$10 for a plate of beef and rice isn’t normally on my list of to-do’s, especially when the beef is some MSG-driven chunks sauteed in puddles of mediocre butter. On the other hand, people have raved about Tai Siu’s com bo luc lac (shaken beef? what’s the English translation of this dish?) for ages. And so this was the dish of choice when Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa made itself unavailable thanks to the dozen people lined up in front also waiting for cool Vietnamese spring rolls on a hot late summer evening.
Preface: I will probably never order this plate again at Tai Siu. $9.50 for a quarter pound of filet mignon is really pricey for the neighborhood, especially since the same restaurant serves a plate of very palatable com ga Hainam (Hainan chicken rice) for $6. If one’s craving steak, this is about as good as chopped steak goes for less than a tenner.
The highlight here, I think, is the red rice. There’s actual flavor in this. There’s garlic, there’s tomato paste with actual snippets of tomato skin, and there’s salt. I’m so tired of Vietnamese/Chiu Chao places cutting the rice with ketchup. The bo luc lac Tai Siu is solid, and they offer enough variety (think frogs, kangaroo, alligator) beyond just noodles to be a fantastic Chiu Chow option beyond the typical. Granted, Newport Seafood also has a bo luc lac that is available with red rice, but I hardly see the dish being ordered as such, and can’t compare the two places.
On the lowest end of the fiscal scale, there exists these magical little foldable saucers of goodness called tacos.
I kid. Y’all know tacos. In another 8 years, Latinos will be the population majority in California. You better know tacos. Tamix was covered here well over a year ago. They’re now running 2 trucks and I still prefer it over Leo, simply because there is absolutely no line at the Hoover & 20th locale. Serious Eats picked up the Tamix phenomenon half a year after and declared no winner. Well, now there’s a new champ. I’m not saying this is some “authentic” OG D.F. style al pastor. I’m not saying it’s even nearly as good as any of the dozen al pastor tacos I had last time I was out of the border terror zones of Mexico. I’m certainly not saying this is the best al pastor versus all the others.
However, Chiquis has a sickeningly well stocked “salsa bar”. There are blistered jalapenos, there’s a pickled habanero/onion salad that carries a might tongue puncher, there smoky red and green salsas, there are juicy limes and the cilantro is fresh and abundant.
And then there’s this fella. He’s kind of awesome.
Melrose 100% Hand Wash — SW Corner of Melrose and Manhattan
5080 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
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