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
17210 Norwalk Blvd
Cerritos, CA 90703
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