10 Best Halal Dishes in Los Angeles
|Susan Ji-Young Park|
|S. Gyros Kabob House: Manto|
S. Gyros Kabob House in Reseda specializes in halal versions of American fast food and Afghan dishes such as aushak (leek dumplings) and manto (meat dumplings). Owner Said Saidzadah, who came to L.A. from Afghanistan via Germany, describes his way of cooking Afghan dishes as homestyle comfort food. Still, there's nothing simple about a crossroads cuisine that has Persian, Pakistani and Central Asian influences. Saidzadah's manto are generously stuffed with herbed ground beef and topped with a tomato-tinged ragu, creamy yogurt sauce, sautéed vegetables and a pinch of spices and herbs. 7221 Tampa Ave., Reseda; (818) 341-1946.
6. Hummus bi Tahina at Hayat's Kitchen:
Susan Ji-Young Park Hummus bi Tahina
The basic recipe for hummus bi tahina (chickpeas with tahini) relies on just six ingredients: chickpeas, olive oil, tahini (sesame seed paste), garlic, lemon juice and salt. The endless variations from region to region, restaurant to restaurant and household to household are the result of incorporating the ingredients in different ratios with varied puréeing techniques and garnishes. The hummus at Hayat's Kitchen in North Hollywood is exquisitely smooth, loaded with tahini, garnished with chopped parsley, paprika, olive oil and whole chickpeas that are so soft they dissolve on your tongue. It is the über hummus that should be the measure of all hummus served in Los Angeles. 11009 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood; (818) 761-4656.
5. Läghmän at Omar's Xinjiang Halal:
Susan Ji-Young Park Omar's Xinjiang Halal Restaurant: Uyghur hand-pulled noodles, or läghmän
You won't find a huge range of Uyghur dishes at Omar's Xinjiang Halal. The owners focus on läghmän: Uyghur-style hand-pulled noodles. The noodles here are long, slippery ropes of uneven girth as springy as bungee cords. They seem to have a life of their own on the plate, writhing away as you try to snatch up an impossibly long strand with chopsticks, which is why you are given scissors to snip them into edible submission. Any sauce served with them is almost beside the point. The stir-fried lamb and vegetable sauce that comes with the noodles at Omar's is quite mild, which is the tendency with Central Asian noodle broths. And don't forget to try the homemade Uyghur style yogurt: It's light as a souffle, not too tart and just sweet enough to enjoy as a refreshing dessert of sorts. 1718 New Ave., San Gabriel; 626-570-9778.
137 W. Arbor Vitae St., Inglewood, CA