Zam Zam Market – The Best Deal on the Westside

16 Sep

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Zam Zam Market is probably the most hole-in-the-wallish place I eat at every chance I get. It’s a great example of everything the Westside is not — a restaurant squarely aimed at an ethnic group that makes no effort to accommodate others. In fact, ZZM functions largely as a takeout joint for Muslims who pray at the King Faud Mosque across the street (I bet you didn’t know there was a big Saudi-funded mosque in Culver City). The Muslim faithful come by after prayers and pick up a quick styro box of incredibly flavorful Pakistani cuisine at totally reasonable prices.

Seriously, check it out. It is up there with the FO burger as one of the tastiest meals in Culver City.

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It’s really easy to miss ZZM’s storefront. It’s between the mosque on one side and the newest apartment building on the block on the other.

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Takeout containers are stacked up to meet the grab and go demand.

The portions are huge, really two meals in a box. Mutton biryani is offered on Saturdays and is my favorite dish — beautifully fragrant and full of flavor without being overly salty. The biryani is packed with cardamon pods, potatoes, and bay leaves. On other days, the default is chicken biryani.

They also offer a brick-red chicken tikka. It’s bone-in thighs, with the flavor richly slathered on. I’m not sure it’s the best chicken tikka I’ve had, but it is really good and usually very moist.

The gigantic biryani or chicken tikka is $8. If you split it with someone, it’s a delicious meal for $4.

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The best deal is the combo plate: chicken tikka, beef kebab, chicken biryani, and your choice of two curries, here a lamb curry and spinach. You also get a piece of naan.

It is a ton of food and all of it is really good. The kebab is surprisingly flavorful and is my pick for secretly awesome dish here. You get a whole chicken leg, which I recommend eating first because the powerful flavors of the other dishes will make it feel a little weak. The two curries, which seem like a throw-in, are also actually pretty good. I might not order them on their own, but as a throw-in, they more than hold their own.

And then you also get almost a half portion of biryani. All of this for $9! Two of us will share this and I’ll have leftovers for lunch. Ridiculous.

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Here’s a shot of the combo plate with the naan. Don’t forget to ask for the spicy green sauce. I have no idea what it is, but it’s delicious and goes well on the biryani.

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Zam Zam Market
11028 Washington Blvd.,
Culver City;
(310) 841-2504.
Thurs.-Sun., noon-10 p.m.

LA Weekly’s 99 Essential Rastaurants
Midtown Lunch’s take
FoodGPS’s take

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