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.
To get our feast started, we sipped a coconut horchata ($4) and a seasonal shrub ($4).
First up on the appetizer front was the Laotian Fried Chicken ($9). Served hot, crispy, and sweetly glazed, the wings were accompanied by pickled chilies, peanuts, fried shallots, and a delicate chiffonade of kaffir lime leaves. This one was finger lickin’ awesome.
Our second starter was the Coffee Can Bread ($8.50). Chicken liver mousse always hits the spot, but add to it pickled grapes, pink peppercorns, candied almonds, and chrysanthemum leaves, and you’ve got an unstoppable combination of flavors and textures.
Moving on to the mains, we shared the Pho Tsukemen ($13). Inspired by Japanese “dipping” ramen, this deconstructed pho presented the noodles, broth, and toppings separately.
Of all the accoutrements, including slices of “12-hour” brisket, cured egg yolk, fried shallots, roasted peanuts, and garlic chives, I loved the salty yolk dust most. While it wasn’t the most traditional garnish, it was damn delicious.
Perpetually on a noodle kick, we also ordered the house-made chitara pasta ($18) with braised chicken, chicken cracklins, ikura (salmon eggs), green apples, and chicken jus. The unexpected collection of ingredients came together delightfully, making this dish one to remember.
To balance out the oodles of noodles, we shared a big hunk of Shinsato Farm Pork Porchetta ($25) served with sunflower chermoula, chickpeas, smoked paprika, charred kale, and harissa pork jus. That crispy skin though…
On the side was a loaf of Chicken Fat Bread ($3)…
…and Chicken Fat Rice ($3). Both were as schmaltz-y and satisfying as hoped.
For dessert, a slice of Caramelized Avocado Cake ($9) served with local bee pollen, strawberries, pea shoots, and corn gelato…
…as well as Berries and Cream ($9), a smashing mash up of blueberries, raspberries, biscuit crumbles, goat cheese snow, Thai basil, and cream cheese gelato.
I’ll be returning to Honolulu this May for work duties, and you bet your boots I’ll be back for an encore performance at The Pig & The Lady. These grindz had me feelin’ damn fine.
The Pig and the Lady
83 North King Street
Honolulu, HI 96817
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