Ethnic and Regional Cuisines

  • Food

    September 19, 2013

    Papa Hassan's Has a Brand-New Bag

    The legendary Middle Eastern restaurant is now in Anaheim but serving the same great comfort food

  • Food

    August 29, 2013

    Thai This Now: Coconut Rabbit

    Is the still-undiscovered Los Alamitos restaurant the best of its country's cuisine in OC since Thai Nakorn?

  • Blogs

    August 28, 2013

    Long Beach Lunch: Baja Sonora

    Supposedly, the best tacos in Long Beach come from Baja Sonora, a cheapo Mexican restaurant in an aging airport-adjacent strip mall. Every year, the suburban mini-chain (another location is in Bixby Knolls) wins the title from all the local papers and so after nearly a decade of living in the city ... More >>

  • Food

    August 22, 2013

    Ritter's Steam Kettle Cooking: Cajun Steampunk

    This Santa Ana Cajun restaurant uses a novel cooking apparatus to bring you in, but it's the food that's keeps you coming back

  • Food

    August 15, 2013

    Bangkok Spice: The Persistence of Thai

    [Hole In the Wall] This Anaheim restaurant serves Thai standards, with a few surprises

  • Food

    August 8, 2013

    H2O Sushi & Izakaya Is Not for Sushi Snobs

    Hipster sushi at the Triangle in Costa Mesa

  • Blogs

    August 8, 2013

    Long Beach Lunch: La Shish

    The plight of 130 Pine Avenue over the last few years is a direct reflection of the changing culinary landscape of downtown Long Beach. When I first moved to the LBC seven years ago, the prime dining drag was a paradoxical mix of high-end restaurants and seedy nightclubs and 130 Pine was a Hooters. ... More >>

  • Food

    July 18, 2013

    Antojitos Don Juan: The Tastiest Insult

    [Hole In the Wall] This Santa Ana restaurant offers iconoclastic Mexican food

  • Blogs

    July 12, 2013

    SoCal Restaurant Show For this Week on KLAA-AM 830: Marche Moderne Bouilabaisse, OC Fair, and More!

    Another weekend, another show with superstar chef Jet Tila on KLAA-AM 830. We turn the keyboard over to show producer Andy Harris--enjoy!

  • Blogs

    July 9, 2013

    Banh Mi Che Cali Continues Domination

    Banh Mi Che Cali, the banh mi shop that is most known for its buy-two-get-the-third sandwich deal, is continuing its OC domination. It started when it took over a big, empty spot that used to house several failed iterations of Chinese restaurant on Harbor in Fullerton. It turned it into a restaurant ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 19, 2013

    Long Beach Lunch: Lola's Mexican Cuisine

    Lola's is the perfect Mexican restaurant for Long Beach's Retro Row with craft beer and frontside parklet seating adding contemporary flair to a menu full of regional Mexican favorites. Brightly colored decor and the sounds of mariachi evoke what may have been rancho life for Lola's founder, the mat ... More >>

  • Food

    June 13, 2013

    Lindo Michoacán #2: Fond of the Fonda

    [Hole In the Wall] This Anaheim restaurant is where Mexicans eat when they want to eat 'regular' Mexican food

  • Food

    June 13, 2013

    Is Eleven46 Kitchen the Chipotle of Vietnamese Cuisine?

    This Foothill Ranch restaurant cooks great food, but it may need to readjust its operational model

  • Blogs

    June 12, 2013

    Japanese Gourmet Fair Starts Tomorrow At Mitsuwa Costa Mesa; Lasts Till Sunday

    Ah, Mitsuwa. Where would we be without your occasional food fairs. This week sees one of the bigger ones of the year. It's plainly called "Japanese Gourmet Fair" but for all intents and purposes, it's just an excuse to pull out the takoyaki booth they have in storage. I saw them already getting it r ... More >>

  • Columns

    June 6, 2013

    Is There Any Good Mexican Food in England?

    [¡Ask a Mexican!] And what's the difference between Tex-Mex and New Mexican food?

  • Blogs

    June 4, 2013

    Tortilla Tuesdays: Mi Familia Flour Tortillas

    I sat down as I began to write this article, and I wrote down all the adjectives I would use to describe a flour tortilla from an American supermarket. Gummy, stale, dried-out (which takes talent in conjunction with gummy), oily-tasting, nasty. It doesn't seem to matter who makes the tortillas; whe ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 22, 2013

    Long Beach Lunch: Sliced & Diced Eatery

    Occupying an eggplant purple shack in a parking lot surrounded by Mexican restaurants and a vacuum cleaner repair store, Sliced & Diced is a little schizophrenic food shack that could only have happened in Long Beach. Start with two kooky friends--one white, one Latina--who share a mutual love of c ... More >>

  • Food

    May 16, 2013

    Pho Quyen: Absolutely Sweet Little Saigon

    [Hole In the Wall] This Westminster spot makes good pho, but go for the to-go specials

  • Food

    May 9, 2013

    For a Hot Time In Old Huntington, Go to the Black Trumpet Bistro

    Dino Ferraro's French/Italian/Spanish/Moroccan menu would be oddball anywhere but Beach Boulevard

  • Blogs

    May 8, 2013

    Sriracha-Flavored Lay's Loses To Cheesy-Garlic Bread Flavor in Potato Chip Contest

    In an upset victory, Cheesy Garlic Bread has triumphed over Sriracha in Lay's Potato Chips "Do Us A Flavor" contest. Short of saying that this might indicate that the Sriracha craze has finally ebbed, we actually never got to taste any of the three Cheesy Garlic Bread might have actua ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 7, 2013

    On The Line: Hiro Noguchi Of Sushi Noguchi, Part One

    Hiro Noguchi may have required a translator to answer our questionnaire, but we shared a rapport over his omakase menu one afternoon. While skittish about dining on fresh coronet (pictured), it quickly became apparent that Noguchi would be our sushi hero, saving us from Americanized rolls and introd ... More >>

  • Food

    May 2, 2013

    Urban Seoul's Bulgogi Nation

    This Irvine restaurant is the latest Kogi knock-off, but it's a damn great one

  • Blogs

    May 1, 2013

    Eat This Now: Pambazo Ahi Crudo at Anepalco's Off Chapman

    So I know all of you go to Anepalco's off Main Street in Orange, the first branch of Danny Godinez's coming empire of alta cocina Mexican food. But not enough of you have yet made the trek to the second Anepalco's, the one off Chapman Avenue kitty-korner from UCI Medical Center. That one gets a good ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 30, 2013

    Mama Hong's, New Vietnamese Restaurant, Opens in Costa Mesa

    I've lost track of how many iterations of pho joint has occupied the space at 3013 Harbor Blvd. in Costa Mesa. A few years ago I ate at one called Pho 99, which at the time was part of a larger chain. That restaurant has since become a blip in the timeline, replaced by another pho restaurant. But w ... More >>

  • Food

    April 25, 2013

    Hue Oi: Boiling Down to the Basics

    This Hue-style joint is one of Little Saigon's best places for bánh bèo and bún bò hue

  • Blogs

    April 22, 2013

    Trader Joe's Now Has Its Own Sriracha

    See Also: *Five Signs You May Have A Sriracha Problem *Introducing Sriracha Lip Balm *INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Things You Should Know About Sriracha Trader Joe's has tried its hand at packaged Asian cuisine with varying levels of success. Its Punjab choley? Tasty. Its beef pho? Why?!But its ballsiest creati ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 18, 2013

    Long Beach Lunch: Number Nine

    Sorry to all the animal-lovers out there, but "vegetarian pho" is definitely an oxymoron, so much so that the very association of it with Long Beach's Number Nine has left many avoiding the place despite its convenient location on Fourth Street's Retro Row. But a recent lunch with a vegetarian broug ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 16, 2013

    Meiji Seimen, New Noodle Shop, Opens in Costa Mesa

    Costa Mesa is OC's ramen country. We know this for a fact. But ramen isn't the only noodle game in town. There's also soba and udon, to name just a few other slurpable options. But so far, if I recall correctly, there's only one notable from-scratch udon maker in town: Sanukiseimen at the Mitsuwa Ma ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 15, 2013

    Rick Bayless Insults Yet Another California City's Mexican Food Traditions

    My lord, does Rick Bayless want all Mexicans in the United States to hate him or something? Back in 2010, the celebrity chef of Mexican food notoriously said Los Angeles didn't have much of a Mexican food tradition, then denied he ever said that while trashing Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Time ... More >>

  • Food

    April 11, 2013

    Taco Nazo: OC's LA Fish Taco Cousin

    This La Habra restaurant sells great fish tacos straight outta La Puente

  • Blogs

    March 26, 2013

    Banh Mi Che Cali Opens Gigantic Restaurant in Fullerton Next To Lee's Sandwiches; Let The Banh Mi Battle Begin!

    A banh mi turf war is brewing in Fullerton. Banh Mi Che Cali, which we've written about here on these blogs and featured on our Best Of lists, Favorite Dishes lists, and lists of other lists, has opened what has to be their biggest, most gigantic store yet...and this one also serves pho in an a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 25, 2013

    Eleven46, New Vietnamese Restaurant in Foothill Ranch, Offers Beignets!

    A new Vietnamese restaurant in isn't news, especially in South County, the new pho frontier. But a Vietnamese restaurant that serves beignets in South County? You don't see that everyday.

  • Blogs

    March 12, 2013

    Revolving Sushi Restaurant To Open in Fashion Island

    Up to now, the closest thing to a sushi bar you could get at Fashion Island was Hana Grill at the food court. Blue C Sushi will change this soon. It is a revolving sushi joint where the plates of sushi roll by on a conveyor belt, just as it does at all the other kaiten sushi restaurants in our count ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 6, 2013

    Long Beach Lunch: Sal's Gumbo Shack

    Despite the prevalence of Louisiana Fried Chicken locations in Long Beach (a fact that continues to baffle me, as most are also under the same roof as a "Chinese food to go" establishments), there are few places that actually serve Louisiana-style soul food. BBQed meats slathered in sweet and spicy ... More >>

  • Food

    February 14, 2013

    Thanh Ha's Crepe Expectations

    The Vietnamese crepes at this Westminster restaurant are a worthy challenger to those at the venerable Van's Restaurant

  • Food

    February 7, 2013

    Buns N Rice: The Chosun Ones

    [Hole In the Wall] This Costa Mesa deli is slowly introducing office drones to Korean cuisine

  • Blogs

    February 6, 2013

    Long Beach Lunch: Sushi Boy

    The only cool thing about slaving all day at a computer buried inside one of the many faceless Irvine office parks is that one hour of freedom where you get to drive to the nearest retail corner and get a plastic plate full of fast casual ethnic food at lunch-special prices. In my glory days of boun ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 31, 2013

    On the Auction Block: Letter From JFK's Mom Trashing Mexican Food

    While doing my research for Taco USA, I came across a fascinating sub-chapter: presidential encounters with Mexican food. Some of our commanders-in-chief lived for the stuff--Richard Nixon, LBJ, and Bill Clinton, especially. Others helped elevate it in status--Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama come to ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 30, 2013

    Long Beach Lunch: Kabob Curry Indian and Pakistani Food

    India and Pakistan might be right next to each other on a map, but it's not often you see them listed together on a sign for a Long Beach restaurant, much less a small, Himilayan-salt obsessed one tucked away in a storefront just off Pine Avenue and Third Street. Originally lured into the Kabob Curr ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 25, 2013

    10 Things You Must Eat in Little Saigon

    In creating this list, I asked myself this question: Where would I take out-of-town visitors to explore the wonders of our Little Saigon? And what would I have them eat? In all honesty, I came up with more than you see below. My notepad is filled with at least a dozen more tasty bits I didn't have r ... More >>

  • Food

    January 24, 2013

    Pho Song Hai's Drip In Time

    [Hole In the Wall] This Westminster pho shop sells a unique type of the legendary chicken soup

  • Food

    January 10, 2013

    Soy Tofu: Tofu or Not Tofu

    This La Palma Korean dive serves soft tofu soup to warm your bones

  • Blogs

    January 9, 2013

    Long Beach Lunch: Long Beach Marché in the New Long Beach Airport Concourse

    Attention: the future of airport food is here. And the best part is, it's exactly like food in the real world, down to the prices and all. I discovered it on a casual travel day a few weeks after the Long Beach Airport's new $45 million concourse began hosting passengers in early December. Hearing a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 8, 2013

    Tortilla Tuesdays: Nuño Brothers Tortilleria

    There some OC Mexican market dynasties--the Gonzalezes of Northgate, the Bonillas of El Toro, El Toro Bravo, and El Camino Real, the Rubalcavas of La Reina and Rubalcava's Bakery, the Zambranos behind Taco Mesa, La Reyna, and Soho Taco--whose imprint is all across Latino OC, whose product travels fa ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 8, 2013

    On the Line: Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria, Part One

    Firsts happen all the time. Our interview with Carlos Salgado was the first time a chef brought someone to our meeting (who was lovely, by the way!). It was also the first time we heard of a subject experiencing car trouble on the way to their photo shoot. Actually, it was luxe lonchera trouble whil ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 28, 2012

    New Izakaya Opens In Fullerton

    There's a new izakaya in Fullerton. No, not Honda Ya. That's old news. Izakaya Kopan is taking over the spot of Red Chopsticks, a pho purveyor located next to the popular sushi joint Chomp at 141 E. Commonwealth Ave.

  • Blogs

    December 20, 2012

    Make It Mexican With Roland: Tamales

    This is the first installment of Mexican food tutorials with the warm and inspiring Roland Rubalcava of Rubalcava's in Placentia. Roland has agreed to take us through his favorite dishes that he learned how to make from his mother--this way, you no longer have any excuses to eat at a gabacho-fied Me ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 20, 2012

    Tacos de Pescado Los Originales: Naked, Flaked, and Sacred

    It's time to take back the fish taco.Enough with the soft, mushy, grilled "healthy" fish tacos. Find a different name for it--tacos de guacareada come to mind--and leave the original tacos de pescado estilo Ensenada alone. A real fish taco is a piece of deep-fried fish--preferably shark, but any moi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 11, 2012

    Pascal Olhats Closes Pascal at Hutton Centre

    Pascal Olhats' seminal restaurant Traditions is all but a distant memory, and now the satellite location of Pascal at Hutton Centre has closed as well. I noticed it was dark and gutted this past weekend and shot an email to the man himself. Chef Olhats not only answered me within mere minutes v ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 7, 2012

    Where to Buy Tamales in Orange County This Christmas, 2012 Edition!

    This is hilarious. Every year around this time, I get asked where to buy the best tamales in Orange County. Really, the answers rarely change. Below is the article on the subject I did last year, which itself is mostly a retread of a story I did back in 2007. Other plugs I'll give right now are for ... More >>

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