Summer in Long Beach isn’t just for taking your dog to LA’s only dog-friendly beach and taking in the views of its famous oil islands while putting it in a brown bag. There’s also that indescribable feeling when you hit Sublime in your car while cruising down Cherry Avenue, as well as the cooler coastal temperatures you won’t find the further inland you go. But perhaps most respectable of all is the city’s 14 miles of bike lanes, and where there are bike lanes, there are cyclists with an almost insatiable hunger and thirst.
We’ve mapped this route to help you navigate some of the different neighborhoods that make up the city of Long Beach to enjoy some quality street food options we’ve handpicked to get your grub.
This is an intermediate style ride, so if you don’t feel comfortable cycling the streets, take advantage of public transport or carpool with friends. Of course, if you ride a bike, obey all traffic rules for bike safety and always wear a helmet.
Stop one: Long beach of El Sabroso
Finding a good frutero in La Playa Larga is not difficult. the ubiquitous rainbow colored umbrellas with their makeshift shopping carts being pushed down the grand boulevards, either by amenity bikes or amenity bikes, they are part of the city’s landscape. Eliu Ramirez is one of many known for its tasty snacks like its nieces (Mexican crushed ice) or its creamy-spicy Sketches. It should be noted that Ramirez himself has become a symbol of justice for street food workers. In the summer of 2021, a group of youths assaulted Ramirez and another vendor, dumping the contents on the sidewalk. Following the incident, Ramirez called the Long Beach police for assistance. Instead, officers responding to the call issued him and his fellow salesman a ticket for not having the proper permits. The incident was widely covered by LA TACO and other media, drawing attention to the daily plight of street vendors. Since the incident, Ramirez has become one of the area’s best-known street vendors. These days, Ramirez drives around various neighborhoods on a converted scooter painted light blue and sells his tostilocos and fresh-cut mangoes at a nearby high school during the week and at churches on weekends.
Where to find: Check El Sabroso’s Instagram account for where they’ll appear next.
Stop 2: Bbq Battambong
If you happen to be at the Uptown Certified Farmers Market on a Thursday at 3 p.m., located in a northern part of the Bixby Knolls neighborhood. There is where Bbq Battambong appears regularly. Owner Chad Phuong prepares his “Texan barbecue with a Cambodian touch”. Phuong is often behind his smoking caravan, donning his curved bill cowboy hat, looking something like a character from the graphic novel the Preachr but instead of throwing guns, it serves up some of the best food this side of the 710 freeway. No best food sums up Phuong’s thesis on miscegenation that the Name Pan, the Cambodian cousin of the Vietnamese banh mi. The sandwich includes a crispy AF half baguette covered in a mixture of pâté and sriracha mayonnaise, a salad of marinated papaya salad that tastes fresh and the brisket smoked 15 hours and dipped in a tangy barbecue sauce. Those looking for more food can opt for the smoked meat plate, with a range of offerings such as the aforementioned smoked brisket, fingertip sticky ribs, three-tip lemongrass chicken, twako aka, Cambodian beef sausages. Save room for the delicious sides of the plate, especially the ever-wonderful-tasting Cambodian Coconut Corn, which is the perfect blend of sweet and savory. The first bite will undoubtedly be followed by a second and a third until there is nothing left. So here is the fuel needed to power the rest of the trip. Let’s keep moving.
Where to find: Atlantic Avenue & E 46th St, Long Beach, CA 90807
Stop 3: Shlap Muan
Did someone say Cambodian chicken wings? The owner of Hawk Tea was living in San Francisco, working in companies when he had the idea that he wanted to open his own restaurant space. Tea grew up in the restaurant business, where he helped his parents run their family restaurant in Long Beach. Opened in March 2022, Shalp Muan refers to chicken wings in the Khmer language. Their expertly fried drumsticks and drumstick dishes feature bold flavors and crisp crunch in every bite. The tea makes a point of incorporating the traditional Khmer flavors he grew up eating in order to honor his cultural heritage. With various dry seasonings such as Cambodian Earth and Jalapeno MSG and their wet sauces, Orange Habanero and Water Buffalo are all made in-house and pack a serious punch that awakens the senses. Take advantage of their many Khmer dishes while you are there to complete your meal. Some options to consider are their Beef Lok Lak, made with seasoned chunks of premium shaken peppercorn steak, tossed with their signature Master sauce, savory soy sauce and grilled onions served with a side of steamed rice and a glorious lime dip offering a little more of acidity in every bite. There’s also Chay’s famous shrimp fried rice, made with crispy, delicious shrimp bathed in their Master sauce that sits on a bed of golden fried rice.
Where to find: 2150 E South St #105, Long Beach, CA 90805
Stop 4: Mariscos El Garage
To Mariscos El Garageyou will find the owner Elsa Barragan the madrina of the Long Beach mariscos scene. It’s easy to see that Barragan has quickly risen through the ranks serving some of the tastiest mariscos in Long Beach. It’s hard to miss. Look for the Barragan’s wrapped Ford 150 with the red, white and black camouflage pattern attached to the lonchera trailer adorned with the image of Barragan’s father Don Diego who used to slang camaron cocktail his garage, and trade names are in homage. Welcoming you with a smile and a welcoming presence, Barragan, with his signature red hair, will take your order with care asking you what you like and making sure you are up to date with the daily specials. It’s this kind of personal attention that keeps Long Beach residents coming back again and again. Not to mention the stellar ceviches, botanas, aguachiles and tacos gobernador. It’s hard to go wrong with all the great options Chef Elsa has to offer. If you want to have a blast, order the callo de hacha (feather clams), which is a tender delicacy resembling a scallop.
Where to find: 1901 E Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach, CA 90806.
Stop 5: nevaeh
His Instagram bio reads, “The Coffee Guy at the Farmers Market,” though Ricky Sanchez wasn’t always aiming to get into specialty coffee. Originally from North Long Beach, near the Paramount border, Sanchez started working at a coffee shop in 2018 learning the basics of coffee making. At the same time, his own budding interest prompted him to try and sample the variety of prints from spro throughout Southland, where he developed his own palette. Throughout that time, he realized one thing about the industry: “There are a lot of specialty shops that are highly respected, but it’s not really a specialty. I feel like they call it specialty coffee because they use really good beans but the ingredients are crap,” Sanchez says bluntly. Feeling empowered by this knowledge, he sought to create a cafe pop-up centered around community events such as farmers markets that would seek to counter this fact. Sanchez makes a point of putting a strong emphasis on quality ingredients, like using only plant-based milk for its drinks and sourcing organic, non-GMO beans whenever possible. Currently he uses Culture Café Counter Beans. The ever-popular latte drinks are great for sipping while chasing the goods from the Downtown Long Beach Farmers Market. The vanilla latte is made with vanilla pods from Madagascar and agave syrup. Another option includes their Signature made with a condensed oat milk to fully recharge before our next stop.
Where to find: Downtown Long Beach Farmers Market, 315-412 The Promenade N, Long Beach, CA 90802 (Fridays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
Stop 6: Vivi’s Gourmet Kitchen
On Friday nights, you’ll find Vivi’s Gourmet Cuisine food trailer parked along Ocean Boulevard, specializing in various forms of Colombian street food. The little red trailer makes regular stops in the Valley (Reseda and Van Nuys), Pasadena, as well as Long Beach throughout the week. Their menu packs a punch with lots of choices. Choose from perfectly crispy dishes arepas rellenas with a choice of chicken, beef, cheese or chicharrón (fried pork belly) covered in a creamy cilantro sauce. Add to that one of her Bulldogs, a tasty Colombian takes on a hot dog that. Topped with a mayonnaise-based sauce combo with pineapple, orange juice, carrot, and crispy pieces of potato chips, making for a very satisfying bite. Finish your meal with a pair of empanadas that have a sweet yet crispy cornmeal batter with your choice of chicken or beef, topped with homemade chimichurri sauce. Relax and find a bench, and watch the skyscrapers along Ocean Boulevard while washing down your meal with a Colombian soft drink and admiring how far you’ve come. You did it.
Where to find: 400 W Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA on Friday nights.
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