West LA: Lunch at Popcorn Chicken Sawtelle
It’s been interesting to see new restaurants pop up on Sawtelle aka Japan Town West aka Little Osaka that don’t focus on Japanese food. It’s turning into quite the Little Asia that’s most likely driven by the fact UCLA is nearby. This is good for all those who moan about how the San Gabriel Valley is so far away and they can now get stuff like beef noodle soup (niu rou mian) in West Los Angeles. Of course, you could get have gotten at NRM at ROC just down the street from the newish Popcorn Chicken also on Sawtelle but I think that spot is just okay in comparison.
Popcorn Chicken takes its name from the Taiwanese fried chicken dish. Besides the signature dish and NRM, we also got pork chop rice, spinach and dessert.
I liked how tender the beef was in the beef noodle soup. But it was missing the preserved veggies that give the broth more depth. I also asked for it to be medium spicy and it was not spicy at all.
The popcorn chicken was also quite tender but possibly too much seasoning. My friend also thought it was funny it wasn’t served in a paper bag. Well, this isn’t quite street food. I know others think the pieces are too big to be called “popcorn” sized. However I rather have larger juicy pieces than dried out batter-y bits.
The seasoning shows up on the fried pork chop in the pork chop rice set. I liked that there were bits of pork belly on the rice. I thought the salty corn was hilarious but also quite the generous serving along with bean sprouts, cabbage salad and soup. It’s really a good deal. I’m going to stick to the popcorn chicken though if I want fried food.
It wasn’t on the menu but I asked if there were any veggies and the server mentioned they had spinach with garlic. Sold. We love our veggies.
The sesame balls were served hot but by the time I got to them after eating lunch, they had cooled down considerably. The red bean paste was quite dense.
Over all I liked the food and would return if I was in the area. You did have to fight for parking in the crowded structure (shared with Michael’s craft store and Marshall’s discount store) but it was better than fighting for parking on the streets up the street in the heart of Sawtelle.
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