I lived, what I call my informative years in the dining melting pot of Los Angeles, with so many ethnic restaurants and neighborhoods that L.A. seemed to lose its own identity in this world market.
Cruise down Olympic Blvd near Western Avenue and all the signage is in Korean and Korean BBQ rules. Head north on Western Avenue to Santa Monica Blvd and the signs turn to Arabic or Lebanese with bakeries and cafes lining the streets. East Hollywood beholds blocks of Thai town with Thai restaurants and Thai music blaring. Westminster in Orange County embrace Vietnamese Pho while Artesia transforms into Little India. Then there’s that little stretch of Fairfax Avenue just north of Pico known as Ethiopian row. Just thinking about that culinary geography makes me hungry.
When I moved to Tucson six years ago, it was a cultural dining shock and world foods was not nearly as bountiful as L.A. Fortunately, that has changed somewhat.
While I often crave chicken from Pollo Inca or Central American pupusas, I have luckily found a place serving dim sum that is about 90 percent as good as what I can find in L.A.’s teeming Chinatown or congested Monterey Park but without the parking hassle.