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LA

Review

Jakob Layman

Baja Subs Market & Deli

$$$$
Written by
Jakob Layman

Come into Baja Subs for a pack of cigarettes, air freshener, or a Gatorade, and leave with a takeout container filled with homemade egg roti and string hoppers. This tiny Sri Lankan counter in the back of a Northridge convenience store is just another reason why LA is special. It’s a hidden gem, a spot that combines seemingly disparate cultures and cuisines (the sign out front says “Mexican grill”), and gets by on an innate ability to do the most with what they’ve got - in this case, a couple of tables and a deli counter inside a strip mall corner store.

This is usually around the time where we talk about a specific dish you can’t leave a place without ordering. We can’t do that with Baja Subs - simply because we could make that argument for every dish on the menu. The pineapple chutney-topped biryani is one of the most memorable versions in town, the kottu roti (a popular street food consisting of chopped roti bread stir-fried with eggs, vegetables, and spices) is so complex and flavorful that our eyes gloss over while we eat it, and once, we drove on a flat tire in Friday-night rush hour simply for a plate of their garlicky Sri Lankan-style noodles. Baja Subs’ set-up is certainly what makes it unique, but it’s the food that makes it so damn exciting.

Even before the indoor/outdoor dining-closure chess match of 2020, Baja Subs was, by nature, mostly a takeout operation. Now, it’s a well-oiled machine. Give them a call (they aren’t on any apps) at (818) 993-7064, and in 20-30 minutes, your made-to-order Sri Lankan feast is ready.

Jakob Layman

Food Rundown

Jakob Layman
Egg Roti

This dish is somewhat hidden at the bottom of Baja Subs’ menu, but make sure you don’t miss it. This flaky, chewy, egg-filled roti is simple and delicious - the ideal side for any other dish on your order.

Jakob Layman
Kottu Roti

I know I said I didn’t have a favorite dish at Baja Subs, but that might’ve been a lie. I really love this kottu roti. Chopped flaky roti sauteed with vegetables, eggs, and spices - it’s one of the most popular street foods in Sri Lanka, and a must-order anytime you’re within five miles of Baja Subs.

Biryani

There is no shortage of good biryani in LA, but if you want a version that’s unlike any other in town, this is it. Topped with caramelized onion relish, cashews, pineapple chutney, and boiled egg, this dish strikes the perfect balance of sweet, sour, and spicy - and is also big enough to last for a few meals.

Jakob Layman
Sri Lankan Noodles

This is a great dish to balance out the bolder, spicier ones on your order. That said, just because these garlicky, fried noodles are mild compared to the rest of Baja Subs’ menu, that doesn’t mean they’re any less flavorful. In fact, we’d argue the opposite.

Lamprais

Commonly referred to as “lump rice,” this dish is a grab-bag of meat curry, sambal, long-grain rice, and fried egg, all wrapped in a giant banana leaf. It’s a fantastic quick-lunch option when you can’t decide what you want, but need to stay full until dinner.

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