In the mood for fancy Vietnamese? Well, I’ve got the place for you. Filing my sixth Scouting Report, “Elegant Vietnamese dining in West Hollywood at the District by Hannah An” on the Los Angeles Times‘ Daily Dish.
Lucky Peach recently launched an online edition, and I’ve been following along as the merry band of writers explores essential topics in food, like dumplings, pizza, and obsession. It’s good reading, all of it.
A charming piece by Chef David Chang (See: Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Momofuku Milk Bar) led me to Alhambra’s Kang Kang Food Court. An expertly curated one stop shop for China’s greatest culinary hits? Yes, please.
While neighboring Chinese restaurants specialize in region-specific cooking, the thrill of Kang Kang lies in the diversity of its offerings. In addition to breakfast staples like soy milk and deep-fried crullers, the expansive menu includes “Taiwanese Food,” “Food in Northern China,” “Food in Eastern China,” and “Food in Southern China, Hong Kong & Asia.”
Per Mr. Chang’s recommendations, my lunch date and I stuck to Taiwanese and Shanghainese dishes on this visit.
After placing our orders at the front counter, we grabbed a seat in the large dining room. Soon enough, food began to hit the table…
Our final meal in Honolulu turned out to be my favorite of the entire trip. From start to finish, The Pig & the Lady impressed us with its fun, fearless, and thoroughly delectable Southeast Asian-inspired fare.
Chef Andrew Le and his mother, Loan “Mama Le” Le, initially launched The Pig & The Lady as a pop-up restaurant and farmers market stand before finding a permanent home in Honolulu’s Chinatown. While Chef Le trained at the Culinary Institute of America, Mama Le is strictly self-taught. When the two collaborate in the kitchen, pure deliciousness happens.
The restaurant’s porcine theme is echoed throughout the space, from the napkin holders to the menu. The wet snouts and curly tails set a playful tone all around.
For traditional Hawaiian fare prepared with homey flair, The Astronomer, Luscious, and I lunched at Honolulu institution Helena’s Hawaiian Food.
Opened in 1946 by Helen Chock, this unassuming spot was the recipient of the James Beard Foundation’s Regional Classic Award back in 2000 for its “quality food, local character, and lasting appeal.” It was easily one of my favorite meals from the trip.
Helen’s grandson Craig Katsuyoshi currently runs the restaurant, and judging from the weekday crowds, he’s doing a tremendous job. The wait for a table was fierce at this nearly-70-year-old spot.
The menu here is really quite something, offering a delicious crash course in Hawaiian food history. Upon perusing the bill of fare, we three decided to order one of everything (almost), using Jonathan Gold and Roy Choi‘s spread as our guide.