Where Can I Find Magic Wok’ish Filipino Food in L.A.?
I’m a huge fan of the Manila Machine, but they’re kind of limited by being a food truck- and sometimes even I don’t feel like chasing down your lunch on twitter. Plus MM doesn’t completely satisfy my craving for down home Filipino food. (For one thing, their sisig is made from only cheeks!) Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a good brick and mortar Filipino place between Downtown and Santa Monica, a fact that was reinforced by a recent out of bounds lunchtime visit to The Magic Wok in Artesia. I don’t normally have the time to travel that far for lunch, but when I heard they were the best Filipino restaurant in Southern California I felt compelled to go the extra mile(s). And I was rewarded with two of the best pork dishes I’ve ever had in my life.
Warning: If you like crispy pork clicking the jump will make you want to drive to Artesia for lunch.
Magic Wok is known for their crispy pata, a gigantor two piece serving of fried pig’s leg. The skin was crispy, the meat was not dried out, and I can still feel the delicious collagen melting in my mouth as I write these words. (Sorry, I feel like that might have just grossed some people out.) You can find fried pig’s feet at a lot of Mexican taco stands and butcher shops in L.A., but I promise you none of those were as cooked as expertly as this leg. An absolute triumph of man over pig.
But even better than that was their sisig. Sadly, it wasn’t made from pig’s head and it seemed deep fried instead of cooked on a sizzling skillet, but it was probably one of the greatest pork dishes I’ve ever eaten in my life. Salty, crunchy, with a great vinegar tangy-ness from whatever it was they dumped on top. My lord it was good, and I would gladly give up years off my life to eat it again.
Sadly (or thankfully, if you ask my wife) Magic Wok is too far for most of us to venture for lunch. But is it too much to ask for a place like this closer to home? I was kind of disappointed by a meal I had at Little Ongpin (on Sunset in Hollywood) but I’ve seen a couple of Filipino places on Vermont in Koreatown that didn’t look too bad. Anybody been to one of those places or have a Filipino rec between Downtown and Santa Monica? If not, I guess I’ll just have to keep chasing after Manila Machine (worse things have happened!)
Magic Wok, 11869 Artesia Blvd, 562-865-7340