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  • Narrator: Los Angeles is home

  • to the largest Armenian community in the U.S.

  • So, it's no surprise you can find some

  • of the most delicious Armenian food here.

  • This family-run restaurant

  • has been making manti together for 16 years.

  • Baking thousands of

  • the meat-filled dumplings a day.

  • And they hope to pass the tradition down

  • to the next generation.

  • You can find manta or manti on the menu

  • at various Middle Eastern restaurants.

  • Sarkes Egiazaryan: This is the Armenian version.

  • This is what I've grown up eating.

  • This is how we've made it my entire life,

  • but the dish itself it's so ancient.

  • It's so traditional

  • that I always say it's a Middle Eastern European dish,

  • because you'll have

  • a different version in Greece,

  • a different version in Lebanon,

  • a different version in Turkey,

  • a different version in Armenia,

  • same dish, different variations.

  • We used to do together 2,800.

  • That was just when we started together.

  • So now I can only, I can't...

  • Evelina Egiazaryan: Don't count anymore.

  • (laughing)

  • Sarkes: At this point it's just above

  • the 10,000 daily, easily.

  • Yeah.

  • We use a ground beef and it's just marinated

  • with a simple blend of herbs and spices.

  • In each square you put a little pinch of beef

  • that gets folded,

  • as you can see my mother doing here.

  • She's a pro at everything, at all steps.

  • So, I do what she doesn't want to do

  • in that time.

  • And with today it's putting in the meat

  • so she can fold.

  • And other days it'll be folding

  • so she can put the meat in,

  • whichever one she prefers.

  • When we first started

  • it was her and I side-by-side,

  • working for like six hours a day, making manta,

  • and then working another eight hours

  • running the shop.

  • And that's where I learned.

  • I used to be so slow in this

  • And now I race my mom.

  • Narrator: Each Manta is tightly packed

  • into a tray,

  • frozen to keep fresh

  • and oven-baked when ordered.

  • Sarkes: So, now that they come out of the oven,

  • they'll be topped off in your choice of

  • tomato, tomato, hot and spicy.

  • Go ahead and hit it with a little bit of blend

  • of herbs and spices.

  • And last but not least,

  • give it a nice dazzle of the garlic cream

  • and our signature Manta M.

  • Bam.

  • Best part about the food is it's preference.

  • So you can have them soft,

  • you can have them crispy.

  • These ones, the edges are nice and crispy.

  • It's been drizzled with the sauce.

  • You got a nice crunch on the edges

  • but the inside is nice and soft where the beef is.

  • And then as soon as you bite into that shell,

  • you get the explosion of beef flavor

  • Evelina: The mint and sumac

  • and red pepper gives big flavor on top of it.

  • It's special.

  • I don't know.

  • It's good.

  • You will try.

  • And you will see how good it is. (laughing)

  • Sarkes: So you're not missing out

  • (Both) Hey!

  • Sarkes: Peekaboo!

  • And here's our future generation

  • that we were speaking of

  • that we definitely want them to learn

  • and know what this tradition is.

  • And here's number two, see?

  • And this is my sister right here.

  • Francine: It's really important for me, for the

  • kids to learn these traditions

  • growing up in diaspora America, Los Angeles,

  • they're gonna learn the culture of LA

  • but I want them to learn traditions and family.

  • And you know what

  • their grandmothers and ancestors cooked

  • Its important to keep our culture-

  • - Hello

  • (laughing)

  • Narrator: Evelina and her husband Grant left Armenia

  • in the early '90s and started

  • the family business in downtown LA

  • only to have their doors

  • close a few months later.

  • Then 16 years ago, the family decided to continue

  • with the monta dream and open a small

  • 200-square-foot shop in Pasadena where Grant

  • and Sarkes usually work

  • and later expanded to Glendale.

  • Sarkes: My great-grandparents were from Erzincan,

  • Kars, Adana, Sis, and Van.

  • My grandparents after the events of 1915

  • migrated outside of Armenia

  • and they went to Lebanon, France, and Romania.

  • And then when it all came back together

  • all those collective styles of cooking

  • and those flavors

  • and all those traditions came together.

  • As our family's recipes.

  • Evelina: When I was growing up,

  • I had two grandma,

  • one grandma was making open ones.

  • The other one closed ones.

  • I saw that. Maybe they were in

  • different regions.

  • But beside my two grandmas,

  • I had my maternal grandfather's cousin

  • from whom I learned how to open the dough

  • and how to make all the food.

  • How to make the syrups, how to make the fillings.

  • And we call her Beebee.

  • My father made this in Armenia

  • from a walnut tree.

  • And my mom is keeping the spice

  • the mint and sumac and red pepper in there.

  • This piece we have it.

  • So we are keeping like a treasure.

  • These are treasure for me.

  • Narrator: Evelina's grandchildren are often at the shop

  • with their family,

  • learning how to make the dish themselves.

  • It's like a treasure for them.

  • It's memory

  • I know now they change a lot.

  • They don't pay attention

  • to the memories, but for me, it's important.

  • I don't know.

  • (laughs)

Narrator: Los Angeles is home

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How 10,000 Meat-Filled Monti Are Handmade In LA | Fam To Table

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/31
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