Trying Balut – Filipino Street food @ Dollar Hits, Los Angeles

While I like LA and its relatively less congested roads, convenient public transportation, parks and facilities – during my two week stay I found myself missing Malaysia – for the food.

The loud, noisy hawker stalls and food courts, enjoying coffee at 1am in the morning at chic cafes, street food at bustling night markets, and just the overall food scene in general. There wasn’t much in terms of entertainment after dark in America, unless you count bars and clubs.

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We went to Temple Street Market at Historic Filipinotown for a good ol’ fashioned outdoor street food barbecue, so I was pretty psyched.

Dollar Hits sells cheap and tasty Filipino favourites from a food truck. Customers place their orders and collect them before grilling them on several barbecue pits set up in the area. No seats, standing room only. The truck blasts OPM (Original Pilipino Music) while you cook and eat – giving the feeling that you’re really just somewhere in the Phils having dinner (if not for the freakishly cold weather!)

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Soft drinks and melon juice + fruits.

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I had chicken and pork isaw (intestines), Betamax (pork blood cubes), Adidas (chicken feet) and kwek kwek (battered quail eggs), among other things. I like chicken isaw the best because it doesnt have an offal-y smell and has a chewy texture. Not a big fan of the pork isaw because it wasn’t cleaned well. I think my least favourite was the Adidas – it was just tough, rubbery and tasteless.

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I was feeling adventurous, so I tried… balut! E taught me how to open and suck out the juice and sprinkle some salt before eating.

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Duck foetus gah D:

Tbh, it didn’t taste bad. It tasted like cooked poultry, except with lots of tiny bones. There was barely any meat on it to begin with. The yolk tasted creamy and fermented. I think it was just the idea of eating a baby thing that makes it repulsive to many. I had qualms about it myself lol.

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There are no designated tables : everyone just cooks where there is an available grille. It adds to the whole ‘communal eating’ experience. The servers (and random people) here were friendly, but I think if you look Asian they assume you’re Filipino  I had a few people coming up and talking to me in Tagalog lolol.

DOLLAR HITS

  • 422 W Temple St, Los Angeles, CA 90026, United States
  • Closed Mon – Weds
  • Operating hours: 630pm – 11pm

Filipino Food @ Bahay Kubo, Los Angeles

AFTER a long day sightseeing around LA,  we were pretty much exhausted. Somehow, we managed to make our way to Historic Filipinotown on Temple Street for dinner.

Welcome to Bahay Kubo, which in Tagalog means ‘Nipah Hut’! On the outside, a no frills appearance – basically a short green building with a signboard and jutting green roofing to resemble its name.

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On the inside, spacious with lots of seats, divided into an indoor and outdoor dining area. Filipino soaps played on TV: while we were visiting, they were showing one called ‘Pangako Sa’yo’.

The food is served canteen style: customers move in a line and order food displayed in large stainless steel containers. While American food isn’t bad, one does get sick of burgers, fries and hotdogs everyday so I felt a pang at this Asian-ness after more than a week in LA.

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My favourite Filipino food is sisig (stir fried pig’s jowls and ears ) but they didn’t have it that night 😦

E was not very helpful in suggesting dishes -__- so I simply picked the ones that looked appetising. Ended up with (clockwise from top left) fried chicken skin, pancit  and bopis. 

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The pancit was okay – just fried bihun with veges. The chicken skin was crispy but quite salty, would have been better with rice or something. My fave of the night was bopis: pork lungs and heart sauteed in tomatoes, chillies and onions. The offal didn’t have an unpleasant smell at all and had a soft, melt-in-the-mouth texture. The bopis sauce was tangy and full of flavour; slurped up most of it even though there was no rice. 🙂

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For dessert, one can’t come to a Filipino restaurant and not try Halo-Halo. It’s similar to Malaysian Ais Kacang (shaved ice). The version here came topped with ice-cream and had jelly, nata de coco, sweet beans and other condiments at the bottom. Great for hot days!

BAHAY KUBO

2330 W Temple St, Los Angeles, CA 90026, United States
Phone:(213) 413-4804
Open daily: 730am – 9pm