Best Taste of the Philippines - 2012
Eagle Rock Plaza
The Eagle Rock Plaza façade is unremarkable. Street-level stores — Chuck E. Cheese, Macy's and Target — suggest your predictable American mall. But much of the hidden lower level is devoted to goods and services from the Philippines. Locals call it "Manila Mall" after the Philippines' capital city and consider it an anchor of L.A. Filipino culture. (Although Historic Filipinotown is in Echo Park, northeast L.A. now is home to a concentration of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans.) You'll first notice the primary colors of Jollibee, a Filipino fast-food chain selling Chickenjoy, Jolly Spaghetti and Yumburgers. Goldilocks Restaurant and Bakeshop, another Filipino export, may catch your eye with cakes, cookies and breads, including brightly colored treats made from ube, a purple yam. Seafood City, an American grocery chain specializing in Filipino foods and ingredients, offers aisles of snacks and sweets, pancit noodles, the ever popular ube and an impressive fish selection. Browse the Fil-Am Mart and kiosks for the latest CDs and DVDs from Manila, "I'm So Filipino" T-shirts and knickknacks ranging from folk art to karaoke machines. 2700 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock. (323) 256-2147, shopeaglerock.com.
—Daina Beth Solomon