CLOSED: L.A.'s Iconic Dish: Donut Man Strawberry Donuts Vs. Kogi Tacos

Los Angeles is full of people who care passionately about food, and there are plenty of restaurants happy to serve us. We don't all agree on what constitutes "good," but we do know we like our burgers, our froyo, our Korean BBQ, our pizza. (That's right, our pizza. We like it.)

The thing is, we don't have one iconic dish. Nothing that we can point to and say, "This. This is Los Angeles on a plate." So now we're going to find out. KCET Food came up with 16 contenders. You vote on your favorites. Here's the eighth match up:




strawb donut-thumb-600x450-58913
Photo by Flickr user Ron Dollete

Strawberry donut at Donut Man: Midnight munchies worth the drive.


The History: This donut shop -- one where they actually make the donuts in-house -- has been open for 40-some years, under the same ownership. The strawberry donuts came a few years after the store opened, and then there were peach donuts, too. Thought L.A. is absolutely lousy with donut shops, Donut Man is one of the few known and requested by name.

The Scene: You know how donut shops are. There are usual some characters milling about, along with the parents and kids and the food tourists and, after dark, the people who feel as though they might totally die if they don't get a strawberry donut now.

The Food: The owners are really on to something here. They took something absolutely ubiquitous to Los Angeles, and they elevated it with something else very L.A.: fresh fruit. Do you have a sweet tooth? You'll like the strawberry donut.

Photo by Jakob Layman

Tacos at Kogi:

The History: There was a time when "taco truck" meant one specific thing. Kogi -- whether you think they were the first to put Korean barbecue in a tortilla or not -- is almost solely responsible for changing the definition. The company got its start in 2008 and utilized two key tactics to become successful: Twitter, and making friends with bar bouncers. (That second one is always a good idea.) Now the chef is a food celebrity and wins all kinds of fancy awards.

The Scene: Well, it's a very popular food truck. You get the idea.

The Food: Unlike many of the trucks that came after Kogi, and all hype aside, this empire really is built on food. The menu is straightforward in an L.A. kind of way (why wouldn't we put two delicious things together?), and though Roy Choi probably doesn't ride along much, he means business.

Strawberry donut at Donut Man
Tacos at Kogi


See All Face-Offs




Story continues below


We are dedicated to providing you with articles like this one. Show your support with a tax-deductible contribution to KCET. After all, public media is meant for the public. It belongs to all of us.

Keep Reading