10 Must-Try Fried Foods Around LA

By Lesley Balla  |  August 27, 2013
Credit: Del Frisco's Grille

Sure, sloppy joe donuts, Bacon Bombs and fried waffle-wrapped hot dogs were hits at the OC Fair, and you'll find plenty of deep-fried Kool-Aid, watermelon, candy bars, frogs' legs and more at the L.A. County Fair, which kicks off this weekend and goes until the end of September. But once the county fairs roll up the last tent, where do you go for your crazy fried food fix? From gut-bomb burgers to crispy grasshoppers, here are 10 things people are frying up around LA right now. Go get that bottle of Lipitor and dig in.

  • Credit: Lesley Balla

    The Jon Belu-Cheese at The Escondite

    The burgers at this Little Tokyo hideaway are pure madness - some are served on donuts with bacon, others are stuffed with Slim Jims and topped with Doritos, some come with mashed potatoes and gravy on top. But the Tuesday-only Jon Belu-Cheese is absolutely insane. The thing is stuffed with blue cheese, battered and fried like a chicken wing and tossed in Buffalo sauce, and then topped with blue cheese dressing. Oh, and a handful of Pringles chips is added for crunch.

    410 Boyd St.; 213-626-1800

  • Credit: Beer Belly

    Fried Duck Livers at Beer Belly

    Ok, there are crazier things battered and dropped in a vat of hot oil at this Koreatown craft beer bar - Oreos, Pop Tarts, oatmeal cream pies - and not-so-crazy, like catfish and duck-fat fries. But no one else is throwing duck livers in the fryer, especially with such delicious results.

    532 S. Western Ave.; 213-387-2337

  • Credit: Lesley Balla

    Chili Donuts at Boneyard Bistro

    This Sherman Oaks barbecue joint has more than ribs, brisket and grilled bacon. It’s hard not to get the fried triangles of mac 'n' cheese as a side dish, but you really shouldn’t leave without getting the chili-stuffed donuts. Stuffed with a meaty chili, the little holes are fried and topped with cheese, onions and a bit of mustard.

    13539 Ventura Blvd.; 818-906-7427

  • Credit: Lesley Balla

    Pork Kimchi Balls at Seoul Sausage

    The kimchi balls from The Great Food Truck Race winners are ridiculously good. A ton of flavor is packed inside each ball - pork, cheese, kimchi and other seasonings, plus the spicy garlic-jalapeño-kimchi-sriracha aïoli served with them for dipping. Highly addictive, and thankfully served at the Sawtell brick and mortar daily.

    11313 Mississippi Ave.; 310-477-7739

  • Credit: Del Frisco's Grille

    Philly Cheesesteak Egg Rolls at Del Frisco’s Grille

    This new Santa Monica spot has fried cheesy things in spades, like pimiento-stuffed fritters and cheesesteak egg rolls. That’s right: beef, molten cheese and onions in a wrapper, deep-fried until it’s all pretty much cheesy goo, and served with sweet-and-spicy chile sauce for dipping. They go best while watching all the sunset joggers running by.

    1551 Ocean Ave.; 310-395-7333

  • “Popcorn” Bacon at Black Hogg

    Eric Park may have changed the menu a bit since he opened the popular Silver Lake spot, and he's even added sandwiches during the day, but the fried bite-size chunks of housemade bacon remain. Really, when you throw breaded bacon in a fryer, you can never go back. The signature dish needs to be shared, but we’ve known a few intrepid people to eat a whole bowl alone.  

    2852 W. Sunset Blvd.; 323-953-2820

    Photo: KayOne73/Flickr

  • Credit: Flickr

    Chapulines at Guelaguetza

    Crispy fried grasshoppers, aka Oaxacan popcorn, are found on the streets of Mexico and at sporting events, but also at the Oaxacan restaurant known for its moles. The salty little critters with a squeeze of lime are a snack of choice, made only better when chased with an ice-cold cerveza. Hey, if the UN thinks eating bugs will help end world hunger, this is the place to start getting used to it.

    3014 W. Olympic Blvd.; 213-427-0608

    Photo: Pleasure Palate/Flickr

  • Credit: Flickr

    Shrimp Heads and Chickin Cracklins at The Hart and the Hunter

    The things that most people throw away are put to a deliciously good use at the Palihotel restaurant helmed by Kris Tominaga and Brian Dunsmoor. The crunchy shrimp heads are tossed with chile flakes and sliced scallions, and taste every bit as good, if not better, then what you’ll get at a sushi bar when you order sweet shrimp nigiri. The fried chicken skins sprinkled with hot vinegar are like potato chips: you can’t eat just one.

    7950 Melrose Ave.; 323-424-3055

    Photo: Ron Dolette/Flickr

  • Credit: Twitter

    Twinkie Dog at The Infield

    Twinkies are back for better or worse, which means you can get the cream-filled snack cake fried for dessert at this Sherman Oaks hot dog stand. But why stop there? You’re already going for broke, so get the Twinkie Dog, a hot dog sandwiched between two deep-fried Twinkies and topped with Cheez Whiz.

    14333 Ventura Blvd.; 818-501-1850

    Photo: Annie Barrett/Twitter

  • Credit: Lesley Balla

    Deep-Fried PB&J at Melt It!

    How do you make something as wholesome as a PB&J into a total gut-bomb? Drop it in a vat of hot oil, of course. The guys at Pasadena's Melt It! certainly have a way with melting things - cheese, for the most part, but also Snickers, Milky Ways and Butterfingers, because candy, like just about anything, becomes completely molten when fried. The ultimate dessert is the PB&J, an entire sandwich battered and fried to a super-crisp golden-brown, the creamy peanut butter swirls into the strawberry jelly. It's sweet and rather tasty, but it's no longer lunch or an afternoon snack.

    105 N. Hill Ave.; 626-793-7002