Walking Tour of Little Manila in Carson, CA, USA and restaurant reviews.
Introduction. Here's a do-it-yourself walking tour through the South Bay's Little Manila. That's my name for a half-mile stretch along S. Main St. between Carson St. and 223rd. St. in Carson, CA, USA. Get a map (below) and a compass. You can exit the 110 Harbor Freeway at Carson St., or exit the 405 San Diego Freeway at Main St., Avalon Blvd., or Wilmington Ave. Or, exit the 91 Freeway/Artesia Blvd. at Main street, and go past the Goodyear blimp. You can park almost anywhere, but the largest parking lot is on the southeast corner of Carson St. and Main St. in the Albertson's shopping center. There are usually more empty spots at the west end. This is where this tour starts, but you can start anywhere. My initial visit to do this report was on Monday 7/5/99, the 4th of July holiday, and a couple of places were closed. Maybe some close on Sunday and others on Monday. It could take a few months to finish this and get all the details.
9/14/99 - Especially in ethnic areas, don't expect businesses to accept credit or ATM cards, checks, travel's check, etc. If that's important, call and ask first.
Maps. You'll see this area on the left side of the map at carson.csudh.edu/BigMapOfCarson.htm. And, you can click on things to get more details. Yahoo has a map at maps.yahoo.com/py/maps.py?&csz=Carson,CA,90745. You can zoom in and out, and ask for directions. The map at "long url" zooms and centers on this area. You can zoom in and click on North and South to see the whole area. The circle symbol does not mark the center of Carson, more like the western edge. Or, traffic.maxwell.com/la/index.html reports on freeway traffic, but it doesn't pinpoint Carson. Some of Carson is in the triangle below "Compton," in the left corner. "Little Manila" is in the upper tip of the five sided shape below that. That's the lower-right corner of where the 110 and 405 Freeways cross. PS - Remember odd-number addresses are usually on the north or west side of a street , and even-number addressed are usually on the south or east side of a street.
The Walking Tour 8/7/99 - AA through FF mark the six major corners on this tour. For the restaurants, the numbers like (1) mean the addresses and reviews are given at Restaurants 1-6 or Restaurants 7-15. The markets like (M1) are in Markets. Keep an eye open for the various free newspapers, either inside or outside the restaurants and markets. On Friday or Saturday night you'll find four or more. However, sometimes they throw them away at night when they close. See Safety Note before you walk.
AA - Southeast corner of Carson St. and Main St. At the east side is a Winchell's Donuts (open 24 hours) and Fresh Fish (M1) which has a sign in English (was also Korean) and only carries seafood, some alive, and now some prepared dishes. At the south side is Kim Tar Restaurant B.B.Q. (1), a video store, and an Albertson (M2) supermarket. This is a big Albertsons, they carry many oriental items and have ATM machines inside. There is also a Bank of America with ATM machines.
Southbound on Main St. (east side). Cross a street with no sign (E. 218th. Pl.), and there's the Manila Sunrise restaurant (2). Further south is St. Philomena Catholic Church with a rummage sale about once a year. See Web Sites for a few details.
Cross 220th. St., the quarter-way point, and there's Ted's Burger (3) with great breakfast specials. 9/18/99 - About two buildings to the south is the Manila Business Center at 22030 S. Main St. Check out the Mural on the south wall. There's a plaque and a list of artists, but no explanation, maybe something about Carson. Next is Casa Filipina Restaurant (4) which was closed. All I could see was a fast food area. This is actually two restaurants. Two doors to the south is a video store. Cross E. Jay St., and at the southeast corner is a shopping center. First is the large Supreme Seafood Market (was called Hoa Fong Market) (M3) with a sign in English and Chinese. Second is the Casa Filipina Bakery (5), and third is Palayok (6) fast Filipino food with no menu to go.
BB - Northeast corner of Main St. and 223rd. St. There's a Jack in the Box on the corner, a video store, and a Donuts shop. There's the Mami King restaurant (7) and the Seafood Ranch Market (M4) which was the largest oriental market in the area.
CC - Northwest corner of Main St. and 223rd. St. Just a Taco Bell. Three buildings to the west along 223rd. St. is the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Fire Station 36. If the doors are open you can see the fire trucks. The Fire Department has a web site at fire.co.la.ca.us/DEFAULT.htm.
Northbound on Main St. (west side). Cross 222th. St. and at 22035 Main St. are two stores. La Venagita Meat Market (M5) is a nice looking Mexican market. The Bakeshop was closed on Monday but says "gourmet & specialty foods." I went back: they bake elsewhere and sell here. 9/11/99 - Cross 220th. St. and past the shopping strip is a liquor store. Another sign says Mexican deli. They don't serve food, but they have a few grocery items. It's Keystone Liquor (M5.1). Next, at 21919 Main St. is Lupitas, a Mexican restaurant.
There are three, interesting "housing" complexes on this side of the street. I'll just mention the center one, Carson Gardens, at 21811 Main St. They have a small garden and benches outside the lobby, but remember this is private property.
DD - Southwest corner of Carson St. and Main St. There's a Del Taco on the corner, Sav-On Drugs (open 24 hours), and Alfredo's Mexican restaurant. At the south side, next to each other are Manila's Lechon restaurant (8), Naga Bakery (9), and Tambuli Market (M6). Out by Carson St. are Popeyes chicken, China King fast food (10) and S & J Palace. The Palace has "gift & decor from around the world" and has a lot of fancy stuff. They opened a smaller branch store at EE on 8/14/99 and are the first store in this area to have email at firstname.lastname@example.org. On the sidewalk, in front of (8) and (9) is were I pick up the Filipino newspapers on a Friday night, but parking can be a mess.
EE - Northwest corner of Carson St. and Main St. The empty lot on the corner was a gas station. 8/26/00 - The empty lot has been under construction, and stores (?) are available. The small Ralphs Supermarket was converted into a Seafood City Supermarket (M7) and Chowkings (11). The supermarket opened 8/14/99. I've seen ads for Seafood City, and they says "Pilipino." Anyway, it will be the largest oriental market in the Carson area. Chowking is open, and other shops are under construction. Tropical Bakeshop (11.1) opens 9/9/99. 9/14/99 - All traces of Sizzling Pinoy were removed, and the space is marked "space Available."
8/30/99 - Three side trips are available. One block to the west along Carson St., on the northeast corner of Carson St. and Moneta Ave. is Tita Celia (12). Three blocks the the west is Vigan Express (13), on the southeast corner of Carson St. and Vermont Ave. These two restaurants are in first and second place. And/or, one building to the north, up Main St., is the George Nursery. This closed a year or two ago, but the sign is still there. Same for the Mandarin store across the street, but they repainted the building blue 8/99, and the sign is gone.
FF - Northeast corner of Carson St. and Main St. On the corner is Yoshinoya (beef bowl) for fast Japanese food. There's also El Pollo Loco for Mexican chicken, Carniceria Meat Market (M8) for Mexican fast food, and Foster's Freeze fast food. Thanks - I forgot Jenny's Cakes & Pastries (don't know if it's Filipino). The next building to the east on Carson St. is a Los Angeles County library which is closed on Sunday and holidays, but starting 10/3/99 they they will be open on Sunday from 1 and 5 p.m. Phone is 310-830-0901. The library's web site is at www.colapublib.org/libs/carson/, and they may get a map. It has a star on the map at carson.csudh.edu/BigMapOfCarson.htm. 9/99 - Foster's Freeze replaced their patio tiles and added colorful tiles to decorate their building. It needs it and more.
AA - Southeast corner of Carson St. and Main St. Get back in your car, and go eat or shop. You might want to drive to Tita Celia (12), Vigan Express (13), or Tipanan Filipino Cuisine restaurant (14). Remember, these are in first, second, and third place among the restaurants. Iba'n Express (16) moved into a tie for second place.
9/20/99 - Also, Island Foods (15) is open. See Restaurants 7-16.