This month's top tastes are global, but that's not surprising in an area as rich in ethnic cooking as Los Angeles and surrounding communities. The five dishes represent five countries: Korea, Vietnam, Jordan, Turkey and Armenia, in locations ranging from Los Angeles to Fountain Valley and Westminster.
1.Dwehjee boolgogi bakban (spicy grilled pork) at Gamja Bawi in the food court of the Koreatown Plaza. You get a huge serving of delicious spicy pork along with seaweed soup, rice and assorted pickles. And the atmosphere is lively and fun.
Koreatown Plaza, 928 W. Western Ave., LosAngeles, CA 90006.
2. Banh Tom Co Ngu--Shrimp-fried yam at Ha Noi Avenue in Westminster. This tangle of crispy fries embedded with shrimp existed in Vietnam long before sweet potato fries became trendy here. You pull these apart, dip them in sweet-tangy nuoc cham sauce, add any seasonings or greens you like and munch happily until the pile is gone.
Ha Noi Avenue, 8432 Westminster Blvd., Westminster, CA 92683. (714) 898-8838.
3. Kibbeh at Oasis Mediterranean Cuisine. These pointy spheres are made of beef, lamb, onions and pine nuts ground together and coated with bulgur wheat. They're hot, crisp, and a delightful example of the restaurant's Jordanian food.
Oasis Mediterranean Cuisine, 1663 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035. (310) 276-2747.
4. Stuffed Simit at Ikram Bakery and Deli in Fountain Valley. Simit is the famous sesame-sprinkled Turkish ring bread. Here, the dough is made into flat rectangles rather than rings and filled with feta cheese and parsley, mozzarella or olives. Ikram has simit rings too.
Ikram Bakery & Grill, 9895 Warner Ave., Suite F, Fountain Valley, CA 92708. (714) 964-5726.
5. Choereg is an Armenian Easter bread flavored with mahlep. At Moonlight Pizza & Chicken, which is really an Armenian restaurant rather than a pizzeria, choereg comes in cookie form. Fresh from the oven when I bought them, these handmade golden twists were only slightly sweet, perfect with tea or coffee or alongside dessert.
Moonlight Pizza & Chicken, 9895 Warner Ave, Fountain Valley, CA 92708. (714) 963-4488.