>> Nadima's Sushi & Mongolian Express | Eat the World Los Angeles

Monday, 22 November 2021

Nadima's Sushi & Mongolian Express

MONGOLIA 🇲🇳
Hawthorne Blvd. facade
COVID-19 UPDATE: There are a couple seats at a counter near the entry, but for the most part this restaurant is a takeout business.

It takes a bit of sleuthing to find more than just a run-of-the-mill sushi takeout in this new-ish shopping center, not just because you have to first locate it around the corner from the lot and facing busy Hawthorne Blvd., but because from the outside it makes no other claims. As you walk in, the owner will hand you a paper menu with only options from the sushi counter.

But a glance over the counter shows trays of Mongolian food available for catering (unique holiday ideas for your gatherings!), and one laminated sheet tucked halfway under the register has a few options available daily. Grab this sheet and see if anything catches your fancy, but come without a tight schedule as these are all made to order and take a while.

Menu page 1Menu page 2

If you want to eat in, it is possible although the entire restaurant has the feel of a hallway, with one counter and three chairs available to sit. The doors are open and the cool breezes of Torrance find their way through the place though, so it all feels very comfortable in the end. The enjoyable part of doing this is that the familiar smells of Mongolian cuisine, which are not apparent when entering, start to fill the space as the noodles are made and oils and meat fats are cooked.

This experience is the best explanation for $20 prices which may seem high to some customers, as it reveals the truly homemade nature of every Mongolian item and the labor that goes into them. The noodles and dumpling skins are made to order, combined with vegetables and meats, and presented at peak freshness.

Buuz beef dumplings

One of those familiar smells was thought to be lamb, which permeates everyone and everything if you have ever spent any time in Mongolia. This must have been for a catering order because the country's dumplings called buuz ($20, above) are filled with ground beef. Often these are bite-size, but the versions here are plump, their juices falling out if not bitten into strategically.

The proprietor must have had people commenting on the subtle tastes of Mongolian food in the past, as she loads up each order with packets of soy sauce and Sriracha and calls the food a bit plain. While this can be the interpretation, there is still a lot of flavor to be enjoyed in the dumpling's meaty interior and juices, and the medium-thickness wrapper is supremely chewy and enjoyable.

Tsuivan beef fried noodle

Both the dumplings and the tsuivan ($20, above) are served with a side of baitsaanii salat, a simple salad of cabbage and carrots that is very mildly fermented. Vegetables do not play much of a roll in the diets of Mongolians, who live through much more winter than summer. The biggest difference between these noodles and other stir-fried dishes you may have tried is the lovely, springy noodles that have been made and cut right in front of your eyes.

While some items have been covered on the menu and are no longer available, other options include khushuur, fried dough with ground beef and/or potatoes inside, and guriltai shol, an intensely warming beef soup that also uses freshly knifed noodles. No matter what your order do not forget to eat your orange slices, a very typical dessert when eating in Mongolia.

📍 23211 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance, South Bay

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