10 Best Asian Restaurants in LA, According to a MasterChef

Food, at the conclude of the day, is seriously about community. That is unquestionably what it’s all about for MasterChef prodigy Fred Chang. And soon after wooing Gordon Ramsay on MasterChef and doing the job for numerous Michelin-starred and James Beard Award-profitable cooks, Chang took to social media to make a food items-loving local community of his possess. Somewhat than starting a restaurant strategy, he’s employing his Instagram and weblog, Freddy’s Harajuku, to construct community and share new recipes.

As a member of the Asian American, Pacific Islanders (AAPI) group, Chang is also employing his system to make significant connections within the food items space. For AAPI Heritage Thirty day period, he participated in “Really like By way of Foodstuff” — a Reels recipe activation in collaboration with Facebook and the different “Subtle Asian” Fb groups.

“Being a section of the Delicate Asian Baking Fb Team, I uncover myself studying so considerably about other users of the AAPI community by the dishes they grew up on,” he suggests.

It’s no surprise — taking into consideration his passion for each food items and his heritage — that Chang has produced his rounds to the best Asian dining establishments in his home metropolis of Los Angeles. So he’s giving us his guideline to his all-time favourite Asian dining establishments in LA.

“All of the places to eat detailed in this article maintain a particular memory to me or were launched to me by both a dear close friend or loved ones member,” he notes. “The simple fact that a broad and huge town these as Los Angeles could experience like these a neighborhood via these eating places even now astounds me, and I hope at the very least a person of these restaurants resonates with a fond meals memory that you experienced.”

Elite Restaurant — Monterey Park

Elite Restaurant
Elite Cafe

What I enjoy about Elite Restaurant is that it is actually no-frills dim sum. Situated in Monterey Park, I have pretty specific recollections of heading listed here just about every New 12 months just after my mothers and fathers would take my sister and me to look at the Rose Parade in Pasadena. There truly is no improved way to start out the new calendar year than with char siu bao — believe like American-design barbecue toddler again pork ribs, but without the need of the bones and stuffed into a bun! — custard buns, turnip cakes, roasted duck, and black bean spareribs. The pork tummy in individual is a should – they prepare it Hong Kong type, indicating that the skin is roasted in salt right up until it is super skinny and crispy. The close end result is a tender piece of pork with skin that shatters and crunches like a potato chip!

As a baker, I also have a certain gentle place for the custard buns, because the buns on their own are mild and fluffy, and they are stuffed with creamy sweet custard. If anyone is unfamiliar with dim sum, I would say that Elite is a great way to be launched to it in conditions of authenticity but also just very good eats in standard!

Omar’s Kitchen area — Artesia

Omar’s Kitchen
Omar’s Kitchen

Omar’s Kitchen is a pretty exclusive restaurant in that it options Halal-fashion Chinese foods. To give some qualifications on this, there is a instead notable Uyghur population within just the Xinjiang area of Northwest China. The result of this is Halal Chinese food stuff, which is the best of two worlds simply because you have a good deal of Chinese dishes like quotie — potstickers — or lanzhou model noodles, but that includes really Center Jap spices and components, these types of as cumin, lamb, and yogurt.

I however don’t forget my moms and dads taking me below, and staying blown away by the existence of this design of cuisine! The lamb potstickers are delectable, with the filling currently being juicy and pairing fantastically with black vinegar. The lamb ribs with cumin and onions are aromatic and the meat is each crispy at the finishes from currently being deep-fried and succulent on the insides. My complete preferred, even so, is the laghman noodles. Thick noodles swimming in this smoky pepper broth with shredded items of lamb and vibrant vegetables. That dish is anything I desire about, crave consistently, and is truly worth me driving 30 miles just to try to eat!

SinBala — Arcadia

Simbala Restaurant
Simbala Cafe

I would say in terms of nostalgia, SinBala hits a ton of those childhood recollections for me. Although I sense semi-obligated to place Din Tai Fung on this list to stand for my indigenous Taiwan, I come to feel like SinBala just better represents my Taiwanese childhood of meals that would be served in either a boba store or a night time marketplace. My mother employed to just take me and my sister to SinBala whenever we ended up in the 626 area, and I can not thank her sufficient for performing that.

A Taiwanese xiaochi (compact bites) cafe, SinBala focuses on the more simple items, ranging from stir-fried eggs and tomatoes to bean curd with seaweed and tea eggs, and my individual beloved, the SinBala sausage. The sausage is very similar to Chinese lap cheong — currently being a sweet, fatty, and smoky predicament — despite the fact that the SinBala sausages are on the chunkier facet and served with garlic for an further little bit of savory kick – a warning, you will will need a breath mint immediately after consuming that, but it is truly worth it! I also adore their meatball soup, which is a crystal clear broth scented with shallots and cilantro, with Taiwanese-model meatballs. That is some thing my grandma would make for me during my visits to Taiwan, and SinBala genuinely just takes me again to these trips without getting to crack my wallet on an intercontinental flight.

Borneo Kalimantan — Alhambra

Now I’m not even certain how a lot of men and women are acquainted with Indonesian food stuff. But if I were to explain it, sweet, sour, salty, fragrant, and spicy would possibly be the very best adjectives. Feel of all of the beautiful herbs of southeast Asian delicacies (mint, cilantro, basil), but also chilies, garlic, peanuts, and coconuts. When I went to Borneo Kalimantan, I was delighted by every little thing I ate! The hen satay was a enjoyable appetizer to nibble on, with a generous quantity of the satay sauce drizzled all about the skewers. The laksa mee curry soup was a bowl of comfort, staying these thick egg noodles served in a spicy-sweet coconut curry broth that just warms you up from the within. We also got the roti flatbreads, which ended up flaky and practically feather-like and arrived with curry sauce to dip into.

Nevertheless, the complete showstopper was the nasi goreng, which is Indonesian-model fried rice. The rice was golden brown in coloration from staying sauteed in sweet soy sauce and shrimp paste and was folded in with items of hen, greens, egg, and topped with crispy shallot bits for crunch. This was a dish that you ongoing to take in absent at, simply because every bite was marginally distinct, and it invited you to retain likely back again for another flavor to see what component will following strike your tastebuds! If you have hardly ever tried out Indonesian foodstuff ahead of, I extremely propose attempting Borneo, as it would be a excellent introduction to the cuisine, all the while becoming a quite genuine encounter!

Ruen Pair — North Hollywood

Ruen Pair
Ruen Pair

I would like to individually thank my close friend Sylvie for introducing me to this location. Found in Thai City/Hollywood, Ruen Pair serves tremendous standard Thai cuisine. From curries to inexperienced papaya salads and pad thai and pad see iew, there definitely is some thing for absolutely everyone right here. Personal favorites of mine consist of the duck curry, the pad thai, the papaya salad, and the new coconut juice. The duck curry is warming and comforting, and amazingly the ideal element of it, in addition to the stewed duck meat, are the parts of pineapple, which are sweet, bitter, and smokey from being cooked in the curry. The papaya salad is also a textural delight, for those people who have not eaten Thai food stuff outside of just pad thai or curries. Built with environmentally friendly papaya — tremendous related in texture to a crunchy cucumber or a radish — it is sweet, sour, crunchy, and spicy, all points that make it addictive and well worth ordering time and time yet again.

Also if you are not super stuffed on curries, noodles, and inexperienced papaya salad, you can go throughout the avenue to Bhan Kanom Thai for all forms of Thai desserts as very well, including khanom bueng, which are Thai street crepes stuffed with meringue and sweet egg floss!

Izakaya Hachi — Torrance

Izakaya Hachi
Izakaya Hachi

Izakaya Hachi is one of those people places I usually take pals who are traveling to from out of town. For people unfamiliar with the terminology, an izakaya is a Japanese gastropub, focusing on modest bites like yakitori skewers or onigiri. What is so specific about Izakaya Hachi, compared to the other myriad of Japanese dining establishments in Torrance, is their exciting solution to Japanese pub food stuff! They present much more normal izakaya foods this sort of as grilled beef tongue and skewers, as properly as sushi and sashimi.

Even so, one particular of my absolute favourite merchandise that they offer is the gobo chips, which are thinly shaved and fried items of burdock root that they end with matcha salt. The combination is floral, salty, a little bitter, and crunchy, and they are a delight to consume! Yet another specialty are their warm pots, or nabe — pronounced “nah-beh.” Their motsu nabe is a generous portion, with every thing you could possibly want from a Japanese cafe — stewed cabbage, tofu, mushrooms, pork, and pork intestine — it might audio weird, but trust me, it is mainly like pork stomach but fattier! Their pumpkin zenzai dessert, which is this chilled, sweet pumpkin soup with dango — sweet rice cakes — is one particular of my all-time preferred Japanese desserts!

Sunshine Nong Dan — Koreatown

It would be legal of me to make a checklist of Asian restaurants in LA and not involve at minimum just one Korean restaurant, specifically provided the abundance of Korean food stuff below in the city. Just one of my complete favored restaurants in K-City in Sunlight Nong Dan — honorable mentions to Ook Kook for truly quality all-you-can-try to eat KBBQ and Cafe Bora for aesthetically satisfying Asian fusion desserts! I still have very distinctive memories of my friends Justina and Carolyn taking me below practically a 10 years back and we purchased the galbijjim. Not remaining super immersed in Korean foodstuff in common, I didn’t know what to hope, nor did I feel what would get there would be this gigantic clay pot filled with this effervescent spicy red broth, stuffed with stewed vegetables, rice cakes, and giant items of short rib. And to top off the theatrics, the waiter smothered the total matter in mozzarella cheese and brûléed it tableside with a blowtorch till it was bubbly and caramelized. So we fundamentally got supper and a display! Whilst the shorter ribs were delicious, amazingly my preferred bite was the potatoes. Super tender and virtually fluffy in the center, when soaking up that tremendous spicy broth and the flavor of the short ribs,

I uncovered myself rummaging by means of the clay pot for any potatoes I could discover!

Spoon and Pork — Historic FilipinoTown

Spoon and Pork holds a particular memory for me simply because my friend from period nine of MasterChef, Ralph, took me along with our close friend Ann in this article. Tucked in a cozy very little corner of Historic FilipinoTown, Spoon and Pork is a modern Filipino bistro, carrying out much more fusion will take on basic Filipino cuisine. The pork belly adobo and the lechon kawali were two factors that promptly stood out to me: the adobo was salty, bitter, and the pork was so tender, although the lechon experienced crunchy pork crackling, and was served with shaved purple cabbage, which extra a attractive color and a wonderful, fresh crunch to contrast the actually prosperous pork. Both of those dishes are iconically Filipino, when I also genuinely appreciated their buko tart, which was a miniature variation of common Filipino buko pie — buko is Tagalog for coconut, but extra particularly, contemporary inexperienced coconut that is gentle and tender.

I nevertheless have fond memories of that evening meal, and am forever thankful to Ralph for introducing me to the delicacies that he grew up on!

Fugetsu-Do — Tiny Tokyo


Now I could not have a listing of Asian food stuff spots in LA with out which includes at least 1 dessert place! Fugetsu-Do retains a specific put in my heart, staying a mochi shop in the heart of Small Tokyo that is over 100 decades outdated. The store is spouse and children-owned and managed, and makes probably close to countless numbers of individual mochi — glutinous rice cakes, assume like a marshmallow but fewer sweet — just about every day. They have a wide range of flavors, some additional classic like purple bean ohagi, or much more modern, like their blueberry mochi loaded with blueberry-flavored white bean paste. A single of their signatures is the rainbow dango, also named suama. They effectively roll several various colours of mochi collectively to variety a rainbow-colored extremely-comfortable cloud so superior that you will obtain yourself waking up in the center of the night time at 2 AM craving a boxful of them.

All of the mochi built and served at Fugestsu-Do are tasty and have this tremendous-comfortable, melt-in-the-mouth texture to them that is different from your Trader Joe’s mochi ice creams. I am super fortuitous to be raised in an location in which Fugetsu-Do mochi is conveniently accessible — they also promote their mochi to numerous area Japanese grocery retailers in the vicinity of the place I dwell, but I will acknowledge that the mochi from the retailer just tastes even improved and are worth the vacation to Little Tokyo!

Brodard Restaurant — Fountain Valley

Brodard Restaurant
Brodard Restaurant

I know that this is technically a listing for L.A. and we are venturing out to the O.C., but in truth, the finest Vietnamese meals in Southern California is generally in or at the very least around the Yard Grove area! That is not even up for debate! And for me, Brodard Cafe is like the crown jewel of Vietnamese foods below in SoCal. Serving a assortment of summer season rolls, pho, banh mi, Vietnamese curries, and French desserts, there actually is an choice for anyone. My sister and I would also make a mini road excursion out of driving down to Brodard and picking up their nem nuong cuon — grilled pork spring rolls — to go for supper. The rolls have pork sausage, these crispy fried egg roll wrapper bits, and crunchy fresh vegetables, and is served with a delectable nuoc mam sauce to end! They are truthfully the excellent highway vacation food stuff!

Further than the nem nuong cuon, I personally really like their banh xeo and goat curries. Banh xeo is a thin pancake that is stuffed with pork belly, shrimp, bean sprouts, and bung suggests, and served with a plethora of fresh herbs, creating it a seriously fresh new and crunchy expertise. There is a ton to Vietnamese food stuff further than pho, and Brodard definitely assists with introducing you to people dishes! In conditions of their desserts, Brodard gives a assortment of French pastries, tying in these French influences in Vietnamese delicacies further, such as macarons, apple tarts, creme brulees, and my private favorite, gateau opera!