You’re in a place where exotic smells waft from sidewalk cafes. All around you, signs are scrawled in foreign scripts and people speak in unfamiliar languages. Food-market bins are crammed with piquant spices and unusual produce. Colorful curios line the shelves of neighborhood boutiques. Surely, you’re very far from home. Or, you’ve just stumbled into one of Southern California’s numerous ethnic enclaves, where a few quarters dropped in a parking meter will buy cultural immersion so complete you’ll feel as if you’ve fled the country.
Singular Magazine is running a four-part series I wrote on these transportive ethnic enclaves in Los Angeles. First stop: Little Ethiopia.