After the big Vietnamese blowout during Day 9, we headed to Koreatown for one last evening of decadent beer food.
- Beer Belly (Koreatown)
- Banh Cuon Hai Nam Saigon (San Gabriel)
We went to Beer Belly in Koreatown once before in 2012, and it was one of my favourite beer places. I had some great duck fat fries and wanted to come back at least once.
We had actually stopped by here the previous evening after eating that sashimi salad at Hwal Uh Kwang Jang, but after having one beer I felt like I had had enough and called it a night.
That evening I was only able to have one beer, the Monkish Brewing Floraison (6.4%), a saison dry-flowered with hibiscus, chamomile and sterling hops. It was like a dry hibiscus beer but with a saison yeast element. Similar to Dieu du Ciel’s Rosée D’hibiscus but in a saison style. I enjoyed it but was feeling too full and too saturated. We’d come back the next evening.
So here we are, on the final evening of our trip and we’re back at Beer Belly. Nice variety of California beers on tap.
And some wine too, if you must.
I got the Ballast Point Grunion Pale Ale (5.5%) with Calypso and Mosaic hops. Fruity hop aroma and easy-going body. Very gooooooooood.
I like how they organize their food menu.
The menu gets progressively richer, heavier and fattier.
Actually the Duck French Dip seems relatively healthy…
They have one baked dessert. The rest are deep fried 😀
Pork Belly Chips with smoked salt, sweet onion sugar and tabasco aioli. Fanfricken-tastic! Crispy, crunchy, chewy, meaty and fatty all at once! It’s like BACON XL!
Chicken Skin Cracklins with Buffalo Blue wing sauce. Reminds me of the skin off of Brownies fried chicken of my childhood. Could be a bit more crispy but the flavour was on-point. All of these eats went so well with my beer.
Next beer: Craftsman Acorn Saison (8.1%). Moderate sweetness, malty, nutty. I almost get a raspberry beer-like quality. It was just ok. Missing the spicy or citrusy quality that I like in saisons.
Bacon Fat Fries topped with real bacon bits, arugula (haha, funny), chile morita (?), and served with a maple vinaigrette. It’s like an awesome brunch, all contained in a fry. Fries were thin, crispy and hot. Heady aroma of bacon fat. Fuuuuck, do they REALLY fry these in bacon fat? So goooood! $9 of sin, a lifetime of redemption. Also good with the aioli from the chicken skins.
You can see through the paper. Awesome.
I don’t follow hockey but I really enjoyed the fact that LA were playing Vancouver that exact night. Doesn’t look like we won this game. Did we?
Four Cheddar Mac + Cheese with “cheddar beer whiz”, mild cheddar, sharp cheddar, and aged cheddar. Enough cheddar for ya?? Takes 30 mins to prepare but well worth the wait (and weight).
Crusty breadcrumb top. Minimal cream sauce, so it’s rich ‘n heavy on the cheese flavour. A very full-on mac ‘n cheese, not for wimps. Noodles cooked perfectly. Easily shareable between 2-4 people.
This was all that we could finish. It was a rich, decadent and perfect end to our last night in LA. Beer Belly rocks by bringing you the unhealthiest but most delicious beer food you’ve ever had.
Banh Cuon Hai Nam Saigon
We waddled to this Vietnamese restaurant for breakfast before flying home.
Supposedly their specialty was some Vietnamese take on Hainanese chicken rice but they were out of it 🙁
At least they have an “A” health rating 🙂
Combination Flour Sheet with Shrimp Tempura Special. Seriously, that’s what it’s called on the menu. The fried things on the left are banh cong, fritters with mung bean. The other fritters are banh tom, shrimp with sweet potato. Slices of Vietnamese ham on top.
That beer mug is the strangest and coolest fish sauce dispensing system I’ve ever seen. But it’s smart invention cuz it keeps the flies out of the fish sauce 😛
This white rice roll is called banh cuon. It’s got ground pork and wood ear fungus inside.
You take a bit of everything and pour fish sauce on top.
The crispiest Vietnamese Crepe (banh xeo) I’ve ever seen (and heard). Flavourwise it was just ok, but the crispiness was amazing.
You add these to the banh xeo then pour fish sauce on top and eat.
I got yet another Bun Rieu Oc.
Smaller snails than other places.
The flavour of this one was really homestyle. A bit weaker broth than the one at Saigon Flavor, and they added more MSG — but not nearly the same amount as Quan Ngon Nha Trang (on Day 4). Curious thing about this particular bowl of bun rieu is the colour of the broth (paprika?) that ended up making the noodles orange.
Not bad. It was fun to have a few different bun rieus and noticing the differences between them. Saigon Flavor’s bun rieu is still top dog though.
Back at home with a (small) beer haul! I look forward to sharing these with some special people.
Holy crap, that was a lot of work! But I hope you enjoyed reading. We had an amazing time in LA and are thankful we got to experience everything that we did.
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