It’s not often that you sit down to eat a poisonous creature. The pufferfish—a.k.a. fugu or 河豚 in Japanese—is one of the deadliest fish out there, thanks to a naturally occurring neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin that it carries. With its toxic bits removed, however, fugu is a delicacy in Japan. Rumors abound that some aficionados keep a little poison intact because it makes the eater’s lips tingle when they consume it. Humans, man. I was at CHAYA in Downtown Los Angeles to eat completely poison-free fugu omakase dinner by executive chef Joji Inoue, a Tokyo native. CHAYA recently joined four restaurants in New York as the first West Coast member of the fledgling Fugu Society of the United States. “In order[…]

We don’t need to bore you with a lot of fluff about why coconut milk is great for your health, fucking delicious, a staple in Southeast Asian cuisine, and all the rage with hippie types who avoid anything that has spurted forth from a cow’s teat. Re: the fucking delicious part, though—that stuff you get in boxes in the supermarket is not so great. Often packed with stabilizers, flavorings, and even added sugar, it barely resembles the creamy, nutrient-packed stuff that any jerk with a cleaver and a coconut can easily make at home. We met up with chef Louis Tikaram at his West Hollywood spot E.P & L.P. to show us how to be that jerk, and he was[…]

There are certain desserts that some pastry chefs fall back on at a typical modern Asian restaurant. We all know them: the lychee sorbets, tropical fruit tarts, and matcha cheesecakes of the world. If I never see another chocolate spring roll it will still be far too soon. There are usually two pitfalls for such dessert menus. If you’re lucky, you might find a few watered-down versions of more traditional desserts, the chef likely hoping to temper some of the flavor profiles some diners may be unfamiliar with, like mung bean, anko (red bean paste), ube (purple yams), and the like. Otherwise you’re likely to see desserts that incorporate Asian flavors pushed through the sieve of French technique, a formula[…]

In the midst of a bajillion Korean barbecue restaurants in LA, blood sausage is sometimes the forgotten stepchild out here. But one local restaurant has been diligently giving soondae its bloody due for the past 25 years—and they seriously know how to do it right. Eighth Street Soondae sits in a tiny strip mall just on the outskirts of Koreatown, next to a barbershop and an incognito marijuana dispensary. Look for the number “8” on the all-Korean sign and you’ll know you’re at the right place. Once you step inside the stark white and bare-bones restaurant, you’ll find that most of the friendly staff here only speaks Korean, except for the owner’s son, 36-year-old Michael Kang. Fear not, though, as[…]

While the cast of La La Land may have been disappointed after last night’s 89th Academy Awards, at least they had an incredible meal to lift them up afterwards. That was thanks to LA chef icon Wolfgang Puck and his orchestration of the Governors Ball, the official afterparty for the Oscars. Putting together food for a 1,600-person dinner party (not to mention staff meal for 2,000 employees) is no small effort, but Puck has been doing it for more than two decades. Would it be a night about movies without popcorn? All photos by the author. “It’s really not that difficult if you know what to do, and we have so many good chefs it makes it easy for me.[…]