Welcome Seroius Eats readers. To all the East Coast folks joining us, I’m sorry this is in BFE Anaheim, CA.
Dollar for dollar, this is some of the tastiest, cheaptastic, yummiest (all verboten, I know, I know) food in LA. And interesting. Not in the way of: o my gah, look at this Taiwanese beef roll, I’m still stuck in 2008 kinda of interesting. But interesting in the way like: it’s 2012, English speakers have finally found the entire subcontinent of SE Asia, and Burma is the new Peru, while Peru is the new Hawaii! There’s Asian food besides ramen and xiao long bao? No shit Confuscius, you don’t say?
Enter Wok Coco, from a Sulawesi / Jakarta couple (one an ex-tattoo artist, one an ex-banker). The Eater blurb is below:
Chef James Kumajas, previously a tattoo artist, took over Wok Coco in April with his wife Herlina Chandra as manager, and introduced unique dishes from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi this past summer. While the news has yet to spread, this may be the only place in LA to get ayam bumbu RW (Manadonese dog stew-style chicken), spicy smoked tuna, and coto makassar (Sulawesi beef soup).
And here is the photo proof. Ayam bumbu RW (dog stew style)
This was not very doggy style, but instead jammed with pounded lemongrass and thick sambal-esque mild chili paste. There was nearly half of a small chicken dressed in the salty, pungent, and addicting sauce for $8. A huge plate of short grain rice is included. I can only hope actual dog meat tastes as good as this chicken (RIP Cody). Portions here are very generous. There are no “lunch” portions, and the ayam bumbu RW was enough for 2 meals if you’re not a glutton.
Stinky sator bean stir fry with potato:
The chef told me the sator beans are from Thai markets, and I wasn’t surprised. He also warned me of the stink, but most of LA (thanks to Jitlada) is aware of sator’s alternative scents. Paired with the potato, this could be the most rancid vegetarian dish for vegans in LA. I loved this despite its outward simplicity.
Indonesian coto makassar:
This is a “bland” beef soup, eaten with a side of rice. It’s a bit in the style of a halal Chinese beef noodle soup, without the noodles. Very hearty, nothing like sulluntang. A squeeze of lime and a dash of dried chili flakes are offered. I was told that’s the “authentic” way to eat this bowl? Personally, a mound of udon would’ve worked well in this as well.
Co-owner Herlina Chandra was very proud of this dish. Then again, she’s rightfully proud of everything that comes out of her husband’s kitchen. She mentioned it may be the only place in LA to get this. The tuna jerky is smoky and swims in sambal. This is perfect beer food. In a span of two weeks, I worked through most of Wok Coco’s Sulawesi menu, and this was one of the favorites. We can only hope the massive Korean population in nearby Buena Park can open their eyes and patronize this little Asian gem. For Herlina and James really need the Asians to step up and support their business; the Latinos and White neighbors are still ordering California rolls and beef fried rice from their original take-out menu, carried over from the original Korean-owned Chinese fast food joint which they purchased.
h/t to “mayobanex” on Chow who first wrote this up.
Warteg Wok Coco
221 S Magnolia Ave Ste R
Anaheim, CA 92804
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