I just visited and ate at the Indonesian food court at HK2 Food District in West Covina. I was told that this is where the Indonesian community congregates on Sundays after church. Any Indonesian food experts out there who can rank the best traditional Indonesian restaurants in LA/OC or can offer me a shortlist? Anything out in the Loma Linda area worth the drive? I am working my way through Indonesian restaurants and don’t have a favorite yet. Is Banana Leaf any good in Temple City? An Indonesian told me to go eat there and to eat in “Rosemead.”
Welcome simpang and mr sate in palms are very tasty
Some previous discussion:
I really like Kasih in Downtown LA. But, I’ve only eater there for lunch and not for dinner. Lunch is $10 - $15 and is a limited menu. The best deal is a “bento” box with turmeric rice, slaw (so good), protein, and fresh fruit. The dinner menu is a la carte and pretty extensive. Looks great.
I didn’t like Kasih as much as I was hoping to.
Not that that would stop me from going back. Lunch sounds like a relative bargain.
i stopped by that food court less than a month ago.
i live in the san gabriel valley aka SGV and my restaurant awareness is SGV-centric.
probably refers to singkawang though it’s really in el monte. they rather astutely located themselves next to the LA badminton club. indonesian/thai mix. i recall liking the laksa and rujak.
was probably the first indonesian place i tried, and with nothing to compare it to, didn’t make much of an impression.
you might consider borneo kalimantan (alhambra). i’ve been there a number of times, most recently with a friend raised in indonesia who seemed to consider it authentic.
i liked the fried chicken at wong java house (also in alhambra).
in pasadena you have top (mix of indonesian/hawaiian) and QQ kopitam (singaporean). the laksa at QQ is pretty good.
the folks who opened janty noodle (at the mall) allegedly have a second place in monrovia specializing in indonesian noodles & satay. it occurs to me that a place that specializes like that might do these things very well. but i have yet to confirm that hypothesis…
I am not into trendy or “hipster” modern places like Kasih at all these days. The more experience one has eating, the more you seek authenticity and decent prices and value for your money. Overpriced and underwhelming for the most part for all of these hip places. Looking for more authentic places based on taste of food rather than aesthetics. Where Indonesians go eat and what they crave. So far it seems this Indonesian food court is where it’s at since I was told the place is packed after church service.
Merry’s House of Chicken looks promising for my next visit to West Covina.
Greater Los Angeles? I haven’t been in a while, but what about Ramayani on Westwood Blvd?
Upscale / hipster places centered on traditional cuisines are a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, yeah, stuff tends to get dumbed down and blanded out for the mass audience that doesn’t know or appreciate the tradition.
On the other, the exception to that rule is that some places use better ingredients and tweak traditional recipes where they can be improved: for example, Night + Market, Nightshade, Broken Spanish, Wexler’s … though you might need to spend some time eating the traditional versions to fully appreciate them.
Just a thought: Maybe more Indonesians eat at the Indonesian food court than Kasih not because the food court is better, but because it’s cheaper?
I’ve had a couple decent meals at Kasih. Nothing great, but then again, I’ve been to Indonesia twice and didn’t eat anything great there.
I do think Simpang Asia is probably a little better.
And Borneo Kalimantan is certainly flavorful.
There’s definitely an audience for places like Ma’am Sir, Lasa, Rice Box and Night + Market, Broken Spanish…and Kasih. I think Nightshade was popular because of the pastry chef’s Instagrammable desserts, but that chef is gone now. I’ve visited those kind of places lauded by the food media, but oftentimes leaving disappointed. They are definitely not for me or my palate. It’s gateway food for people who typically won’t visit a more authentic restaurant and those people will pay a premium… double or triple the price for mellowed down (Americanized) flavor, knowing where they source the ingredient, a cool logo, loud music, extra friendly and upbeat service, and a hip scene to people watch.
To say that kind of cooking is “gateway” food is rather nonsensical to me and frankly absurd. If anything, at least some of these restaurants are making food closer to what was once most authentic. Broken Spanish makes better tortillas than every “authentic” Mexican spot in the city, and I guarantee the heirloom corn they are using is a hell of a lot more authentic than the cheap masa stuff everyone else uses.
I’d say every time I’m at Lasa at least half the customers, not to mention the entire staff, are Filipino. I went to Ma’am Sir (which I personally think is overrated) and the entire restaurant except us was Filipino. I think a lot of Filipinos crave those places. Food evolves. Filipinos want Lasa. Mexicans want Broken Spanish or Taco Maria.
It’s fine that you only want super traditional stuff. It’s silly to have an elitist attitude about places that are cooking food how they want to eat it. Also, weird pronoun switch in that “more experience one has eating the more you seek…” sentence.
To be fair, I’ve only been to Bali and some poor islands (Riau islands) near Singapore, not a big city like Jakarta.
But more realistically, I think there are just certain cuisines I’m not a big fan of. I eat Indonesian food about twice a year and could take it or leave it.
It’s hard to pinpoint why. I loved the food in Singapore and Malaysia, which seems objectively similar.
Everybody has different tastes. After eating Korean food hundreds of times, I still find it tastes more strange than delicious. I spent three weeks in Seoul and don’t have any good food memories (except for Pierre Gagnaire – haha). But at least Korean food has great variety.
Really, I don’t think Nightshade is gateway Chinese cuisine. It is elevated, refined, Chinese-influenced cuisine. My wife is native Chinese and she really likes Nightshade.
Worrying about authenticity is a trap that leads to mediocre eating. Think about what authentic American cuisine consists of. Most people in this world eat authentic mediocre (or worse) food.
This is my opinion and you have yours – so we’ll agree to disagree. I happen to LOVE Korean food ever since I first tasted it. I am sorry you don’t feel the same way. To me Bistro Na’s is elevated Chinese food while Nightshade is more fusion and Instagram fodder. I won’t rush to eat at Nightshade. I’ve eaten at elevated fine dining Filipino restaurants in the Philippines and it’s just different from than the ones that are opening here… reasoning for “gateway.” I went to Night + Market in Silver Lake and everyone was white – this is their audience. Many Americans perception is that Mexican food is cheap and mediocre… and there needs to be huge basket of chips and salsa before your meal. I’m happy that people are learning that Mexican cuisine can be more complex and interesting dining at Broken Spanish. I’ve eaten upscale Mexican restaurants in CDMX and Valle de Guadalupe, and I just wasn’t impressed with Broken Spanish. Maybe they recommended the wrong dish for me. I’m excited that these modern Filipino restaurants have been successful in introducing Americans to Filipino food. The flavors at these restaurants are more toned down for the American palate. The more I eat and travel, the more my preferences change. I now crave simple food and so do a lot of chefs… they crave street food or tacos and burgers. If you find joy in modern and expensive fine dining restaurants, more power to you.