Take a travel ban food tour of Los Angeles


Although Trump's travel ban has been cheered by a few, most have reviled and ridiculed it. This is, after all, a country of immigrants. And come on, Trump, look around the grocery store—America practically runs on hummus. Every good American knows that where there are immigrants, there's always really great food. Do your part to protest the ban—take a Travel Ban Food Tour of Los Angeles, all without leaving the country or being frisked by the TSA.

Syria
Syria has dominated headlines for several years now. What started as a relatively peaceful protest in March of 2011 has erupted into the deadliest civil war of the 21st century, displacing nearly five million people. Wafa Ghreir, owner of Kobee Factory & Syrian Kitchen, is not a refugee. She came to the Los Angeles area forty years ago. But she opened her restaurant in the midst of the conflict in 2014 and it's become a home of sorts for many Syrians in the area. Try the namesake kobee, a dish made with bulgur wheat, beef, spices and pine nuts. Ghreir forms the kobee herself and then they are either cooked on the grill like a burger, or deep fried to perfection with a golden, crunchy outer crust.

Kobee Factory
14110 Oxnard St.
Van Nuys, CA 91401
(818) 909-2593
Daily 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Iran
Southern California has the largest population of Iranians in the world outside of Iran. As the 1979 Iranian revolution took place, numerous Iranians chose to flee the country and many ended up in the Los Angeles area. Make a stop at Asal Bakery and Kabob to get a taste of Iran. The highlight here is the fresh from the oven sangak, a tangy, chewy, sesame-encrusted flatbread, which is a staple of Iranian cuisine. The oven is the centerpiece of Asal and the long sheets of cooling sangak dominate the space. No one makes sangak better than Asal, where you can try it for dinner with your kabob, or dipped into a runny egg at breakfast.

Asal Bakery and Kabob
20008 Ventura Blvd.
Woodland Hills, CA 91304
(818) 436-2353
Daily 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Libya
Nothing says Libyan food like...tacos? You won't find Mexican staples like carne asada and carnitas on the menu at Revolutionario Tacos. What you will find are North African tacos, a creation of French-Algerian chef Farid Zadi, who moved to Los Angeles 18 years ago. Zadi has a knack for making cross-cultural culinary connections. In the small restaurant near USC, Zadi puts his unique spin on the taco, serving braised meats like lamb and chicken and chickpea tagine in a humble corn tortilla. It's fusion food at its most creative and best.

Revolutionario Tacos
1436 West Jefferson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(424) 223-3526
Wednesday – Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Sudan
Sudan-born chef Amin Musa has become a champion of Sudanese falafel in the Los Angeles area. Musa is a citizen of the world. He was born in Sudan but educated in Dubai and Canada and eventually immigrated to the United States. When Musa moved to Los Angeles, he opened Ihsan's Falafel, a food stand where the signature dish is the Sudanese falafel of his youth. The falafel at Ihsan's is deep-fried, with a crisp outer crust and creamy inside and is flecked with dill, which makes it uniquely Sudanese. Try it with the dakwa sauce, for a spicy, peanut-y, distinctly Sudanese taste.

Ihsan's Falafel
On USC campus, Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Various farmer's markets in the Los Angeles area on other days of the week.
Check website for details
715-360-2334

Somalia
If recently you've had the recurring thought that you need more goat meat in your life, take a detour to Banadir Somali Restaurant. And take a friend, because the portions here are big. What the restaurant lacks in ambience, it more than makes up for with flavors you won't find anywhere else. Goat soup, slow-cooked goat and braised goat are prepared with typical Somali spices such as cardamom, cloves, coriander, bay leaves, cinnamon and cumin. Make sure you order a side of anjero, a crepe-like "bread" and a hallmark of all Somali meals.

Banadir Somali Restaurant
137 W Arbor Vitae St.
Inglewood, CA 90301
(310) 419-9900
Daily 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Yemen
There are many Middle Eastern restaurants in and around Los Angeles. If you're specifically looking for Yemeni cuisine, however, that's a bit tricky. To try some, check out Aldewaniah Restaurant and order the mandi along with your hookah. Mandi is a traditional Yemeni dish of rice with tandoor-cooked chicken or lamb on top. Aldewaniah is a charming place with seating on the floor so you can lounge, eat, and smoke to your heart's content.

Aldwaniah Restaurant
2528 S Grand Ave .
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 745-7585
Monday-Thursday 5:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Friday – Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

Iraq
Of all the countries on the list, Americans might know the most about Iraq. To expand your knowledge even more by sampling the cuisine of the place, set your sights on Massif Mediterranean Grill. Order the masgouf, grilled carp with lemon and herbs, which is widely described as the national dish of Iraq. For something else distinctly Iraqi, order the kibbeh Mosul, a bulger and meat pancake, which hail from Mosul in Northern Iraq.

Massif Mediterranean Grill
902 E Colorado St
Glendale, CA 91205
(818) 245-6863
Daily 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.


Elise Carter-Hyde was banned from the library as an undergraduate at university. But that's an entirely different story.