On the Scene: Thoughts from the L.A. Food & Wine Asian Night Market

Restaurant stars talk L.A. Asian cuisine

Making the rounds at last Friday’s Asian street food extravaganza, L.A. Food & Wine’s Asian Night Market hosted by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, there was no indication of a solid food trend in any particular direction, although both chefs Jet Tila and Barbara Batiste both plated up tacos. Tila offered a pork belly taco while Batiste served a chicken adobo version. The host himself, chef Morimoto, handed out spicy chicken dumplings between posing for pictures with his legion of fans.

One thing was clear, however, love for Asian food in Los Angeles was abuzz among the star chefs and the crowd. So, I asked some chefs and restaurateurs at the event to complete a sentence: “The Asian food scene in LA is…” Here are their enthusiastic responses.

Jet Tila (Pakpao Thai): “The Asian food scene in LA is the best in the nation.”

Barbara Batiste (B Sweet): “The Asian food scene in LA is something that you’ll never forget.”

Masaharu Morimoto (Morimoto): “The Asian food scene in LA is the most popular in this city.”

Nguyen Tran (Starry Kitchen):  “The Asian food scene in LA is [expletive] fantastic to tell you the truth, mother[expletive]s!”

Michael Hung (Faith & Flower): “The Asian food scene in LA is spectacularly diverse with depth and knowledge. I don’t like the word ‘authentic,’ so true to home.”

James Ta (Fickle): “The Asian food scene in LA is going through a re-birth of true craftsmanship. For a while, it was stagnant with mediocre food and chefs. Now we see an insurgence of great young and old chefs with pride in not only their craft but their regions of cuisine.”

Certainly, the diversity, regional representations, broad range of culinary interpretation, and ever-growing popularity make the Asian food scene in LA one of the most exciting in the country, if not the world. With instant hit restaurants such as the new Szechuan Impression and efforts by countries like Malaysia to raise the profile of its cuisine in Los Angeles, the future of Asian cuisine in our city promises to be even more delicious.