Archive for 'Zam Zam Market'

Due to Rising Rents, Zam Zam Market’s Last Day is on Sunday

The first of what will hopefully be a few goodbye meals at this place, before it closes down on Sunday.

A photo posted by Zach Brooks (@midtownlunchla) on Nov 11, 2014 at 2:23pm PST

Bad news from Chowhound about Zam Zam Market, our favorite Pakistani halal place in Culver City, and ironically enough one of the 5 most underrated lunches we wrote about last month. Due to rising rents, they’re being forced to move out of their longtime location on Washington- in the shadow of the King Fahad mosque. Considering the more recent success of neighbors like Copenhagen Pastry, Yamadaya Ramen, and the new shopping area on the corner of Sepulveda and Washington, it’s no surprise that their location can command a much higher rent than Zam Zam can afford. But it doesn’t make it any less sad to lose such a great neighborhood place. (Full disclosure: This place is walking distance from my house.)

There was talk that they’re looking for a new space in Hawthorne, but the guy working behind the counter today said they were looking to stay in the neighborhood- close to the mosque, and their current customer base. Fingers crossed the latter is true. In the meantime, you’ve got 4 more days to enjoy their insanely awesome food. Thursday for lunch they’ll have the same $10 combo they always have, with chicken biryani, tandoori chicken, kebab, and a few other dishes from the steam table. Friday there will be the chicken pies and lamb pulau. Saturday during the day they’ll have lamb and chicken biryani; Saturday night they’ll have curries as well. And Sunday, they’ll have Pakistani breakfast, in addition to the birayni they always have.

Zam Zam Market, 11028 W. Washington Blvd. 310-331-2504

The 5 Most Underrated Lunches in Los Angeles

A few weeks back L.A. Weekly released its annual “Best of” issue, a terrific resource for discovering not just food but all sorts of great stuff in and around Los Angeles.  But it got me thinking of all the places I love that never seem to get mentioned on these lists.  Not local favorites that you wouldn’t drive across town for, but places serving the honest to goodness best in show versions of what they do… and rarely, if ever, getting recognized for it.

Here are 5 of my favorite lunches, that aren’t quite household names here in L.A. (but should be.)

1. Zam Zam Market – Ok, so this is kind of the place that inspired this list.  I was excited to read about Bangla Bazaar and Restaurant when it was named Best Biryani in the city by L.A. Weekly last week, but it doesn’t hold a candle to this Culver City gem hidden in the shadow of the King Fahad Mosque.  Despite the minefield of bones and spices, their biryani is the best I’ve ever had. And their tandoori chicken, with its caked-on spice paste, isn’t far behind.  And if that doesn’t sell you, go on Friday and the meat pies and lamb pulao will.  Sure, the hours are weird and there’s no menu.  And you may or may not feel like you’re eating on a Walking Dead set.  But every time I go back I am surprised all over again that it’s never gotten its proper place in the pantheon of Los Angeles south Asian food.  (I’m looking at you Mr. Gold.) 11028 W Washington Blvd, Culver City. 310-841-2504

Read more »

Zam Zam Market Expands Menu, Now Open 7 Days a Week


As amazing as the food at Zam Zam Market is, even I’ll admit there are a number of things holding it back from becoming a go to spot in L.A. for Pakistani food.  First, the food is too amazing. Well, too authentic anyway. (Aka, not made for white people.) Most Angelenos are probably not interested in picking through a biriyani minefield, trying to avoid bones, cardamom pods, whole peppercorns and red chilies (although I’m proud to say my 3 1/2 year old son is not one of those people!) They’ve also got the weirdest hours- for anybody who isn’t intimately familiar with the prayer schedule at the mosque just up the street whose congregants make up the bulk of the customer base at Zam Zam. Aaaand there’s the big Dept of Health “C” on the door, the overrun by zombies decor, and the lack of a fixed menu. Did I mention the food is really freakin spicy?

Well, it appears as if a few of those issues have been fixed! As of last week Zam Zam Market is now open 7 days a week from 11am to 9pm. And they’ve added a bunch of new menu items, including a ridiculously huge $9 mix plate that you have to see to believe.

Read more »

Zam Zam Market is Like a Biryani & Tandoori Halfway House


Ever since moving to Culver City a year ago, I’ve been working my way up the South Asian food totem pole.  I started at India Sweets and Spices, which I thought was pretty amazing- that is until I tried Samosa House and Samosa House East, which were even better.  I followed that up with a visit to Mayura’s all you can eat lunch buffet (for those who want meat) and ended up at what I think is the absolute best Indian food steam table on the westside: Bawarchi (and its infamous chef).  Regardless of which place is your personal favorite, one thing is now undeniable… the Culver City/Palms area has the best Indian food in all of Los Angeles.  And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I found out about Zam Zam Market.

Located on Washington Blvd in Culver City, just East of where Washington splits into two different streets, it would be wrong to call Zam Zam a “hidden” gem.  I live right around the corner from the place and had seen it a ton of times.  The giant “HALAL” sign in the window was particularly intriguing to me (for reasons that should be obvious to anybody who has seen a street food cart in NYC), but the place is never open.  And even if it was, looking in the window didn’t exactly inspire confidence.  It’s not so much a market as just a giant space with a few half empty shelves, a makeshift cooking area behind a counter, half empty drink fridges in the back, and a few tables that always seem to have chairs stacked on top of them. I’d sooner believe it was a front for the Pakistani mafia, or a place for heroin addicts to crash before I would consider it a viable place to get lunch.  That is until Profiled Lunch’er Brandon mentioned that they made the best biryani, tandoori and kebabs “in existence.”  This can’t possibly be true.

And yet…

Read more »