Find The Hole
When it comes to food, I like to find the hole … the proverbial “hole in the wall”, that is! I have found that very often the “greasy spoon”, the “dive”, the off-the beaten path “joint”, is a hidden gem. Whether it be a bar, restaurant, or market the secret treasure trove is usually the source of incredible culinary riches.
Such is the case with Bangluck Market, purveyor of amazing Asian treats. While I may make this place sound like a palace of Eastern ingredients, don’t get me wrong. It is a total hole-in-the-wall! It’s small, dated, cramped, and a bit dusty. But, if you can get past that this market, located on the East edge of Hollywood in Little Thailand, is a collection of hard to find, authentic Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai fixings that will help make your next Asian dish a true delight. Plus, Sanamluang, one of the better authentic Thai restaurants around, is right next door if you just can’t wait to go home and cook what you’ve bought. Best of all, as with most dives, it is very well priced, too. On a recent trip to that side of town, I stopped at Bangluck for some Chili Garlic Oil, Coconut Milk and a couple kinds of Curry Paste. If I could even find these ingredients in a traditional store I’b be out well over $10. However, my Bangluck bill came to under $6!
My love of “Holy” places isn’t reserved just for this market. Marty’s, a small hamburger stand located between a Fire Station and a Shell (gas) Station in West LA, has the best Chili-burger you will ever eat – it makes the infamous Tommy’s taste like dog food! Some of the other small, unheralded places I like to frequent in the So Cal area include Dr. Hogly Wogly’s Tyler Texas BBQ (Van Nuys), Tom’s Tacos (Anaheim), La Super Rica (Santa Barbara), and the latest trend of meals-on-wheels in LA: the Kogi food trucks (various locations – check Twitter to see where they are at the moment). By the way, the success of their mobile Korean fusion food has spawned quite a few copycats … DON’T BE FOOLED!
While I would never shun the chance to experience a snooty, stuffy 5-star meal dished up with white-glove service, there is no doubt that the dive deserves a spot in your culinary roster. You’ll often encounter a colorful, entertaining crowd to go along with a dining or shopping experience that will certainly delight the savory senses without unduly depreciating your budget. So, get out there, snoop around a bit, and find “the hole”!
©2009 Caution: Caveman Cooking/UHearMe, Inc. All rights reserved. This originally appeared on the Caution: Caveman Cooking blog at https://cavemancooking.wordpress.com authored by Caveman. This may be shared and reprinted as long as this entire copyright message accompanies it.