Lent might be over, but the love for fish sandwiches is not. And in Southern California, restaurants across the region have their own takes on the timeless classic.
Food writer and podcaster Cesar Hernandez developed his love of the fried fish sandwich working at a McDonalds in Maywood as a teenager.
“It feels like the grandfather of fried fish sandwiches,” he says. “It is like the platonic form of a fried fish sandwich, and I think that most of the places that I highlight are in conversation with it, to an extent.”
He recommends Little Fish, a pop-up from the team behind Son of a Gun. Chefs there cure their fish in koji, a fermenting agent used in sake and soy sauce. Hernandez says it brings out an umami flavor. “It's rich and crunchy and hits all the spots that you would want from a fried fish sandwich.”
For a spicier option, head to Hotville Chicken, run by Kim Price at the Crenshaw Mall and substitute the hot chicken for hot swai “The fish is tender, little buttery nuggets of hot swai that burst with hot oil and seasoning.”
Hernandez says food truck Yess Aquatic offers the cutest option. It’s aesthetic is based off of Wes Anderson’s ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.’
“They have these bright colored outfits and red caps, as an homage to that, and they focus on the most recent catch.” He recommends trying the fish katsu and fried shark sandwich.
You can find his full list here.