Sunday, March 08, 2009

Valerio's City Bakery - Cerritos

Almost all Southeast Asian countries -- particularly the ones that are blessed with the climate and soil to grow banana trees -- have their own version of the fried banana. Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, you name 'em, each have a snack, a dessert, or a street food that involves the fruit deep-fried to a golden brown. Some will be dipped in batter and tossed in a wok full of oil, but some will be encased in egg roll's shell and paired with pieces of jackfruit, like the turon, which is what the Filipinos call their rendition.

And in Southern California, I would argue that the best turon is made by Valerio's, a Filipino bakery in a forgotten part of Cerritos that only Filipinos know about. It's got a sparse-looking storefront and an even less impressive interior. Walk inside and you'd think you were in a Soviet-era shop, especially if you come late in the day when the shelves are stripped empty and bare. Also if you come in the late afternoon, the turon usually won't be there.

Valerio's make them in the morning and sell out quickly. And at 75 cents a piece, the things go like hotcakes (Though, seriously, how popular are hotcakes anyway?)

We took a dozen and couldn't wait to rip into the box as soon as we got back in our car. First thing you notice is how long it is. (That's what she said!) It's slender like a cigar and as rigid as it is lengthy -- and I do mean lengthy. It's a stiff, foot-long shaft that that would even make a horse jealous and in no need of, you know, assistance. (Schwing!)

And now that I'm done with the phallus-related humor, I must tell you how crunchy the shell is. From tip to tip, every inch is glazed in a protective layer of caramelized sugar, which transforms what might normally be a flaccid Bruce Banner egg roll (ok, I guess I'm not done with the dick jokes) into a moisture-proof, fortified Hulk-like super egg roll capable of withstanding a dunk in, let's say, tea -- not that you would, though it would be perfect with it.

Underneath the crackle, you'll find a moist, mushy, sweet and tart filling of banana and the aforementioned jackfruit. And once you finish chomping each delectable bite, you'll want another. And another. And another. You won't want to stop. (That's what she said!)

Valerio's City Bakery
(562) 402-3244
17210 Norwalk Blvd
Cerritos, CA 90703

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26 Comments:

At 11:03 PM, Blogger EatTravelEat said...

Your descriptions and great photos again make me visualize and feel the experience of eating the fried banana! Fried bananas are great. I've tried Lotus of Siam's version, but not a Pilipino version yet...

 
At 12:48 AM, Blogger pleasurepalate said...

I love the turon at Valerio's, but I also think they make the best pan de sal of all the Filipino bakeries in town. :)

 
At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

doesn't look like anythign special. where are the cupcakes and the chocolate desserts.

 
At 10:41 AM, Blogger KirkK said...

Hey Elmo - That turon looks pretty good, not super oily like many places. Gotta agree on the Pan de Sal, we usually get ours from Valerio's down here in SD..... ever had Kalua Pork w/ Pan de Sal??? good stuff.....

 
At 4:34 PM, Blogger Loving Annie said...

Elmo,
That sounds fabulous, and worth the drive to Cerritos ! I love fried bananas ! And your humor made me laugh :))

 
At 5:36 PM, Anonymous JB said...

First, the hotcakes at McDonalds are awesome...whoever coined that phrase clearly just witnessed the stampede ordering Deluxe Big Breakfasts on a Sunday morning under the golden arches.

For some reason, I always knew you had a big.....appetite. Don't all of you other Monster Munching fans get the same vibe? With the fried banana being so excellent, I guess you can say patrons of Valerio's would go for "turon-turon"
[I know, my ancestry is Italian, but I speak Tagalog. Anyone who isn't a Tagalogphone, please Google the phrase 'turo turo']

 
At 9:13 PM, Blogger Buddha said...

Ha! That was hilarious.

Nicely written...

 
At 9:42 PM, Blogger Stanielsan said...

Oh man, turon is great! Actually the best turon is my mother-in-law's. Too bad I'm doing the low carb thing. :(

Pan de sal....Ugghhhh!!!! How I wish for some! It's great with corned beef!

 
At 10:26 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

EatTravelEat,

Having already tried Lotus of Siam's fried bananas myself, I would have to say these were better! Except at LoS, you can have it served with coconut ice cream!

PleasurePalate,

Though I enjoy Valerio's pan de sal, I prefer the ones Green Hills of Diamond Bar makes. They seem to be levitated by helium...so light!

But Green Hills' turon ain't got nothin' on Valerio's.

Anonymous,

Ah, but as it is so often the case, looks can be deceiving!

Kirk,

MMM...Kalua pork with Pan de sal. That sounds like a pairing made in heart heaven! Another way to enjoy one is to split it open and slather the inside with Cheez Wiz.

Annie,

Worth the trip for these babies, especially for our OC brothers/sisters in Buena Park or La Palma. Just a few exits away.

JB,

Funny, I've never tried Mickey D's pancakes. I am faithful to the Sausage McMuffin with Egg...those heart-pluggin' hockey pucks from heaven.

Buddha,

Thanks!

Stanielsan,

Corned beef with pan de sal! Now that's a sandwich!

 
At 1:04 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Wow that sounds so phalictastic... ;-)

 
At 4:06 PM, Blogger shavedicesundays said...

West Covina/Walnut has many Filipino restaurants, one of which I know make a great turon. They're not nearly as skinny as those though.

 
At 2:11 AM, Blogger Pepsi Monster said...

Elmo,

You are in my hood! Didn't even rang me up for this venture? C'mon now! LOL

BTW, there is a recession special at Philippe's right now. It's only $5.55 for their sammies and 75 cents for their lemonade. I think you need to make another trip up there again!

 
At 11:53 AM, Blogger Diana said...

I don't know if I feel hungry or dirty after reading that review...

Maybe both?

 
At 3:01 PM, Anonymous marvin said...

Great as usual elmo, moreso with all the dick jokes;)

I usually like the banana only turon, sans jackfruit, though I know they are mostly sold with jackfruit. These are super easy to make, I should look into frying up a batch myself.

 
At 3:33 PM, Blogger melissa said...

I was going to be all witty with this one, try to leave a comment like I did on your feminine noodles post, but...

Ummm...

Errr...

Nope. I failed miserably. I would have succeeded if I could have found the "That's what she said" clip from Family Guy.

 
At 6:10 PM, Blogger Passionate Eater said...

*Blush.* Elmo!!

 
At 8:40 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Bill,

Phallictastic indeed! Not that I'd want my food to be phallictastic...but I had to call it as I saw it!

shavedicesundays,

West Covina does, in fact, have a Valerio's of it's own. Though I'm not certain it's officially part of the chain.

Pepsi,

I should've turned on my "Monster" signal. Then you, me and the other Monsters can converge to munch! Believe it or not, there's a cookiemonster and a namstermonster among others on the Chowhound blog.

And $5.55 sammies at Philippe's? Time to ride the Metrolink again.

Diana,

I felt dirty writing it. But then, I was just trying to get a RISE out of people (Stop it now!!! Bad Elmo!!).

marvin,

I was hoping you'd comment...and I was hoping more that you'd share your secrets of turon. I know the egg roll part and the banana part...but that glaze!!!

melissa,

No need to drag yourself down with me! Especially after that strip club article. HAHA!

Rod (or was it Todd) Flanders: "OW! My freakin' ears!"

Passionate Eater,

*tipping my hat and bowing* Pardon madame. That was quite unbecoming of a gentleman! *wink*

(I should do my next post in the style of Jane Austen to offset this one).

 
At 12:10 AM, Blogger James @ The Eaten Path said...

Oh, Cerritos! How I miss your pork empanadas and pan de sal.

Elmo, this week I had the best curry of my life. If you ever make it out to New York City, Elmhurst will be on your map. Details to come after more "research"...

 
At 4:43 PM, Blogger melissa said...

No worries. I don't think I could be dragged down any further than my own mind already takes me.

And I forgot about the strip club article. O_O Is that what they call selective memory?

 
At 2:46 AM, Blogger Passionate Eater said...

I expect your next post to include descriptions of the lock on the chastity belt too Elmo! Also, I just gave you an award, so please pick it up!

 
At 10:58 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

James,

Research away! I'm lookin' forward to your post.

Melissa,

I believe it is. In my case, it's the one story I can't forget if I tried.

P.E.,

Thank you so much for writing all those nice things about me that I so don't deserve!

 
At 1:11 PM, Anonymous JB said...

^^^LOL at Rod (or Todd) Flanders quote above

 
At 2:28 PM, Blogger raissa said...

I agree the turon from Valerios are really good.

Your descriptions are so funny =)

If ever you will be in the area once again, give the turon at American Ranch & Seafood Market on Pioneer and South a try. Those are really good as well.

 
At 6:17 PM, Blogger Christine D. said...

Wow, haha. Not to mention that the fruits are JACKfruit and banana o_O

With that aside, this is the first time i've heard of a turon. Looks delish! Especially with tea and/or coconut ice cream like you mentioned.

 
At 9:15 PM, Blogger caninecologne said...

hi there
i didn't know valerio's was up in cerritos as well. i just thought we had 'em in san diego.

i wish they sold that kind of turon down here - banana WITH jackfruit. now that sounds pretty damn good. by the way, i thought your dick jokes were pretty funny.

 
At 4:54 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

JB,

And thank you for getting my obscure Simpsons references!!!

raissa,

I just passed by that place! I check in once in a while to see if they have rambutan. One week I saw it there and was flabbergasted! Never seen it since!

Christine,

Oh yes. Turon is the best! Though, I think the Vietnamese also do their own version. In addition to the jackfruit and banana, they also add shredded coconut. I had it at Brodard, actually.

caninecologne,

HAHA! Thanks for finding my dick jokes funny! I'm glad so many people get my sense of humor. Also, you'd be interested to know that there are other Valerio's too. There's on in West Covina, I think.

 

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