Skip to Content
Los Angeles

Understanding Today’s Los Angeles: A Story of Three Immigrants by Sam Quinones

1:35 PM PST on December 7, 2015

    Los Angeles Magazine published a remarkable story over the weekend by Sam Quinones. If you haven't read it yet, you should. By tracing the paths of three immigrants to Los Angeles (one from Oaxaca, one from Korea, and one from Armenia), Sam tells the story of modern Los Angeles.

    Many of the most dynamic young people in the city today are the children and grandchildren of immigrants like the three profiled in the article. The struggles, sacrifices, and successes of this wave of immigration are personal, but they also affect all of us living in Los Angeles today. By delving into these personal histories, a theme emerges-- this town isn't easy, the challenges are enormous, but communities have the power to propel individuals, who in turn can help the community progress and stake its claim in the city.

    Here's an excerpt:

    By 1990, there were 24 Hamburger Hamlets. During that time, hundreds, probably thousands, of Zapotec peasant farmers from unpronounceable villages—Yohueche, Zoogocho—swept down the Sierra Juárez Mountains and into Los Angeles. “Many had rented out their lands back home to come here or taken out loans,” says Gonzalez.

    Back home, these men wouldn’t enter a kitchen, much less cook an egg. That was women’s work. But in Los Angeles, the traditional machismo of rural Mexico withered. Hamburger Hamlet was a Zapotec Ellis Island, receiving the immigrants and teaching them restaurant basics, their first words in English (“mustard,” “ketchup,” “relish”), and confidence that they could navigate this new world.

    Read the whole article here.

    Stay in touch

    Sign up for our free newsletter

    More from L.A. TACO

    Announcing the TACO MADNESS 2024 Winner: Our First Ever Three-Time-Champion From Highland Park

    Stay tuned for the new date of our TACO MADNESS festival, which was unfortunately postponed this last Saturday due to rain.

    April 15, 2024

    What To Eat This Weekend: Cannabis-Infused Boat Noodles, Thai Smashburgers, and “Grass & Ass”

    Plus, a pizza festival and a respected chef from Toluca, Mexico comes to Pasadena to consult for a restaurant menu, including enchiladas divorciadas, and more.

    April 12, 2024

    Facing ‘Immediate Layoffs,’ L.A. TACO Launches Membership Drive to Save Our Publication

    After Sunday, we do not have enough money to make another payroll. We need 5,000 members to become sustainable. Our deadline is April 26th to hit this goal.

    April 12, 2024

    This New Koreatown Onigiri Spot Is Unlike Any Other in Southern California

    Supamu, which started as a food truck and a series of pop-ups, brands itself as Southern California’s first Okinawa-style onigiri. What sets its onigiri apart from competitors? All the details are in the post, plus where to find it.

    April 10, 2024

    When ‘Tomorrow’ Never Comes: The Saga of a DTLA Bar Staff’s Struggle To Get Paid

    A barback recalled a time when he had to use a payday loan app to cover a dinner bill. “How can you, with a straight face, hand someone a check knowing that there isn’t money in the account,” the barback questioned.

    April 10, 2024
    See all posts