Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ethnic Foods of The San Gabriel Valley: Representing the Far East

Cuisines covered in previous posts: Mexican, Cajun, NepaleseLebanese, Thai, BasqueArgentinian, Cuban, VietnameseEnglish, Belgian, Spanish, JewishGreek, Greek Diner, Hawaiian, Salvadoran, Iranian, Armenian, Afghani

See that above? That's 20 different ethnic varieties of food. I'm guessing we just crossed over the half-way point of our survey.

Last time we were in the middle east and drifting farther east. Today, we'll be back to what the SGV is really know for...Asian.

Fried noodles, little tiny egg rolls, minty milkshakes...even durian, for Christsakes!  It's from that island archipelago and we've got it...Indonesian Food.

There is not a whole lot of Indonesian in the L.A. area but what we do have is mostly concentrated in the valley with an outlet in West Covina, two in Alhambra, and the one we sampled, Chicky BBQ and Grill in Duarte.

Just off the corner of Huntington and Buena Vista, behind the El Pollo Loco, lies a little bit of this Southeast Asian culture. In the strip mall, there is an Indonesian grocery store, beauty salon, an Indo TV studio, cultural club, and a motel...the Duarte Inn...where each Saturday, an Indonesian food fair sets up in the parking lot.

It's between the market and the TV studio that you'll find Chicky BBQ with just a few tables where large Indonesian families push together to enjoy weekend meals together.

The menu has a large range of products...glazed shrimp that look like little glazed donuts; soto ayam (a chicken stew); nasi timbel (fried chicken and tofu)...and much more...but their specialty here is satay, skewers of grilled meat (chicken, pork, or lamb) cooked over an open flame.

This little combo of chicken satay, rice, salad, and egg rolls with peanut sauce and sweet chili is not only very juicy and delicious, it's only $6.50.

Going west on Huntington, it won't be long until you get to one of the jewels of the valley, Santa Anita Racetrack. Just before you get there, however, you may notice a funny named restaurant, Young Dong Garden.

Korean Food is making a big splash in the Los Angeles area these days. You can find all you want in Koreatown, just west of downtown L.A. and centered at Wilshire and Vermont, but we have quite a representation here in the valley as well.

At Young Dong, it's Korean barbecue. You pay one price and get all you can eat.

A propane grill is built into each table and a waitress brings you plates of meat and some pork fat. You coat the grill with the fat and cook the meat as you go on your personal hot plate.

Besides the meat, there is an awesomely huge array of condiments and side dishes to choose from, all set on your table. Kimchi, onions, garlic, several sauces, chiles...

It's a different way for us to barbecue. The meats are good, the selection vast, and you get to choose how much taste you want on it.

Did you know that when you go to our local donut shops, more than likely you're enjoying Cambodian Food? That's because it has become a traditional business for Cambodian immigrants to get into. They are very good at it, too (our favorite is run by a very nice family just outside of the SGV, Miss Donuts in La Verne).

Beyond that, though, there is one traditional Cambodian restaurant that I could find in the San Gabriel Valley. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to try it but will include it here for reference. 

It's Battambang Seafood Restaurant in San Gabriel. It looks real good and we hope to try it out soon.

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
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