Here Are Chef Shawn Pham’s Five Favorite Dishes in L.A.

The man behind Little Tokyo’s Simbal dishes on dishes

Chef Shawn Pham, who cooked at The Bazaar, Sona, and Craft before embarking on a four year journey to Vietnam, brought his institutional knowledge of Southeast Asian ingredients back to the states to open Simbal. Sitting just a few blocks from where Bryant Ng’s Spice Table used to be in Little Tokyo—and whether the comparison is fair or not—chef Pham has some big shoes to fill. Luckily, he seems to be doing just that, churning out inventive Vietnamese-leaning dishes with a deft touch. But when Pham isn’t busy caramel-braising shrimp, what’s he eating? Here are five of his favorite dishes from around L.A.

1 . Shanghai Pork Dumplings at Kang Kang Food Court
“Everyone loves xiaolongbao, but I prefer these panfried dumplings. I like the crunchy textural contrast.”

2 . Carne Asade Tacos at Tire Shop Taqueria
“There are handmade tortillas, marinated carne asada grilled over wood, and vibrant salsas.”

3 . Sullungtang at Sun Nong Dan
“This is Korean ox bone soup with brisket and various cuts of beef. It’s deeply satisfying.”

4 . Roasted Chicken with Aji Sauce at Pollo a la Brasa
“Every country in the world has a version of chicken in this style. Peru’s might be my favorite.”

5 . Tom Yum with Rice Noodles at Pa Ord Noodle
“A beautiful array of Thai flavors are captured in a single bowl: sweet, salty, and spicy.”