May's top tastes are mostly Asian--ramen, two terrific Indian dishes and a cute Korean cake shaped like a fish. The exception is Good Measure's crispy pork rillette, a shredded pork cake coated with crumbs and fried until the coating lives up to the word "crispy" in its title.
1. Tortillas don't come with this spicy tuna nori taco at California Ramen Factory. The wrappers are squares of nori (crisp seaweed), which you can wrap around the tuna--this gets sort of messy--or you can eat the taco with chopsticks. There are other taco toppings, but the spicy tuna is so good, why look further?
California Ramen Factory, 4010 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90020. (213) 908-6838.
2. Chicken Roast Biryani is a spring special at Grand Bawarchi in Canoga Park. It's a newer version of biryani from Hyderabad, the Indian city famous for this dish. Grand Bawarchi's owners are from Hyderabad, so they serve it too.
The chicken is cooked with rice and vegetables, then removed, coated with a rice flour and cornstarch batter and fried until crisp. Rather than mixed with the rice as is traditional, it's served on top so you can admire the glowing colors.
Grand Bawarchi, 7257 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park, CA 91303. (818) 340-7500.
3. Crispy Pork Rillette from Good Measure in Atwater Village. The pork is cooked like carnitas, shredded and bound with egg, then formed into little cakes. These are coated with house made sour dough crumbs and deep fried, emerging nice and crunchy and really delicious when you eat them with the rhubarb mostarda that comes on the side.
Good Measure, 3224 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90039 (inAtwater Village). (323) 426-9461.
4. Fish mango masala from Anarbagh in Beverly Hills. It's unusual to find Indian dishes this sweet, but it really perks up an otherwise savory meal. The thick red cashew and tomato masala that coats the fish (seabass) gets its sweetness from mango chutney, not from a jar but made at the restaurant using fresh mangoes.
Anarbagh, 138 S. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. (310) 888-4011.
5. Speaking of fish, if you're shopping at Zion Market in Koreatown, go to the food stall area there and pick up a few of these sweet goldfish cakes. Hot off the griddle, the soft, cake-like fish are filled with your choice of custard or sweetened red bean paste.