March, despite being the most hated of months (just ask Julius Caesar or anyone from 2020), did manage to have some high points. Specifically, the eight dishes on this list. From brined pork belly sandwiches to Persian-style pizza, these are the best things we ate during the entire month - and we eat a lot.
Myulchi Saewoo Bokkeum
Bursting with creativity and experimentation, this Grand Central Market stall feels like a real incubator for Korean food. Containers are filled to the brim with a spicy tuna dish that features bright-red fish, potatoes, and carrots, and is packed with umami. And our favorite, the myulchi saewoo bokkeum, is made crunchy with dried shrimp while still having sweet and savory flavors from the shishito peppers and walnuts. It’s a perfect snack for a long car ride home, or staring at your phone for hours, deciding whether or not enough time has passed to text your friend back.
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Garlic Chicken Pizza
While other spots around town are busy perfecting their wood-fired craftsmanship, Thanks Pizza reminds us of the kind of pies we devoured as a kid growing up at skate rink birthday parties - affordable, well-built ones with outside-the-box toppings that taste incredible. The garlic chicken pizza is a little spicy with a sweet, pungent kick from the blue cheese, and the mascarpone pizza is easily one of our favorite pizzas we’ve eaten all year. Topped with basil pesto, mozzarella, cream cheese, and mascarpone, this pie sent shockwaves of childhood bliss through our body. It’s sweet, tangy, and herbaceous, and somehow both nostalgic and novel at the same time.
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There’s a lot to like at LASA’s new Chinatown rotisserie pivot, Lasita - brined pork belly lechon, citrus-y inasal chicken stuffed with lemongrass and garlic, that banana confit turon pie - but one of our favorite things comes in sandwich form. Called the “Lechonista,” this dense, pork belly behemoth is exactly what you want to be eating on days when you need something heavy, to keep you toasty through LA’s cold, early Spring days. Served on a thick, appropriately crusty Bub and Grandma’s ciabatta loaf, thick cubes of crispy pork lechon are topped with charred scallions, cilantro salsa verde, red onions, and a tangy calamansi vin stew.
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You could drive past this tiny Thai Town spot 100 times and not notice it, but don’t let that happen - they serve a khao soi we’d rank among the most essential dishes in the city. What makes Pailin’s version so good is the unabashed brightness of the broth itself. It’s buttery and sweet, with huge punches of citrus even before you squeeze the lime over it.
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Half-convenient store, half-restaurant, this Pasadena market is your one-stop-shop for hand-rolled pork lumpia, Filipino snacks and candies, and a large variety of dishes like juicy, vinegary pork adobo, eggplant cooked with shrimp paste. Plus, there’s a particularly excellent turon here – a sweet, sticky version of lumpia that’s been deep-fried, dusted with brown sugar, and filled with mashed bananas that are sold in boxes of five. Get two (or three) of them.
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Mochi + Manju
Located off a busy street in Gardena, this Japanese confectionary has been around since the 1960s. There’s a charming, hand-painted sign out front with bright-red lettering, and inside, you’ll find a counter stocked with hand-made mochi and manju. The prices here are pretty reasonable - a box of 12 is about $26 - and a helpful salesperson will fill it up with soft-textured white mochi, flaky Maruyaki manju studded with chocolate chips and peanut, and our favorite - a silky smooth kinako mochi that’s dusted with a subtle, nutty, roasted soy powder.
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Persian-style pizza is one of the most popular street foods in Tehran, and in West LA, our favorite version can be found at Café Glacé. Like, Garfield’s lasagna preferred level of cheesiness. The spinach and goat cheese pizza is a standout, simply because of how pleasantly soft and mild the actual goat cheese is, but our favorite pie on the menu is the “Mix.” Topped with beef mortadella, beef hot dogs, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and mozzarella, this is a salty, savory masterpiece and should be on any LA pizza aficionados shortlist.
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Tom Young Goong
This is the best tom yum soup we’ve ever eaten. Filled with shrimp, oyster mushrooms, roasted chili jam, lemongrass, lime leaf, galangal, and cilantro, it’s an absolute whirlwind of flavors and textures, and a soup that we often plan our week around… every week.