Somehow between running Pok Pok Phat Thai in Chinatown, building the new Pok Pok (coming soon, hopefully later this year), and overseeing restaurants on both coasts, chef Andy Ricker found time to play host to the Luckyrice festival, which returns to the Create Nightclub in Hollywood this week.
“I don’t feel like I’ve gotten very involved in the food scene on a social basis yet. I’ve been buried in building out Pok Pok, where I’m very hands on day to day,” says Ricker. “I do love the SGV and Koreatown, though, and I’m slowly exploring other neighborhoods when I have a few hours after work.”
Ricker is the latest to join the Luckyrice Culinary Council, which is comprised of chefs and tastemakers like Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Charles Phan, and Morimoto, who are redefining Asian cuisine today. At the event he’ll have a chance to visit with fellow chefs from Badmaash, Ayara Thai Cuisine, the newly opened Blue Ribbon, Hamasaku, Seoul Sausage Company, and Nguyen and Thi Tran—who resurrect their special Starry Kitchen crispy tofu balls for one night—among others. Drinks from Terrine, Butchers & Barbers, and Hinoki & the Bird are just a few lined up for the night.
If we asked festival founder Danielle Chang which city is her favorite—the event also takes place in New York, San Francisco, Miami and Chicago—she’d probably say New York but would whisper L.A. “Even though Luckyrice has a universal goal of spotlighting Asian culture through food and drink regardless of what city we’re in, Los Angeles is definitely one of the best places to explore Asian food today,” she says.
This year the event aims to show how “evolved” Asian food culture is here, so expect a blend of traditional dishes like Ayara Thai’s chicken khao soi, a curry dish from the northern region of Thailand, but also unexpected dishes that riff off of Asian street food culture, like Fluff Ice’s Chamango, a mango fluff with spicy popping boba. “There’s such a collision of cultures in L.A., and I feel like a lot of chefs and bartenders don’t follow rules and conventions. They’re breaking boundaries, culinary and otherwise,” says Chang.
Luckyrice loves L.A. so much that the group is bringing their popular and previously New York-only Ramen Slurpfest and Cocktail Feast to the West Coast this fall. The Slurpfest is like speed dating for noodle fans: Different bowls from various Japanese prefectures are featured and guests “speed slurp” through each one before moving on the the next station. It takes only 13 minutes to slurp a bowl of ramen in Japan, so that’s all you get here, Chang says. The Cocktail Feast turns chefs into bartenders to create drinks with Asian ingredients and lots of Bombay gin. Look for both in October.
Luckyrice takes place on Thursday, July 30, from 7-10pm. Tickets are $88 for general admission and $150 for VIP. Get them here.