Spent the last two Saturdays (Feb 17 and 24) at Los Angeles’ version of Europe’s night market, Grand Central Market.
Built in 1917, it is the oldest concession type of market here in the Pacific Coast. It is said to have survived depression, recessions, earthquakes, and re-developments. It is now a vibrant community of multicultural stalls and food stops. It extends from Broadway Ave to Hill St.
[ View of GCM from Hill St]
Grand Central Market is the food court for the foodies, it has ramen to tacos and coffee to ice cream, this place has something for everyone even for the vegetarians. You can find food, fresh or cooked from several countries, particularly from China, Mexico, Thailand, Italy, Salvador, Japan, Philippines in a wonderful fusion of flavors. You can choose among several different qualities of chili peppers or beans or fruits or rice. You can taste very hot spicy fried chicken or an excellent steamed salmon. You can take a hot or an iced American coffee or a good ice cream. You can speak Chinese or Thai or Spanish or Italian or English and you will always find somebody to talk with.
Every vendor now hangs a retro neon sign, a lot of people say that it wasn’t always that way.
“Waves of Angelenos of various ethnicities have mingled in its cavernous space, rubbing shoulders, buying everyday and exotic foods. In a sprawling, car-defining metropolis, the market is one of the few places where this interaction occurs so vividly.” — Levin & Associates
Feb 17: First, we had ramen and avo toast at Ramen Hood.
and then bento boxes from Bento Ya.
and then pad thai and sticky rice from Sticky Rice Too. 😅
fried banana and pupusas
Lastly, we had fried bananas and particularly the namesake pupusas (a sort of thick Central American closed quesadilla), at one of the longer-running vendors, Sarita’s is something of an El Salvadorean legend. They are also most proud of being partly featured in Lala Land’s movie.
tortang talong rice bowl
Feb 24: And as if we couldn’t get enough of what we’ve had from the previous week, we decided to go earlier the next week so we could get good seats and eat leisurely. I decided to try what the chef Margarita or so hype on Instagram from Sari Sari Store, I was a few days late though because they’ve decided to stop serving the breakfast plate which was what I (partly) went for. Bummer. I got the tortang talong rice bowl from them instead, beef stew combo from Sarita’s (again), a vegetarian’s sandwich from PBJ’s. And coffee from… I forgot. 😀
This market doesn’t quite have the selection from upscale Farmer’s Markets or the organic quality that you will be looking for, but still, it’s good to eat here when we’re in downtown L.A. There’s a good selection of foods, the price is good, and we liked the atmosphere of the hustle and bustle, all the little shops and tiny windows, etc. It’s just a more authentic experience than eating in the food court of a mall.
Oh, don’t forget to venture to the other side of the market by taking a short ride up through the funicular Angels Flight to the Bunker Hill, the home of high rise apartments and glossy museums.
Who would have thought that right next to it is a frenzied bazaar.
317 S Broadway Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90013
308 S Hill Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Tim Hawkinson Inverted Clocktower | $3 first 90minutes
Public Parking Corner 3rd and Hill Sts | $8 all day