How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Five ethnic food tastes worth acquiring: The meat edition

Photo by Manogamo/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Last week, Multi-American delved once more into that culinary landscape where some diners fear to tread, the territory of the unsung ethnic delicacy.

These are the dishes that don't necessarily sound good, look good or or even smell good, but are worth trying because they are unexpectedly delicious.

Our first series in March covered a range of foods, from drinks like the Vietnamese avocado milkshake to main dishes like arroz con calamares en su tinta, a particularly unattractive squid dish served in several Latin American countries.

The series last week focused on meat dishes, cooked, raw and canned. True to form, none sound like anything one would rush out to try, but don't be put off. For any carnivores who might have missed these treats, here they are in a convenient list. Dig in.


Spam rocks? Much, much love for Spam musubi

Photo by klyphord/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Spam musubi to go, October 2006. Photo by klyphord/Flickr (Creative Commons)

One of a series of posts last week that explored unsung ethnic delicacies highlighted Spam musubi, a popular snack made with Spam and sushi rice that is popular in Hawaii.

The series focused on those dishes or items that may not look or sound good, but are in fact delicious. I knew that Spam musubi was well-loved on the islands, and at least by one person in Washington, D.C., that being our Hawaii-raised president. But judging by the flood of comments that came in to KPCC's Facebook page, there is a great deal of Spam musubi love out there.

"This is one of my favorite foods!" Joanne Kakuda wrote.

"Hot dogs are worse than spam so I don't understand the prejudice against it," Tracy Munar-Ramos wrote. "Spam rocks!"

Okay, not entirely sure about that. Vanessa Lee put it in perspective:


More ethnic food tastes worth acquiring: Cabrit

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Cabrit fricassee at TiGeorge's with all the Caribbean fixings, May 2011

Goats are cute. And unfortunately for them, they are also tasty.

The beloved, beady-eyed petting zoo favorites are considered delectable in many parts of the world. This includes in much of Southern California, where Mexican bírria – a spicy and much-eaten goat stew– is hardly a rarity.

But there are less common goat delicacies in these parts that merit a try. Notably is a savory Hatian dish of marinated, slow-roasted goat, referred to there as cabrit or kabrit.

Hatian-style cabrit is very different from bírria, in which the goat meat is served with a spicy broth. But done right, no broth is needed, as the meat is delectably tender. Those who grew up with it sing its praises, although there are the inevitable goat-related childhood stories.

Gary Dauphin, a Los Angeles writer and director of new media for KCET, remembers his first goat dinner while visiting his grandmother: