Contributions by Elise Thompson.
The theme at last week’s LUCKYRICE: Breaking Bao at the gorgeous Vibiana Cathedral was Family Dinners, and they encouraged the chefs to serve their favorite family dishes.
Chef Vanda Asapahu of Ayura Thai told The LA Beat that their recipes are pretty much all heritage recipes, but Khao Pa-Lo, the comforting stew made of tofu, pork belly and quail eggs, was the one thing she always asked her grandmother to make whenever she came home from college.
Chef Jonathan Yao of Kato served a Smoked Duck and Leek Salad. The smoky taste was mildly spicy, which Yao said was not typical of the dish at the restaurant—and a dish his mother made at home—but was spiced special for the event.
“The dish is like a family recipe, but we tweaked it a little,” said Yao. “We usually don’t make it spicy at home. My mom usually buys the duck, because they are dried out and super smoky. We smoke it ourselves, and then we do a vinaigrette Sichuan chili oil that we make in-house. It’s basically my mom’s dish, but we make every component of it.”
Luckyrice Creative Director and Author Christine Wong shared her “Peking-bello Wraps,” a recipe from her forthcoming book “The Plentiful Plate.” Using Melissa’s Produce, the wraps were a fresh combination of Portabello mushrooms marinated in a homemade Hoisen sauce, served with carrots, watermelon radish, and scallions.
Chef Jenee Kim Beef Bulgogi and Shrimp, each on a savory Kimchi Pancake, were served taco style, a dish served at Park’s BBQ. The tender beef, slightly spicy shrimp, and smooth, well-seasoned pancakes made for easy eating.
“The Summer Beef Tartare with a Garlic Krupuk is often served in traditional meals, said Chef Erwin Tjahyadi of Bonekettle, whose citrusy and buttery mix of flavors combined beautifully in the fresh and rarest of beef.
The best dishes start with using ingredients found already handy in the pantry and cooler, ready to cook. The traditional Japanese dish, Ochazuke uniquely adds tea as a broth.
“Every Japanese family has this sort of Japanese Ochazuke for their family. It’s whatever you have in the fridge,” said Tomoko Imade Dyen of Mama Musubi. “I’m making one with smoked salmon and another with eggplant.”
Kim, who opened Park’s BBQ 15 years ago, says that such passed down recipes, like the bulgogi, are also at her fast-casual restaurant, Oleego by Park’s BBQ at 7th and Fig, where beef and chicken Bulgogi feature in various dishes.
“Kimchi is a Korean traditional food,” said Kim, showing a table lined with vegetables and ingredients featured in her Kimchi. “The pancake is a Kimchi flavor—it is a special homemade Kimchi—and the recipes come down from my parents and my grandparents. Kimchi is a family recipe and the Bulgogi is a family recipe.”
Chef Nguyen Tran of Button Mash and host of Food Network’s Big Bargain Eats, presented his Bánh Bèo, a savory dish of steamed Vietnamese Rice Crepes, and a recipe he also features in his book “Adventures in Starry Kitchen: 88 Asian-Inspired Recipes from America’s Most Famous Underground Restaurant.”
Donning the signature banana suit he often wears at food events like this one—rain, shine, or swelter—, in his typical staccato style, the impassioned Tran laid out the ingredients that top the velvet smooth rice crepes of his family dish.
“This is Bahn Beo, a steamed Vietnamese rice crepe which has ground pork, ground shrimp, mint, fried onion, fried shallot, fish sauce and scallion oil,” said Tran. “On top of all that—it’s just delicious. A total beer food! You know, when I grew up with this, my family would make a ton of this and drink a lot of beer!”