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12 Spots to Chomp On Meat on a Stick in LA

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2008_10_hasmapsla.jpgThe notion of meat on a stick occupies a particular corner of the global food market. A great equalizer, these charcoal-fired skewers are enjoyed in various forms across the world, from Middle Eastern kebabs to Indonesian sate and Japanese yakitori. Even America has its own unique entrant, it comes in the form of processed beef dipped in batter and deep fried. Here then, in no particular order, are twelve of the best places to find meat on a stick. —Farley Elliott

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Picca Peruvian Cantina

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True skewers of Peruvian beef heart may be hard to come by in many corners of Los Angeles, but chef Ricardo Zarate’s native dish makes an appearance on the menu at Picca. A far cry from the food stalls normally selling such a hearty delicacy, this version is no less smoky because of its surroundings.

Feng Mao

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Long known for their funky mutton skewers, Koreatown legend Feng Mao also loves to fire up chicken hearts, pull penis and lots of liver. The namesake cumin lamb skewers, though, will always earn top billing.

Pondok Kaki Lima

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Malaysia and Indonesia’s regionally-specific skewers (that’s sate, not satay) are on full display at Pondok Kaki Lima, a weekend food bazaar in the parking lot of the Duarte Inn. Meaty skewers take are a big draw here, and are showcased alongside various rice dishes like lontong, and slightly spicy peanut sauce.

Kokekokko

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Forget kushiyaki, the more generalized Japanese term that can refer to all things skewered and grilled. A true yakitori spot like Kokekokko only works with chicken, though everything from gizzard to liver is fired up and eaten.

Nanbankan

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A Little Osaka staple, Nanbankan is a bit more dressed up than what one might reasonably expect from a restaurant essentially selling street stall food. But legions of Japanese families come for a sit-down meal over fresh skewers of beef tongue, squid and chicken hearts.

Kushi Shabu

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The deeply scarred cousin of grilled kushiyaki skewers, kushiage presents various meats and veggies deep fried to hell and back. Since the demise of Torrance’s Horon, folks have been flocking to Kushi Shabu in Little Tokyo, a joint operation inside Weller Court that panko-fries beef, seafood and more.

Old Country Cafe

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For a more true nose-to-tail skewer experience, get to Old Country Cafe, a Taiwanese SGV spot known for their congealed pig’s blood cakes, served up on a stick.

Shamshiri Grill

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For more than thirty years, Shamshiri has been crafting Persian kebab skewers in Westwood. Most folks tend towards the lamb koobideh, grilled quick on long metal sticks over mesquite charcoal.

Fritzi Dog

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One of America’s finest culinary bastardizations, the corndog is this nation’s entrant into the meat-on-a- stick world olympics. At Neal Fraser’s Fritzi Dog at the Fairfax Farmer’s Market, they’ll take any existing humanely-raised, nitrate-free dog on the menu, batter it up and fry it to perfection.

Gauchos Village

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Churrascaria’s are among the most recognizable forms of flamed meat on a stick. At Brazilian meat house Gaucho’s Village, everything from beef ribs to tri-tip to filet mignon to chorizo makes an appearance on the long swords that maneuver the room.

Dollar Hits

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A huge open-flame grill, right on the street. Aluminum tins of pre-skewered pork cuts, from pig ear to all manner of intestines, each one only a dollar. And long, long lines on weekends. But for Filipino BBQ skewers served like a true street stall back home, there’s not much better.

Shin-Sen-Gumi Yakitori

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Shin Sen Gumi is a longtime meat skewer spot, with outlets in Gardena, Monterey Park, Torrance and beyond. Their long yakitori tradition includes plenty of seafood, including wide sticks of shrimp and squid.

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Picca Peruvian Cantina

True skewers of Peruvian beef heart may be hard to come by in many corners of Los Angeles, but chef Ricardo Zarate’s native dish makes an appearance on the menu at Picca. A far cry from the food stalls normally selling such a hearty delicacy, this version is no less smoky because of its surroundings.

Feng Mao

Long known for their funky mutton skewers, Koreatown legend Feng Mao also loves to fire up chicken hearts, pull penis and lots of liver. The namesake cumin lamb skewers, though, will always earn top billing.

Pondok Kaki Lima

Malaysia and Indonesia’s regionally-specific skewers (that’s sate, not satay) are on full display at Pondok Kaki Lima, a weekend food bazaar in the parking lot of the Duarte Inn. Meaty skewers take are a big draw here, and are showcased alongside various rice dishes like lontong, and slightly spicy peanut sauce.

Kokekokko

Forget kushiyaki, the more generalized Japanese term that can refer to all things skewered and grilled. A true yakitori spot like Kokekokko only works with chicken, though everything from gizzard to liver is fired up and eaten.

Nanbankan

A Little Osaka staple, Nanbankan is a bit more dressed up than what one might reasonably expect from a restaurant essentially selling street stall food. But legions of Japanese families come for a sit-down meal over fresh skewers of beef tongue, squid and chicken hearts.

Kushi Shabu

The deeply scarred cousin of grilled kushiyaki skewers, kushiage presents various meats and veggies deep fried to hell and back. Since the demise of Torrance’s Horon, folks have been flocking to Kushi Shabu in Little Tokyo, a joint operation inside Weller Court that panko-fries beef, seafood and more.

Old Country Cafe

For a more true nose-to-tail skewer experience, get to Old Country Cafe, a Taiwanese SGV spot known for their congealed pig’s blood cakes, served up on a stick.

Shamshiri Grill

For more than thirty years, Shamshiri has been crafting Persian kebab skewers in Westwood. Most folks tend towards the lamb koobideh, grilled quick on long metal sticks over mesquite charcoal.

Fritzi Dog

One of America’s finest culinary bastardizations, the corndog is this nation’s entrant into the meat-on-a- stick world olympics. At Neal Fraser’s Fritzi Dog at the Fairfax Farmer’s Market, they’ll take any existing humanely-raised, nitrate-free dog on the menu, batter it up and fry it to perfection.

Gauchos Village

Churrascaria’s are among the most recognizable forms of flamed meat on a stick. At Brazilian meat house Gaucho’s Village, everything from beef ribs to tri-tip to filet mignon to chorizo makes an appearance on the long swords that maneuver the room.

Dollar Hits

A huge open-flame grill, right on the street. Aluminum tins of pre-skewered pork cuts, from pig ear to all manner of intestines, each one only a dollar. And long, long lines on weekends. But for Filipino BBQ skewers served like a true street stall back home, there’s not much better.

Shin-Sen-Gumi Yakitori

Shin Sen Gumi is a longtime meat skewer spot, with outlets in Gardena, Monterey Park, Torrance and beyond. Their long yakitori tradition includes plenty of seafood, including wide sticks of shrimp and squid.

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