27 E. Main St., Alhambra, (626) 308-2036
Merry’s House of Chicken
On the outer edges of the San Gabriel Valley, Merry’s House of Chicken sates the Indonesian sweet tooth. Shaved ice is ubiquitous here, and the es teler is a fine example: coconut milk, condensed milk, shaved ice, avocado, jackfruit, grass jelly and shredded coconut. It’s an intricate dessert, a confounding collision of textures and flavors that speaks directly to Southeast Asian sensibilities. In part because of the Dutch colonial influence once exerted on Indonesia, Merry’s also makes some expert baked goods. Try a slice of the lapis surabaya, an unimaginably soft layer cake that owes its airiness to about three dozen egg yolks.
2550 E. Amar Road, Suite A5, West Covina, (626) 965-0123
Luisa & Son
Ube is the uniting ingredient at Luisa & Son. The Filipino bakery is awash in brilliant purple pastry: fluffy ube bread marked with pockets of the purple yam, puck-sized hopia cakes filled with a concentrated ube puree, even bulbous ube muffins. But the Filipino bakery’s hallmark is its ube ensaymada, a billowy brioche pastry as rich as the most decadent doughnut. Assimilated and modified under centuries of Spanish rule, the Filipino favorite pulls apart in fat, feathery hunks, like a cinnamon roll stained a vibrant violet and slathered in a buttery glaze.
12543 Alondra Blvd., Norwalk, (562) 921-8171, and 116201/2 South St., Artesia, (562) 924-8100