We continue to countdown our 100 favorite dishes at local restaurants. We'll be sharing these with you every weekday until our annual Best Of Issue comes out. Enjoy!
#83. Cambodian Beef Jerky at Sophy's
Sophy's Cambodian beef jerky is one of those dishes that proves appearances can be deceiving. On first glance you'd think the things weren't edible. On touching it, you're sure it's not.
These beef logs, twisted and gnarled like a tree branch recovered from a forest fire, looks grotesque and well, kind of gross. No color elements are added on the plate. No cilantro, no parsley, not even a cherry tomato. What you see is what you get: sooty black clubs that might as well be charcoal.
But then you bite into it. A rush of flavors smacks you up royal. Your eyes widen. You taste kaffir lime, garlic, sugar, and other spices you'll try to identify but can't. You end up fighting to get at that last piece. And the texture is wonderful, if contradictory. How can it be that it's simulatenously tender, dry, moist, chewy, and crispy fried.
You tear of another ragged piece and dunk it in a vinegar-sugar dipping sauce, stuff it in your mouth, and tell yourself, I'll never prejudge a plate of food on how it looks again..
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Sophy's Thai and Cambodian, 3240 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach, (562) 494-1763.
The list so far:
#100. Jerk Carnitas Torta at The Crosby
#99. Nem Nuong Cuon at Brodard
#98. Pork Chop Anything at Nice Time Deli
#97. Flying Saucer at Alberto's
#96. Frozen Custard at Marc Burger's in Macy's Signature Kitchen
#95. Collard Greens at Johnny Reb's
#94. Strawberry Shortcake from Job's Daughters
#93. Cuban Sandwich at DeSimone's Deli
#92. Lamb with Preserved Cabbage at Mas Islamic Chinese
#91. Baked Rice at Luc Dinh Ky
#90. Beans on Toast at The Olde Ship
#89. Midnight Al Pastor Burrito or Taco at Taqueria Tapatia
#88. Budino di Cioccolato, Pizzeria Ortica
#87. Beef Teriyaki Bowl, Teriyami
#86. Salmon Onigiri at Cream Pan
#85. Beef Fat Fries at SideDoor
#84. Silken Tofu & Thousand Year Old Egg at Asian Tapas