How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

The new American barbecue: Carne asada, galbi, lula kebab y más

Photo by Sifu Renka/Flickr (Creative Commons)


In Los Angeles, the aroma that wafts from backyard barbecues on the Fourth of July varies slightly depending on the neighborhood one finds oneself in.

In large swaths of the city, from the Eastside to South L.A. to the southeastern suburbs, the smell of cumin and garlic from Mexican carne asada beckons. Drive north toward Glendale and you'll catch a whiff of the distinctive smell of grilled lamb from Armenian kebab. Head east into Downey and you'll find more garlic in the air, rising from the Cuban mojo smothered on pork chops.

Smelling one's way through neighborhoods is one thing, but eating the offerings is better. If you haven't been invited to one of these backyard feasts, the solution is simple - make one yourself.

A few recipes:

Carne Asada

There are few better backyard meals than tacos made with a good carne asada, grilled flank or skirt steak that has been marinated in a blend of spices that includes chiles, garlic, cumin, lime and orange juice. This comprehensive recipe lists not only the marinate and prep details for this grilled Mexican staple, but the necessary fixings to accompany it.

Read More...

American snapshot: Commerce

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A bibimbap billboard above a gas station off Interstate 5 in Commerce, November 19, 2010

This is the first time I've ever seen an English-language billboard with an image of bibimbap, the beloved Korean meal-in-a-hot-pot, most often crowned with raw egg.

The billboard is an advertisement for TheTasteofKorea.com, a website promoting Korean dishes that appears to be sponsored by the South Korean government and a food trade group.

Still, it's not a billboard you'd expect to see in anything other than an immigrant town, where staples and comfort food from around the world are part of the regional cuisine. Bibimbap, we already love ya.

Read More...