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Central/South American Cheap Eats
La Cevicheria. Photograph by Lisa Romerein
The one and only Bolivian restaurant in Los Angeles County happens to be a remarkably comfy place to experience the much lauded sal-teñas: sweet-and-savory meat pies made with eggs and raisins. (They taste better than they sound, we swear.) The contrasting flavors of these ramped-up empanadas are heightened by a generous dose of cumin, oregano, and red peppers. » 6024 Hazeltine Ave., Van Nuys, 818-786-1511.
Central America’s singular rendition of ceviche involves the famously indelicate bloody clam known as mule’s foot, or pata de mula. This Guatemalan seafood shrine serves goblets of the pungent mollusk set off by bits of mint and diced tomato. The restaurant’s mixed seafood “Chapin” is best scooped up with saltines.
» 3809 W. Pico Blvd., Mid City, 323-732-1253.
The flavors of Peru have been popping up everywhere lately, from Beverly Hills to Hollywood. The country’s lively cuisine is nothing new to Angelenos in the know, who for years have been hitting up this Valley standout for cevi-ches and the sweet pumpkin doughnuts known as picarones. » 6366 Van Nuys Blvd., Ste. A, Van Nuys, 818-908-0818.
Rincon Chileno Deli
The South Bay branch of this Chilean favorite features a pared-down menu and seriously inspired cooking. Empanadas the size of a ladies’ clutch are loaded with chicken, hard-boiled eggs, and sweet peppers. The pastel de choclo, a shepherd’s pie-like casserole made with beef and corn, draws Chilenos from all over.
» 15418 Hawthorne Blvd., Lawndale, 310-349-2091.