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The Devil’s Shrimp ~ This Lynwood Spot Has Some of the Best Camarones a La Diabla in L.A.

1:34 PM PST on January 20, 2019

    Photo by Cesar Hernandez.

    [dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap]fter all the tears, after the inflammation around my mouth goes down, and after I stop breathing fire, I recognize the clever design of camarones a la diabla. I am inside La Hacienda, an unassuming Nayarit-style mariscos restaurant on the ends of Lynwood. It is the type establishment that has a strong sense of identity and does not try to chase a trend. You won’t see a tower of ceviche or insane micheladas, they stick to what they know. The background noise to my suffering is a TV that’s always showing a novela or Spanish talk show.

    I’m looking for good camarones a la diabla – the devil’s shrimp that’s made by sautéing whole boiled shrimp in a sauce often made of habanero, guajillo, and chile de arbol.

    The a la diabla dish at La Hacienda is slightly different from the darker crimson versions I’ve seen around L.A. It is a slightly red-orange sauce. As deceptive as the sauce might seem, it brings an unrelenting heat that will break down your sinuses. If your mocos aren’t running by the end of it, then you’ve been cheated.

    When I order the the camarones, they ask if I want it media (half spicy), probably because they assumed I was heat-adverse or (more realistically), as a warning. After the first bite into the shrimp in the devil’s sauce,  I could see why.

    RELATED: The Best Hangover Food in L.A.

    Photo by Cesar Hernandez.
    Photo by Cesar Hernandez.

    [dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he sauce never really emulsifies and has a sweet starchy consistency that makes it pair perfectly with limon, which never seems like enough. The main component of the sauce, aside from the chiles, is butter and garlic. Little irregular bits of garlic can be found floating or drowned in the sauce.

    The chips at La Hacienda are always fresh and taste of clean oil. They provide an aguachile sauce – a Nayarit trademark – to accompany the chips. Little bits of floating serrano peppers decorate the cup or bowl of the lime-heavy green sauce. If you’re brave enough you can dip the chip in the aguachile sauce and add a diabla shrimp to make a mini fiery toasta.

    The heat, while powerful, eventually subsides, and as you go in for more, this dish might be a trip of self-discovery. How much a la diabla can one person take?

    La Hacienda
    5009 Abbott Rd, Lynwood, CA 90262

    RELATED: Enchílate: A Mexican Fusion Pop-Up Run by Two Lynwood Moms, Hard-Workers, and Chefs

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