>> Su-Beoreg & Monta Factory | Eat the World Los Angeles

Tuesday 10 November 2020

Su-Beoreg & Monta Factory


EDITOR'S NOTE: An updated version of this article (23 February 2024) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here:
It is not until you get inside of this tiny shop that the word factory comes to full fruition and the trays of yet-to-be baked sini-monta can be observed. Stacks of variously-sized pizza boxes are also ready to hold orders of su-beoreg and trays of those monta that some people want cooked before leaving. Framed articles from Eater and the Pasadena Star-News share the leftover space with the menu.

Nowadays you order from outside the door of course as even two customers would make the little storefront crowded. A table in front allows for sitting and eating, but it appears most people load their trunks and disperse to their homes near and far. If you come for the first time, proper heating instructions are given in detail to make sure everything comes out just right at home.

In addition to the two items in the name of the factory, you can sometimes find stuffed grape leaves and various soups, as well as one interesting addition that seems to have no relation to a landlocked country far away from the northern reaches of the Pacific Ocean: Wild Alaskan salmon sandwich. The owners tell Joshua Lurie that originally this was meant as a pull for customers unfamiliar with Armenian specialties. It must be popular universally though as it remains on the menu five years later.

Su-beoreg ($2/piece, above) is more of a pull on this day though, feta and mozzarella-filled pastries baked on sheets of 12 that can also be purchased uncut. Beoreg is the Armenian name for what is known as burek or bรถrek or byrek or many other names in many other nations from there up through the Balkans, who all enjoy the flaky, phyllo dough pies with various shapes and ingredients.

What seems to be an indication of the confidence of this kitchen is the phrase "Better than your grandma's - she'll agree!" which is challenging the vast numbers of Angelenos who do have Armenian grandmas. If you do not have one to compare with, you might just have to trust them.

In addition to the proper temperature, the secret is in watching the wings of the tiny monta get browned. This will be the signal that the meat within them is cooked, but you can let them stay a bit longer if you prefer more crisp in each bite.

A small tray of sini-monta ($10, above) comes with forty of the little dumplings and containers of yogurt, hot sauce, and some dried oregano, but first heat up the large cup of tomato sauce they also include and poor this over the monta and into every crevice. If you have them bake it and serve it ready to eat, the tray is $2 more.

After that, add the hot sauce as desired, get the garlicky yogurt spread around nicely, and watch the steam rise before digging in with a spoon to make sure plenty of the liquid is in every bite. The combination of flavors hits the tongue in multiple areas, especially if you are generous with that hot sauce.

Grandmas across Pasadena are going to have to up their game.


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