Two fish dishes, two desserts and one of the most popular of all south Indian dishes, the dosa--that's this month's wrap-up of top tastes.
1. Wuxi smoked fish noodle soup at Long Xing Ji in San Gabriel. The fish isn't in the soup. Fried and crisp, it's served on the side in a little bowl with sweetened soy sauce at the bottom, not surprising because Wuxi food is known for sweetness. The main bowl holds broth, fine noodles, baby bok choy, half a tea egg and carrot strands. It's a nice combo for a modest under $10 lunch.
Long Xing Ji, 140 W. Valley Blvd., #211, San Gabriel, CA 91776 (upstairs in San Gabriel Square). (626) 307-1188.
2. Fish curry at Mayura Indian Restaurant. Mayura serves the food of Kerala in south India, and this is a Kerala style fish curry, made with coconut milk and scented with curry leaves and black mustard seeds. The unique seasoning is Garcinia cambogia, a sour fruit also known as brindleberry and Malabar tamarind. You can see it between the curry leaves on top of the fish in the photo.
Mayura Indian Restaurant, 10406 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90232. (310) 559-9644.
3. When I want Indian comfort food, I go to Annapurna Cuisine and order a paper dosa. Made from a fermented rice and lentil batter, it's thin, crisp and golden--not papery, but that describes the thickness or, rather, thinness. There's no filling--other dosas on the menu can provide that. The accompaniments are the soupy dal and vegetable mixture called sambar and tomato and coconut chutneys.
Annapurna Cuisine, 10200 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90232. (310) 204-5500.
4. Peach halavah at Govinda's Buffet. Some form of halavah is on the buffet every day at Govinda's Buffet, which is part of the temple complex of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in Los Angeles. This isn't Middle Eastern halvah but a semolina pudding from India. It's simple and delicious.
Govinda's Buffet, 3764 Watseka Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90034. (310) 836-2676.
5. Almond Meringue Surprise at Olsen's Danish Village Bakery in Solvang. The surprise could be jam, but this one hides almond custard inside. The meringue is spread over the top and sprinkled with almonds. Olsen's has had this pastry for many years. It's so popular that I got the last one in the counter the day I was there.