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Mozzarella stick with melted cheese.
Ooey gooey mozzarella sticks at Big Mozz.
[Official Photo]

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10 Delicious Things to Eat at Smorgasburg

Eater editors’ favorite dishes at LA’s weekly food bazaar

Welcome to a newish series about the best dishes to eat in various neighborhoods across Los Angeles. Today we’re switching it up and heading to Smorgasburg, a food bonanza held every Sunday at the ROW that attracts up-and-coming artisans, established purveyors, and tens of thousands of hungry eaters each week. LA’s temperate fall weather means it’s the perfect time to check out this gastronomical gathering to find everything from Hong Kong-style fried chicken sandwiches to the city’s finest Texas barbecue. Here now are Eater editors’ favorites at Smorgasburg.


Smoked meats at Moo’s Craft Barbecue

A plate of barbecue, including links and ribs and brisket.
Moo’s Craft Barbecue
Moo’s Craft Barbecue

The brisket, ribs, and sausages at Moo’s Craft Barbecue are among the most impressive smoked meats I’ve had in Los Angeles. Thanks to its offset smoker and high-quality beef and pork, Moo’s product stands up to some of the best one can find in Texas. The secret, I think, is that Moo’s only makes barbecue once a week at Smorgasburg and often sells out instead of having to accommodate a full lunch and dinner service. Andrew and Michelle Muñoz are making the most impressive Texas-style barbecue in LA, and it’s not even close. —Matthew Kang

Soup dumplings at Brothecary

Giant soup dumpling in a bamboo steamer.
Soup dumplings at Brothecary
Mona Holmes

Consuming and cooking bone broth is far more than a trend — it’s a family tradition for Allison and Janice So. The sisters produce a bone broth based on their mother’s recipes and traditional Cantonese techniques. The result is Brothecary, a bright dumpling stand in the middle of Smorgasburg. Since 2016, the sisters spend every Sunday serving their massive soup dumplings, pan-fried dumplings, and steamed dumplings to Smorgasburg crowds. If you’re the type to spy on other Smorgasburgers before selecting what to eat, it’s impossible to miss the giant soup dumplings cradled in individual bamboo steamers with a bright red straw protruding from the side. Once finished capturing the dumpling’s golden chicken bone liquid, pull apart the skin to find glistening, flavorful pork throughout, and a delightful dumpling dough texture. The Sos also sell rich, gelatinous packets of chicken and beef bone broth at their stand and online shop. —Mona Holmes

Mozzarella sticks at Big Mozz

Mozzarella sticks with melted cheese.
Mozzarella sticks at Big Mozz
[Official Photo]

Brooklyn-based Big Mozz is an original Smorgasburg vendor, having seamlessly made the transition from the original event in Brooklyn to become legitimately bi-coastal. As the name implies, the stand focuses almost exclusively on oversized mozzarella sticks, served hot and crispy with dipping sauce for maximum smiles. The cheese pulls are perfect for Smorgasburg’s Instagram crowds, but most importantly, Big Mozz is absolutely delicious. —Farley Elliott

Cantonese fried chicken sandwich at Bolo

BOLO
Cantonese fried chicken sandwich at BOLO
Jakob Layman

Consider Bolo’s fried chicken sandwich a love letter to Hong Kong. A collaboration between Tsz Chan and Joey Ngoy, the jaw-dropping creation attracts a fiercely loyal crowd each week. The heart of the sandwich is a well-spiced and expertly fried cutlet of Jidori chicken, then comes a chili-garlic aioli that packs some balanced heat, along with a heap of cooling Cantonese slaw. Finally, the whole thing is sandwiched between a hot, butter-toasted pineapple bun, also known as a bolo. The sandwich is seriously savory, a touch spicy, and just sweet enough to keep things interesting. —Cathy Chaplin

Tlayuda at Poncho’s Tlayudas

Poncho’s Tlayudas
Tlayuda at Poncho’s Tlayudas
Bill Esparza

If there’s a single food thing I recommend to first time visitors of Smorgasburg, it’s Poncho’s Tlayudas. There are delicious tlayudas everywhere in Oaxacalifornia (the Oaxacan community in Southern California), and they are easy to find. What’s not easy to find is Ponchos’s unique charcoal-grilled, folded tlayudas served with housemade morcilla, or blood sausage, and tasajo (beef jerky). Smeared inside with rich beans and stuffed to the max with stringy Oaxacan cheese, it’s truly a marvel. Crunchy shredded cabbage does a nice job of balancing out each bite, while an intense sauce provides both heat and depth. Bite into the snappy grilled blood sausage for a smoky finish. —Matthew Kang

Smoked pork ribs at Black Sugar Rib Company

Smoked pork ribs at Black Sugar Rib Company.
Smoked pork ribs at Black Sugar Rib Company
Mona Holmes

LA native and Black Sugar Rib Company owner Nolo Rodriguez knows where he’s from. His style of barbecue isn’t Texas- or North Carolina-style. His father Indolfo Rodriguez spent the last 35 years as Musso & Frank’s master griller and taught him everything he knows. The younger Rodriguez’s technique produces an elegant, tender, flavorful rib using a cut that should be the industry standard: pork back loin rib. Black Sugar’s barbecue starts with a custom dry rub of paprika, pepper, garlic powder, and an undisclosed ingredient that likely adds an element of sweetness. Black Sugar uses its fleet of custom-made smokers to handle the next step. Hours later, the slightly spicy and sweet ribs are perfectly cooked, wonderfully tender, and with ample bites of meat on the bone. In addition to ribs, Black Sugar keeps a simple menu of pulled pork, hot links, and smoked chicken. —Mona Holmes

Pastrami sandwiches at Ugly Drum

Ugly Drum
Pastrami sandwiches at Ugly Drum
Ugly Drum [official photo]

Move over Langer’s; Ugly Drum makes the best pastrami sandwiches in Los Angeles. I say this as the biggest fan of Langer’s Deli (though a recent incident, as well as some subpar recent experiences, give me reason to quell some of my enthusiasm for the iconic deli a bit). Meanwhile, Ugly Drum, which master cook Eric Black prepares only on Sundays at Smorgasburg, takes a monk-like approach to perfecting the pastrami sandwich. Eric hand-slices each bit of the smoked pastrami and builds a well-balanced, meaty sandwich with just a spread of mustard. Black also makes sandwiches with coleslaw and cheese for times when pure, juicy, peppery smoked pastrami isn’t enough. —Matthew Kang

Adobada tacos at Tacos 1986

Tacos 1986 Los Angeles
Tacos 1986
Wonho Frank Lee

The Tacos 1986 team certainly knows how to put on a show at Smorgasburg. The classic red and white stand slices thick strips of adobada fresh off the trompo, makes its tortillas by hand, and generally keeps its many the fans riled up with lots of flexing, kissy faces, and the kind of expert showmanship that draws in a crowd. It helps, of course, that the food is absolutely fantastic, and that the ’86 guys are currently the darlings of the street food scene across Los Angeles. Pro tip: Don’t sleep on the mushroom taco. —Farley Elliott

Tacos at Mideast Tacos

Falafel balls inside a tortilla.
Tacos at Mideast Tacos
[Official Photo]

Mideast Tacos offers the kind of simple-seeming food that, at first blush, can feel like an absolute no-brainer. Middle Eastern food, including marinated steak and chicken kabobs or falafel, presented inside handmade tortillas. It’s the sort of easy genius that only Armen Martirosyan from the Mini Kabob empire could come up with, and it takes the kind of actual work that only a kid who grew up in his family’s restaurant could execute. Mideast Tacos now operates a weeknight stand in Highland Park and does lots of private events as well, but the most fun is always watching Martirosyan on Sundays at Smorgasburg, talking to the line as he flips skewers. —Farley Elliott

Croissant taiyaki at Mumu Bakery

Croissant dough pressed into Japanese-style taiyaki.
Croissant taiyaki at Mumu Bakery

This genius baked good stand at Smorgasburg takes layered croissant dough and presses it into Japanese-style taiyaki, filling each dessert with things like Nutella, mochi, red bean, and cream cheese. The results are incredible: warm flakey pastry encasing a melty sweet filling. It’s a buttery golden brown beauty that looks amazing on your Instagram feed. It’s always best to eat one on the premise and to buy another one for the road. —Matthew Kang

Smorgasburg

777 South Alameda Street, , CA 90021 (718) 928-6603 Visit Website
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