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Around L.A. In 80 Cuisines

When it comes to its variety of international eats, L.A. is peerless. From Singaporean skewers to flaky Serbian Pastries, you can explore just about every country’s cuisine without crossing the county line. Grab your passport (and your appetite) and join us for the trip

No city is home to as wide a variety of authentically executed ethnic cuisines as Los Angeles. This is one benefit of our much-maligned geographic sprawl. With room to breathe and thrive, communities can sustain the rendering of a dish in its gloriously unmodified form. That’s real beef tongue being grilled at Soot Bull Jeep on 8th Street, and the sizzling mass of brittle-skinned peppers piled over the belly bacon at Hunan Chilli King are just the way the habitués of the Valley Boulevard shop front like it. You can ask for fewer pods, but they’ll wonder why you bothered coming in.

Toning it down is what any number of cooks were once forced to do. The list of ersatz cuisines is long, ranging from column A-column B Chinese to combo-plate Mexican. Today we’re in a different place. The genuine has usurped the merely colorful, and the regional has supplanted the national. Boasting an amazingly high level of knowledge, Angelenos are ever ready to broaden their horizons. Today a single tweet can gather enough fressers to dispatch a whole-hog Filipino lechon.

That is the delicious moment we live in. From the vantage point of a Vermont Avenue griddle, where pupusas are stuffed with white flor de loroco petals, Los Angeles is a vast arena in which culinary traditions can be endlessly explored. And explore, we shall: