Korean steamed dumplings from a restaurant in a market head this month's top tastes. Representing Indian fusion are spicy Punjabi tacos. Because it's Lent, you can try tortitas de camarón, a Mexican specialty for the season.
Then come two desserts, luscious--and healthy--blueberry cheesecake, and a super rich flan that originated in the Philippines.
1. The boiled pork dumplings at Wool Um Ma Restaurant are so flavorful they'd be good even without the soy sauce and vinegar dip. Tender, silky wrappers and plenty of filling make them even more outstanding. Bright yellow radish pickles also come with the order of 15 dumplings. They're so light you won't feel stuffed after eating so many.
Wool Um Ma Restaurant is inside HK Market, 124 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90004. (323) 469-9329.
2. Punjabi tacos at Radhika Modern Indian in South Pasadena. These are genuine tacos, with plenty of meat wrapped in two small corn tortillas. A heady dash of Indian spices is what makes them Punjabi. The usual Mexican taco garnishes--tomatoes, onion and cilantro--are also mixed with the meat. Lamb goes especially well with the bold seasonings, but you can have chicken instead.
Radhika Modern Indian restaurant, 966 Mission St, South Pasadena, CA 91030. (626) 799-2200.
3. Tortitas de camarón, or dried shrimp fritters, are traditional for lent in Mexico. Available in the hot foods section of Northgate Gonzalez Market, the soft, puffy fritters come with nopales (cactus strips) and a red chile sauce.
Northgate Gonzalez Market, 2323 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006, (213) 249-9173.
4. Who could resist luscious blueberry cheesecake from Sarah's Organic Gourmet? Like Sarah's other cheesecakes, it's organic, gluten free, raw, vegan, kosher, soy free and dairy free (the creamy layer is cashew paste). These are samples served earlier this month at the Kosher Wine & Food Experience.
5. This Japanese flan at Izakaya in West Hollywood is actually Filipino, created by chef Kennen Navarro, who was born in the Philippines. It's as rich as you can get, made with egg yolks rather than whole eggs, condensed and evaporated milks and infused lightly with lemon peel. The whipped cream on top is flavored with pandan.
Izakaya by Slowfish, 8267 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046. (323) 745-0533.