend's mango smoothie. Yum!
Here's the their tuna melt sandwich. Their chips were baked, but they were so good! Delicious.
This was the torta de pollo sandwich. Wow!! So so good! I'm actually drooling right now.
This was one of the 3 cakes I got. My friend was nice enough to treat me out for my birthday. I got 3 cakes: an opera cake, a double chocolate cake (pictured above), and an oreo white cheesecake. They were all so good!
The best part about this place is it's pretty cheap! For everything we got it was about $27. We got smoothies & cakes so that's a pretty good deal! One con about this place is definitely their parking. They have a private lot but it's so small.
By the way, I highly recommend this place if you couldn't tell already!
In honor of the horrible rainy weather and of 4/20 for those of you that celebrated, I decided to do a post on crappy weather food. Here is Gushi. It's literally a shack right next to the In & Out in Westwood. It's located right across the street from the UCLA frat row, which is probably why it's a staple for drunk college kids,faded stoners, or people like me who are just hungry late at night. Gushi's is craptastic! Like all good Asian places trying not to pay taxes, they are cash only. The Korean women that work inside do not speak very good English, but I guess that just adds to the fun of it with all the miscommunication that happens. But for an average of $6-9 for a crap load of food that satisfies for at least 2 more additional meals, Gushi is golden!
See it's literally a shack!
This is their beef plate. Pour on the loads of teriyaki sauce they have there and this can feed you at least 2 meals!
Here is their beef & chicken combo. It comes with salad (not pictured), a drink, & kimchi all for $9. Score! I used to like getting food from here when I was in college & living on campus. I would save this in the fridge and eat it as 2 or 3 separate little meals instead of having to deal with campus food. Genius, I know.
And I thought since the weather is crappy, I'd post a few pictures of my mother's recent cooking. My mom is a pain in the butt and she's refused to cook ever since she learned to drive on the freeway around 15 years ago? I've only heard stories of my mother's cooking from my grandparents on how she used to make her own curry, roast her own cha siu (BBQ pork), and cook all these amazing things. Unfortunately, in the past 15 years or so she's discovered the San Gabriel Valley to buy cheap & good food. So the rare, few times she does cook it's an occasion to celebrate.
Here's momma's black chicken soup. It was over $40 worth of goodness inside with abalone, mushrooms, dried scallops, fish stomach, and other chinese goodies.
Here are the abalone shells after momma was done washing them. She used fresh abalone instead of those canned ones so she used a toothbrush to clean them and then de-shell them.
Left is momma's veggie rice she makes and right is some awesome Japanese tofu that melts in your mouth. It's actually called Super Soft tofu. Word. Good naming folks.
And last but not least, momma's very own pandan sponge cake half eaten by yours truly.
Cheung Hing is hidden in the back of the Vietnamese/Pho restaurant - you can't see it from the main street at all. Walk into the building and "Cheung Hing" is written in Chinese, big red letters on double glass doors to your left. CASH ONLY, typical Chinese place. It only holds 25 people or so. CH maybe look super ghetto & small, but this family run restaurant takes personal orders. If you're feeling like some Chinese dish, you can just call them a day or two before and they will make it for you. Grandpa has been known to take over the whole restaurant and throw a dinner party here with his entourage/posse. Their address is at: 8450 Garvey Ave #103 Rosemead, 91770.
Here is their really good beef tongue soup with winter melon.
Here is our order of Shark's Fin. It was pretty good quality considering it was only $9.99.
BBQ Pork in pumpkin! Yummy!
Oyster Pancake. It was really thin, which was good but it couldn't compete with the oyster pancakes I've had in Taiwan.
Here is their water chestnut dessert. Super yum!
Overall this place wasn't as good as it was a few years ago, which is why I haven't been here in that amount of time. Cheung Hing wasn't bad though. I'm sure they have potential to return back to their glory days.
(The BBQ at Jim's Fallbrook Market every Fri, Sat, & Sun!)
Option 1: Jim's Market at 5947 Fallbrook Ave Woodland Hills, CA 91367.
Yum, yum, & yum. I've been driving past this place for years and have never gotten a chance to try any of their BBQ becauese I'm usually heading out for lunch each time I pass by their BBQ galore. Every weekend there's always a long line in a parking lot of people waiting to get their hands on this awesome meat. Finally, today I could no longer stand it. I've heard whisperings of this market's awesome Tri Tip Sandwich. I present to you their signature dish...
I took it to go since this place is literally 5 minutes away from my house. So good!!! I will definitely be coming here again. The tri tip melts in your mouth. Take loads of BBQ sauce to dip your tri tip in!
Their baby back ribs, on the other hand failed to impress. They were a tad dry and didn't have the meat that falls from the bone like I'd expect from a BBQ place. The lady in front of us actually ordered a few items and then found out that her bill was over $70. This place isn't cheap. The total from the sandwich and the ribs was over $20.
They also had different sauces for everything. They had a spicy and non-spicy BBQ sauce. They also had chicken and tacos there too, but I'd definitely just stick with the Tri Tip Sandwich! It's delicious!
Option 2: The Hat (Locations all over)
This Address: 1308 E Los Angeles Ave Simi Valley, CA 93065
Would you like to die happy? Well you'll at least get a few clogged arteries from a visit to The Hat. Death is extremely likely though as well. Pastrami Sandwich is so good but for me it's way too salty. If you take it home, I would suggest maybe taking some of the pastrami out and making another sandwich with it or else it's just way too salty. Really good though. Just be prepared to drink a lot to flush all that saltiness out of your system.
If you want to gamble with your life, try their Chili Cheese Fries.
Happy Eatings! P.S. I'm in the process of trying to try Filipino BBQ, which is supposedly the best BBQ you can get Unfortunately, this place doesn't have a restaurant and only caters to big parties. Hmmm...
I've been waiting for this day for a long time. My long awaited post. The Ramen Showdown! Down to the Final 2 Contestants! Let's start!
(This is the Santouka at inside the food court of the Mitsuwa Market. Cash Only.)
A is for ... adequate.
Wow... talk about a let down. This place is hailed as the #1 Ramen place in SoCal. I finally made it a point to finally and officially to judge Santouka in my own personal BATTLE OF THE RAMENS and this is what I get! I've been to Daikokuya (really disappointed me by the way & way overrated), Hakata, multiple Asijens(all over SoCal), Ramen Nip (San Fernando Valley), Tajima (San Diego), and have been told by my aunt as well as everyone and their Mother that I need to come to Santouka. Well you know what? I'm disappointed. So let me break it down.
I got the shio (salt) special pork ramen. Their special pork is pork neck. Countless patrons have claimed that their special pork melts in your mouth. Trust me their pork definitely aint special. Here's what real bomb Thai style pork neck should look like. (Click here It's under Meal #3) All that aside though, their salt broth was good. It wasn't too salty for me but the noodles were the same as Top Ramen. If I wanted to eat ramen from a package, I could have gone into my kitchen cabinet and opened up a bag. It would have saved me 40 mins of driving there and $23. The noodles at Hakata Ramen Shinsengumi are much better. The special pork was bland. I'm pretty sure that Thais have the best pork neck.
This is the BF's order of Spicy Miso ramen and the gohan/cha siu (pork) rice. The pork was bland. I love Japanese food, but I after taking my first bite I wanted to run into any Chinese establishment buy some cha siu (BBQ pork) and just stick it on white rice. It would have been way better. Parking was also a pain in the butt. Everything was full but once we got inside there was no line for Santouka because we went during an off hour. Maybe it's an evil ploy to make people believe that there's a bunch of people inside to add to the Santouka hype. (har har, I kid.) I know they really do get super crowded. They have Santoukas in the Mtsuwa Markets in Torrence and Costa Mesa as well if you want to try and see for yourself! I'm really fair when I rate something so I'll always give it another try so I'll report back when I do. And what was the best part of my day?
I got to buy a super cute $7 Japanese toy at Mitsuwa and have some amazing, rich green tea yogurt at the booth directly across from Santouka. I couldn't find their name but you'll see it when you're there. Best green tea yogurt ever!
Oh and by the way, just in case you wanted to know how THE BEST RAMEN in SoCal looks like, it looks something like this!
Here's my old ramen review of the other places if you want to know what you should order or what other ramen joints to completely skip. (click here.) Honestly why would you not want to go here? You get to watch the Master making ramen unlike Santouka. But I would suggest to all those people who love Santouka to give Hakata Ramen Shinsengumi. You will convert and follow me! Try their Hakata Special. Ask them to bring you a jar of extra garlic and skip adding all the extra ingredients. Just get the bare basic with your choice of noodles, get medium broth, & medium oil. By the way, I go to the one at 8450 East Valley Blvd. Rosemead although they have multiple locations like Redondo Beach, etc.
And if you end up being curious and just want to try out Santouka anyways, I would suggest getting the salt ramen with the special pork and skip out on their miso choices. Also FYI their broths are all tonkatsu based, which means they're made with pork bone. So sorry to those that can't eat pork. This place isn't for you. Just want to let you know, before you damn me to hell for making you eat it. Also go during an off time so that there's a higher chance you can find parking because honestly the place is structured to be crowded all the time. I mean they share a place with Mitsuwa and CVS!
Happy Eatings! I give the Ramen King Crown to Hakata Shinsengumi! TEAM HAKATA!
I've determined that the best food in L.A. is either in Downtown L.A., Orange County, or in the San Gabriel Valley. All of which are at least an hour drive from me. Well, you gotta do what you gotta do for food.
Organic food is the way to go! My favorite snack at Green Zone at Valley Blvd at San Gabriel is their fried salmon triangles on the left. I've also determined finally, that I actually do not like their tofu as much as I did last time (middle picture). Anyways what brought me to Green Zone again this visit aside from their awesome dumplings and free refill Passionfruit Green Tea, was their Hainan Chicken Rice. There's been people raving that they have the best Hainan Chicken rice that even tops that of Savoy's. Their chicken rice wasn't bad but I don't know if I would say it's the best I've ever had. Hainan Chicken just needs to be eaten in Singapore. There's just no excuses. I did like how they were no bones in their chicken though. It made it easier to eat. My mom makes amazing chicken rice. I think she could give any place a run for their money except she doesn't and will never be able to master the art of cutting a chicken. Her pieces of chicken are the size of the whole plate. Major Fail.
We usually make a day trip out of SGV visits and buy a crap load of food since we have to drive so far for it. Look familiar? These rice balls are filled with drugs or something. They are delicious but you can't buy them from a restaurant or Japanese market. Why? Apparently I can't give you the address of where to get these because you have to call a number and order in mass numbers. Some person is making it from their house. Sketchy and awesome! By the way, these are also ingenious. You see the arrows in the first picture? That tells you how to unwrap your ball of rice. The wrapper is engineered so that the seaweed doesn't get soggy from touching the rice or the meat. It's hard to explain, but basically there's a layer of the wrapper that keeps it from hitting the rice and you keep scooting the seaweed over so that you can get a mouthful of the rice, salmon, & crunchy seaweed.
Next stop was Momo's Bakery in Alhambra. They used to be an awesome bakery when they were Kiki's Bakery. Ever since they've become Momo's, their cakes have totally tanked. But one thing has stayed the same-their pandan sponge cakes! Delicious! That's right. That green color is all natural! Delicious!
Here's a place I haven't posted on yet. Duck House at 501 South Atlantic Blvd. Monterey Park. This location isn't as good as their old location but I guess that's what happens when someone gets gunned down in the parking lot-your restaurant loses customers and they close down. =[ This is definitely not the best Peiking Duck I've ever had but it's decent for being in LA. Be sure to call at least an hour in advanced so they can prepare it for you. They run out of ducks often so be prepared to have a back up restaurant in case that happens to you. Above is their salad with sesame sauce that is really good.
Here's the duck. All the meat is separated for you. It's also nice that instead of those huge white buns, they give you little mini tortilla thingys. Much tastier. If you have a big party with you, you can also choose to get duck bean sprouts and duck soup as well.
And your finished product should look something like this before you wrap up all the goodness. Yum.
I was browsing through my old pictures and realized that I haven't posted pictures from my last Vietnam trip 2 years ago. I love Vietnam. It's my favorite place to visit in all of Asia I think. I aplogize for the crappy picture quality since this was my old camera. This trip to Vietnam was very memorable not only because it was my 3rd trip to Vietnam, but also my first trip to Hanoi. I've only been to Saigon Ho Chi Minh City prior to that.
The Mother & I also visited Ha Long Bay, one of the wonders of the world. The views were amazing. We had fresh seafood cooked for us on the boat we were on. The caves were amazing as well. All that is natural!
But there were more important things aside from the breathtaking views... eating on the street and having dirty, yummy, amazing food. The picture on the left is the whole restaurant. Yes the table was the restaurant and right is fresh squeezed passionfruit juice. Yum.
I only went for a few days but my mom and I were able to fit 7/8 meals per day. Below are collages of my favorite and most memorable dishes. So yes that means that not all the pictures are posted. And yes... I really do eat THAT much.
Until we meet again, I will be looking through all these amazing pictures again and again.