Archive for Los Angeles Area

Sam Woo, I Thank You!

Authentic Chinese food is difficult to find in Los Angeles. With the Chinese population gravitating more towards San Gabriel Valley and of course, the one short street they call China Town, authentic Chinese food is nearly impossible to find outside those areas.

Fortunately for me, living in the San Fernando Valley offers a more diverse selection of authentic restaurants as the Los Angeles area. I have easy access to Van Nuys which has a fairly large Asian and Hispanic population.

Although I don’t despise Westernized Chinese food, having grown up in Asia, I do often crave that raw authenticity.

So, when these cravings start to kick in, rather than driving North 20-30 minutes towards SGV, I just drive north for 10 minutes to get to Sam Woo BBQ, which is conveniently located next to Ranch 99 Market to satisfy a lot of my Asian cravings.

Sam Woo BQQ is a chain that offers an extensive menu of Cantonese Cuisine. [Nothing beats authentic Cantonese pan-fried noodles. Aka. Chowmein.] Be prepared for a wait in the evenings though. Being one of the few authentic Cantonese restaurants in the area, it can get pretty busy during dinner time.

During one of my more recent trips with Jasmine, I fell in love with their Roast Duck Porridge, which I now make an attempt to order every visit! First off, authentic Chinese roast duck is to die for! Second, having the roast duck flavors and juices in your hot rice porridge makes for one of the most comforting dishes I’ve ever encountered. Topped off with some fried wontons for an extra crunch and flavor… Ohhhhh….

Roast Duck Porridge (Congee)

Roast Duck Porridge (Congee)

Next on the menu, I looked for a dish that would be able to compliment the porridge. This would have to be a dish that is also soy sauce-based like the duck. We came across the beef and turnip hot pot, which seemed to go perfect with the porridge on a cold evening. And it WAS perfect! Bursting with flavor, the sizzling hot pot was delicious the moment it was set on our table. With every ingredient tender and steaming, the beef was so soft it was coming apart before we even got to it.

My biggest issue with beef is its consistency. As a kid, I’d sit at the dinner table chewing for hours, because that’s just how tough the meat could be. Thankfully, that experience was avoided in the case of the Hot Pot.

Beef & Turnip Hot Pot

Beef & Turnip Hot Pot

Although we didn’t order the pan-fried chow mein that night, I strongly reccommend it at any authentic cantonese restaurant! It’s always been a childhood favorite of mine, and ever since being in LA, I’ve been greatly disappointed by the “chow mein” they serve at almost all places. My exhausting search for authentic chow mein ended when I found Sam Woo.

Sam Woo BBQ

6450 Sepulveda Blvd # G

Van Nuys, CA



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The Reuben.

The Corned Beef that I grew up with in the Philippines, was far different from the fresh cooked beef brisket you find in a reuben sandwich. I grew up with the canned corned beef that you eat for breakfast, sautéed with garlic and onions, and served with a an egg sunny-side up and garlic rice. Which is delicious in it’s own way.

But when St. Patrick’s day came around, suddenly I was confronted by a type of corned beef I’d never encountered before. This slab of cured and seasoned beef brisket that was moist and bursting with flavor. I was hooked.

Last week, I was wandering about the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market on 3rd Street. I don’t visit the farmer’s market as often as I should… And as I was wandering about the selection of various brunch options, I came across a stall called Magee’s, which was said to be known for their corned beef. Immediately, I found myself drifting towards the fresh brisket, thinking how sad it was that nobody was around to eat it. Despite my attempt to find breakfast food, I knew I couldn’t resist having it.

So, I opted for the Rueben Sandwich. That would be closer to breakfast than the whole meat and potatoes deal.


I apologize for the picture quality! It’ just me and my dinky digital camera! But this reuben was phenomenal! Served on rye with fresh sauerkraut, swiss cheese, mustard, with a pickle on the side. If heaven was juicy… This would be it.


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What happens when a Mexican Taco and a Korean BBQ get it on?

You get a Kogi. A taco truck that serves Korean BBQ Tacos.

Enough said.

Follow Kogi on Twitter to stay updated on it’s locations.



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Let’s start off with some Filipino food, since I’m Filipino.

My very American roommate, Kara, was craving Crispy Pata [deep fried pork knuckle/leg] last week. So, I did my research to find a reputable Filipino restaurant in the Los Angeles area.

I came across Barrio Fiesta up in Eagle Rock. We ordered a BUTTLOAD of food. Sisig, Kare-kare, Pancit Canton, Crispy Pata, and ended the meal with Halo-Halo for dessert.

Filipino Feast.

For those of you unfamiliar with the dishes… Look it up, ha! No, seriously though… My descriptions wouldn’t do them justice.

Although I found the Kare-Kare to be pretty bland… I was in HEAVEN with the rest of the dishes. Most especially… The Crispy Pata.


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