By Kristie Hang
May 31, 2022
Five places to eat to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month and beyond.
Food is the lifeblood of many Asian cultures, so what better way to celebrate the end of AAPI Heritage Month?
Los Angeles is one of the food capitals of the world. In such a fast-paced, multicultural city, there always seems to be a plethora of restaurants to try. California is home to almost a third of the entire Asian population of the United States, which means there are a ton of different and delicious AAPI cuisines to try.
With May designated Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we thought it was the perfect time to highlight five delicious Asian and AAPI restaurants in the City of Angels that you can support. for your next meal!
1. Vietnamese cuisine from Sáu Can Tho
Baked Vietnamese catfish from Sáu Can Tho. (Photo credit): Sophia J. Chang
Sáu Can Tho’s signature dish is baked catfish. They marinate a whole catfish in honey, turmeric, oranges, caramelized onions, garlic, and topped with crushed peanuts, fresh cilantro, and green onion oil. The result is crispy skin on the outside with tender, boneless meat deliciously served with rice paper, lettuce, herbs, pickled carrots, daikon, cucumber, vermicelli and a secret sweet tamarind sauce and tangy which is a secret. family recipe. Catfish sizes are small, medium and large, so be sure to order ahead depending on the size of your party.
Chef Sáu put Vietnamese baked catfish on the map in 1993. Since then, his family has opened Sáu Can Tho in the San Gabriel Valley to carry on the tradition with their family recipes. Besides the must-have catfish, Sáu Can Tho also offers traditional Vietnamese dishes as well as a more unique section of the menu – exotic meats! Feeling adventurous? Try Crispy Garlic Quail, Crispy Frog Legs or Goat Ribs. Of course, milder options like shaken beef, spring rolls, Vietnamese omelet, and broken rice are also on the menu. This mom-and-capop boutique will make you feel at home and welcome you as soon as you walk through the door.
A Kato dish. (Photo credit): Jeni Afuso
If you haven’t yet visited Kato at its previous location in West LA, you should definitely make it a point to visit its new location at ROW DTLA. The Michelin-starred restaurant, helmed by chef Jon Yao, is one of the most exciting dining experiences around.
The tasting/omakase menu takes about 2.5 hours from start to finish. Each dish is inspired by a combination of Taiwanese, Japanese and Korean culinary culture. Menu items change frequently and ingredients are sourced from near and far to create the perfect dish. An example of past dishes are caviar and geoduck; charcoal-grilled wagyu A5 sirloin with potatoes, black garlic and braised tendon; and plain donut from Santa Barbara with Iberian ham and brown butter.
The current tasting menu is $225 per person, which is pricey but well worth it for a fine dining experience. Reservations are available through Resy and book quickly once new dates are released.
3. Wagyu House by The X Pot
A range of hot pot options from X Pot.
The X Pot is a collaboration between well-known hot pot restaurant groups, Xiang Tian Xia and Chubby Cattle, and offers a fine dining experience and a show. The popular new addition to the Rowland Heights area features premium ingredients such as purebred A5 Wagyu beef flown in daily from Japan and fresh imported seafood. X Pot not only specializes in Wagyu beef, but also has its own ranch from which it sources its supplies. A Wagyu cow is shipped to this restaurant every day for the freshest cuts of beef possible. The restaurant also has its own ranch from which it sources its meat.
But as any fondue lover knows, meats alone don’t make fondue. The soup base is just as important, and X Pot offers some very unique and flavorful soup bases. For example, if you order the coconut chicken base, they add coconut water to the pot. A few fan favorites are the House Special Wagyu Special Dripping Pot and Wagyu Tomato Oxtail Soup. You can even add spices in the shape of a teddy bear to your hot pot. Additionally, X Pot serves non-hot dishes such as A5 Wagyu sashimi served on a bed of dry ice, beautifully plated with crispy Wagyu meatballs. There’s also Wagyu beef brisket, fresh-cut rib eye, short rib, and even Wagyu fried rice among a long list of other additions.
There is also a traditional Peking Opera show where diners can enjoy a mask-changing show. X Pot even has a machine where diners can spray themselves with citrus after the meal, so hot pot smells don’t linger on them.
Although X Pot is top of the line, they offer a hot pot subscription which costs $38 for one year. Membership gives discounts on food and hot pot soup bases.
4. Spicy BBQ Restaurant
Barbecued pork from the Spicy BBQ restaurant.
Sometimes the most modest family restaurants offer the tastiest food. Spicy BBQ Restaurant is one of those must-visit restaurants in Thai Town, specializing in Northern Thai cuisine. They are located in an unassuming mall with only a few tables inside and cash only. Although they have a handful of typical Thai dishes that you would see in any Thai restaurant, this is the perfect place to explore lesser known dishes.
The most famous dish is the barbecue pork, which has a lovely charcoal flavor and comes with a smoky, spicy lemongrass sauce. It is perfectly charred while remaining tender and juicy. Other must-try dishes include Spicy Green Chilli Dip, Northern Thai Pork Curry, Northern Thai Sausage, Papaya Salad, Jackfruit Salad, and Tom Kha Soup, among others.
5. Roots Indian Bistro
Barbecued pork from the Spicy BBQ restaurant.
Roots Indian Bistro is a family restaurant located on Melrose Avenue, specializing in North Indian cuisine. The seating arrangement is part of the fun. At the entrance, you can sit on a pillow, which makes you feel like you are sharing a meal at home with your family.
Order unique dishes like paneer masala fries and chicken wings glazed in butter chicken sauce, or opt for more traditional dishes like tikka masala or butter chicken. There are also a number of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu. Eastside Nachos are fresh “Indian-style” nachos that resemble papdi chaat, which is a popular deep-fried street food in northern India. Don’t forget to order mango lassi and gulab jamun, aka rose fritters topped with coconut flakes.
Hang & Eat with our food blogger Kristie Hang as she tries out the latest East-West food trends. The eastern West Bank serves as a cultural and financial bridge between the United States and China.