Food of the World in Los Angeles: Tokushima, Japan

 

Ramen is often thought of as a quick, cheep food eaten by college students on a budget. But in Japan, where Ramen originated, it’s a complex and delicious dish served in an almost infinite amount of styles.

For a quick lunch I stopped into a Ramen Shop in Little Tokyo, near downtown LA. It’s a great neighborhood to visit for people watching, shopping, and of course eating. There are bakeries and grocery stores, as well as (non-touristy) gift shops and public spaces.

Little Tokyo in Los Angeles

I had a bowl of Tokushima Ramen at Men Oh, a small clean restaurant in a nondescript shopping center. Much like I noticed while traveling in Japan a few years ago, the exterior of the restaurant was dark, plain, and almost uninviting, however the interior was bright and welcoming.

Men Oh Front

Service was fast, and the noodles were warm, hearty and delicious. It wasn’t too salty, and you could customize the style with extras like scallions, chili pepper flakes and more.

Men Oh Interior Men Oh Menu Men Oh Ramen

 

I’m sure there are many other styles of Ramen to find in LA, but Men Oh probably had the best bowl I’ve eaten so far.

For more Food of the World in Los Angeles, check out my posts on LA restaurants serving the food of South AfricaCanada, ShanghaiVietnamEthiopiaSingaporeAustralia and Guangdong.

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Food of the World in Los Angeles: South Africa

Very close to where the 101 and 405 freeways intersect in the valley there’s a big public space called Woodley Park. The park is home to running trails, archery, a lake (!) and several Cricket Fields. While the sport of Cricket isn’t terribly popular in the US, but here in Southern California there’s a sizable population of fans and enthusiasts. So when they’re done playing and need a good place to eat and drink nearby, Springbok Bar and Grill is conveniently located right across the street.

Springbok Bar and Grill

Exterior of the Springbox Bar and Grill

“This bar isn’t just a place for South Africans, but rather a place where people from all over the world can get together and share their passion for good sports and good food. ” – Springbok website

Springbok is a medium sized restaurant with lots of TVs and beers on tap, many from all over the world (but none from South Africa!).  The interior is divided into a bar area and a dinning area, and the menu full of interesting items such as the “Biltong Bowl” (similar to beef jerky), samosas and “Gunpowder Chips.” They also serve typical bar food like burgers and club sandwiches.

Springbok Bar and Grill

Bar Area at the Springbox Bar and Grill

Springbok Bar and Grill

Menu at Springbok Bar and Grill

I coworker of mine grew up in South Africa and when I told him I wanted to try a good South African dish he recommended the Chicken Peri-Peri, so that’s what I ordered.

Springbok Bar and Grill

Chicken Peri-Peri at Springbox Bar and Grill

Peri-Peri is the name of the seasoning sauce used to flavor the grilled chicken, which I later learned is derived from an African Chili. While the waitress and menu warned about how spicy it was, I didn’t think the heat level was too high at all, maybe a 5 out of 10. But it was very tasty, as were the fries, side salad and cole slaw on the side.

I also enjoyed sampling some other items, including the buffalo wings, some veggie and beef samosas, and a few cold beers to wash it all down.

Springbok Bar and Grill

“Pete’s Pili Pili Tiger Prawns” at Springbok Bar and Grill

Overall it was a good spot to refuel and unwind, or to watch some cricket, rugby or soccer.

For more Food of the World in Los Angeles, check out my posts on LA restaurants serving the food of Canada, ShanghaiVietnamEthiopiaSingaporeAustralia and Guangdong.

Food of the World in Los Angeles: Singapore

I stopped by Singapore’s Banana Leaf at the Farmers Market near the Grove the other day for a quick snack and some Malaysian food as part of my quest to eat local food from all over the world.
Banana Leaf at the Grove in LA

The Farmers Market is a part of the Grove, a huge complex in the heart of LA that has lots of stores and shops, restaurants, a food court and produce stands. It’s a cool place to window shop, see some unique things, do some shopping or grab lunch. We didn’t have a ton of time or much of an appetite so we just split a few apps – the Curry Puff (below) and a Roti Parathan.
Banana Leaf at the Grove in LA

The Puff was deep fried, filled with warmed seasoned vegetables and served with a delicious sweet chili sauce. The Roti was a warm, thin bread served with a coconut curry dipping sauce. Both were flavorful, but I bet the real action is in the main dishes, which I”ll have to come back and try.Banana Leaf at the Grove in LA

For more Food of the World of Los Angeles, check out my posts on the food of VietnamShanghai and Ethiopia.