>> Jaliz Cuisine of East Africa | Eat the World Los Angeles

Saturday 8 December 2018

Jaliz Cuisine of East Africa


EDITOR'S NOTE: An updated version of this article (29 November 2023) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here:

It was more than a little baffling upon arrival the first time at what appeared to be an ordinary and simple home on an ordinary suburban street in Van Nuys. Despite having a small but real presence on the internet, one u-turn became two and before neighbors became suspicious a phone call was eventually made. The location was confirmed by the friendly voice on the other end and an invitation to drive right into the back yard (above).

A week or two before, it was the random searching online for any foods from the continent of Africa that brought Jaliz into focus in the first place. Completely by chance, the "cuisine of East Africa" was now possible from a slightly different perspective than the mostly Ethiopian diaspora that usually shares this with us here in Los Angeles.

Making fresh chapati.

Park your car and enter through the back door to realize what an amazing world this is that you live in. On a residential street of Van Nuys there is a somewhat secret, or at least hidden, chef from Uganda offering her skills to East Africans in the area. Everyone missing those tastes from back home seems to know about it.

Somewhat different than their Ethiopian continental neighbors, history has put somewhat different trade routes and colonization over Ugandan lands. Their lovely cuisine shows this through influences from Arab countries, a little English, and a lot of Indian.

Two orders, each one comes with chapati and sides.

Most of the eating and socializing takes place in the breezy shaded parts of the backyard, which is full of random couches and tables. Pick your favorite and let the place transport you away from Los Angeles County and into another world. If the weather is chilly, there is some seating indoors at a dining room table.

The house itself seems so personal and has no clues of being a business so at first it feels a little intrusive to walk inside and have a seat. Realizing this, Chef Jalia or another customer will make sure you find your way.

If you have come for the first time, she promises a little bit of everything, and delivers on that 100% with the full spreads seen above.

The menu will be different each day, so show up with an open mind and let the chef take you where she wants. On a recent visit there were two different meat stews (tilapia and goat, below), which each came out with an entire heaping plate of sides and chapati.

Better than even the food here is the experience. Being welcomed into someone's home and receiving such a beautiful meal all while East African life in the area swirled around is one of the highlights of life.

Jaliz is the type of place that makes you want to stop in once in a while just to see what's new.



  1. This is the only place close to home, and every time I get refreshed by the environment and the calture.

  2. Can't wait to get back! If you know of anything else similar please let us know.


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