Protein over starch is a combination as old as time. These L.A. chefs are harnessing bold flavors for a fresh twist.
1. Katsudon at RBTA
Lunchtime at this narrow izakaya means donburi, soulful Tokyo-style bowls that Justin Baey builds from Matsuri Super Premium rice and a sweet dashi stock. Try the one topped with a deep-fried pork cutlet and scrambled eggs with a nest of shredded nori and pickled red ginger. 5629 1/2 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park
2. Manager’s Meal at Baohaus
The namesake bao buns at Eddie Huang’s Far East Plaza shop get the most attention, but don’t sleep on the Manager’s Meal: a meaty medley (fried chicken, pork belly, and minced pork) over white rice along with spicy fermented cabbage. 727 N. Broadway, Ste. 130, Chinatown
3. North-South Bibimbap at Nabi
Wander through Union Swapmeet to find chef-author Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee’s Nabi, a lunch counter that riffs on the Korean rice bowl bibimbap. The North-South mixes white and brown rice with ginger chicken and spicy pork. 4632 Santa Monica Blvd., Ste. 16, East Hollywood
4. Impossible “Vigan” Longganisa Bowl from RiceBar
Though we adore the garlicky, papaya-slaw-topped longganisa sausage bowl at downtown’s tiny RiceBar, the vegan alternative Charles Olalia cooks up with plant-based “sausage meat” is so good it’ll make even ardent carnivores question their ways. 419 W. 7th St., downtown
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