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Under New Ownership, LA’s Only Dedicated Mongolian Restaurant Just Got Even Better

Plus, an Indonesian food truck hits the Valley, and a punk-inspired pasta pop-up

A plate of steamed little dumplings served with sour cream and a green salad.
Mongolian steamed beef dumplings served with sour cream at Arag Mongolian Cuisine in Koreatown.
[Official Photo]

When the owner of Los Angeles’s only dedicated Mongolian restaurant was ready to sell it this past summer, first-time restaurateur Batbayasgalan Enkhbold and his wife, Bayarmaa Bat-Ayush, stepped up to the plate. The couple took the reins from Ganbat Damba, who owned and operated Golden Mongolian in Koreatown since 2014, and renamed it Arag Mongolian Cuisine.

While the restaurant’s interior is largely unchanged from its time as Golden Mongolian, the newly expanded menu leans more traditional than its predecessor’s, says Enkhbold. Together with chef Buted Sanjaa, the couple refined many of the restaurant’s core recipes, including boiled whole lamb head, stone-grilled lamb chops, deep-fried dumplings filled with ground meat and offals, and buuz, steamed dumplings served with a vinegary slaw.

Traditional Mongolian cooking is often misunderstood among Angelenos, especially with the proliferation of Mongolian barbecue restaurants across the Southland, which is neither Mongolian nor barbecue. The menu at Arag Mongolian Cuisine is characteristic of what is eaten in Mongolia, with its heavy Russian and Chinese influences and embrace of lamb. Enkhbold wants Arag Mongolian Cuisine to be a beacon for the local Mongolian community, which he estimates numbers between 7,000 to 8,000. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Note: traditional Mongolian cooking can also be found at Nadima’s Sushi & Mongolian Express in Torrance, alongside a more robust sushi menu.

Former Bestia pasta maker channels punk rock vibes with new pop-up

In Los Angeles Magazine, writer Joshua Lurie dives into pasta pop-up Estrano, where chef Diego Argoti takes an anything goes approach to hand-made noodles. A recent menu featured a Chicago-style tsukemen made with deep-fried hot dogs, neon green relish, and celery salt. A future brick-and-mortar location isn’t in the cards for Argoti, who wants to keep the pop-up’s punk rock ethos going strong. Follow Estrano on Instagram for the latest pop-up locations and menus.

A new law makes it easier for restaurants to maintain outdoor dining post-pandemic

Laist’s Elina Shatkin gives a rundown of AB 61, a new law that allows local jurisdictions and the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to be more flexible with a variety of regulations including “how food is prepared and served outdoors and how restaurants arrange and use their outdoor spaces to increase dining capacity.” AB 61 goes into effect immediately.

An Indonesian meat-on-a-stick specialist hits the Valley

Find Indonesian-style meat-on-a-stick at Satay Lisa, a new food truck parked at 10116 Mason Avenue in Chatsworth on Tuesday through Saturday from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The truck is owned by Kevin Susanto and named after his mother, Lisa Nursalim, a beloved caterer in Los Angeles’s Indonesian community. Bestsellers include the pork and chicken satay plates, crispy chicken hand pies, and scratch-made strawberry lemonade. Confirm the truck’s whereabouts by following Satay Lisa on Instagram.

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