Harmony Albarran
Asst. Features Editor

From burgers to rice bowls, Belly Bombz offers enough dynamite flavor profiles to blow your mind. The establishment gained fame-on-wheels as a food truck, often showcasing its Korean-inspired recipes for famous food vloggers and influential media outlets like the Food Network’s Chopped and Steve Harvey’s Food Truck Battle

A visit to the Belly Bombz website inspires drool-induced awe as prospective patrons feast their eyes on a toasted display of crispy wings, thick burgers, and lavishly decorated fries. In bold across the image are the restaurants latest claims to fame, featuring three consecutive wins in 2016, 2017, and 2018 for “Best Wing Restaurant” earned at the Santa Anita Craft Beer and Wing Festival, as well as an award for “Best Burger Restaurant” earned in 2019 at the Burger & Brewfest in Santa Anita Park.

Belly Bombz threw its journey in four-wheel drive in September 2012 when Albert Shim rolled up the food tent that used to serve from Farmer’s Market stalls in Long Beach California and hit the road. “When I look back at myself, I can’t help but laugh at how ambitious and excited I was to be there. I almost never made any profit, but we got a lot of good feedback from the locals. One day, one of our customers told me to look into food trucks. After researching that industry and realizing that no one had anything similar to what we were doing, I took out a small loan and invested in a food truck,” said Shim to VoyageLA. As time went on, Belly Bombz continued to gather a large following and, since 2017, Whittier residents could dine inside the second Belly Bombz restaurant located off Comstock Avenue.

Sandwiched between a used bookstore presenting plywood windows and another nondescript establishment of fading beige paint, past the street corner that few pedestrians acknowledge, Belly Bombz exists as one of Uptown’s best kept secrets.

The atmosphere of the restaurant feels a little too good to be true. The dark color combinations of black and red paired with the presence of metal chairs produces a dine-in effect best representative of L.A. It’s chic and cool but retains enough of its food truck integrity that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. All in all, it’s fun but also quiet—too quiet for what it brings to the table. Despite its presence within a half-mile radius of a college campus, it feels as if one must discover Belly Bombz by accident.

And after a few wrong turns, the thrill of stumbling upon the way the establishment’s sleek black exterior contrasts against its lackluster background can’t beat the one that follows an order of Bomb Dust Fries, a must-have item covered in an assortment of seven different spices that produces a smokey taste. Followed by an order of Firecracker Wings and maybe a cautious glance at the spice rank “Death.” Belly Bombz has a spice ranking which includes (in the order of increased intensity): Soy Garlic, Mom’s Recipe, Spicy Garlic Parmesan, Lemon Pepper, Bomb Dust, Firecracker, Mango Habanero, Honey Chipotle BBQ, Sriracha Lime, Nashville Hot, Zombie, and Death (Zombie x3). “We have flavors like our spicy garlic parmesan, and honey chipotle barbecue, which actually pair surprisingly well with the Korean style process to our wings. We also have these simple yet amazing pork belly sliders that are braised and seared crispy served with a tangy scallion slaw. This is the core menu that our trucks started off with, and what we’ve built everything else on top of,” said Shim to VoyageLA.

The expansive menu is enough to satisfy adventurous palettes while leaving patrons craving more experiences with the varying textures of a Belly Bombz rice bowl and the infamous spice of the Firecracker sauce. The restaurant is more famously known for its fried chicken wings but ensures that there’s enough for people of all walks of life to enjoy with the provision of fried tofu substitutions. The Whittier location has extended its service hours, welcoming all to eat between 11:30 am to 10 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. On Fridays and Saturdays, the location stays open until 11 pm allowing for many to kickstart the weekend excitement with a tray of Belly Bombz delicacies.

Featured Image Courtesy of Kat Estrada/Quaker Campus

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