Tag Archives: pho

FUUD: Pig and the Lady in Chinatown

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Yes, it took me awhile.

But I finally made it to The Pig and the Lady‘s brick-and-mortar restaurant in Chinatown last week.

And it was even better than I had anticipated.

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This is outside the new location on North King Street, in the space once occupied by Lemongrass Cafe, the restaurant for the Pacific Gateway Center, a nonprofit group that provides assistance to immigrants, refugees and low-income residents. Though The Pig and the Lady has taken over the space, they’re still partnering with the Pacific Gateway Center and employing participants in their work training program.

The restaurant opened in November, luring its legion of loyal fans from the local farmers’ markets and pop-up shops for its popular banh mi and Vietnamese noodle soups.

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Inside the popular new restaurant, a nice addition to the vibrant dining scene in Chinatown. Love the decor, the communal tables, the red brick walls. Everything worked.

I’m thrilled owners Andrew Le and his mom, Loan Le, now have a permanent kitchen — and I don’t have to fight the Saturday crowds at Kapiolani Community College anymore for their farmer’s pho. (Insert Happy Dance here.)

The new restaurant, though, doesn’t just serve its farmers’ market staples. The menu — the Pig serves brunch, lunch and dinner — boasts new dishes and weekly specials. To me, that’s exciting.

So here’s what we ate on a recent visit to the Chinatown hot spot:

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Lunch is served from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday with a menu that comes with snacks like this bacon and ham hock rillette ($5), with kaya rusk, Parmesan cheese, citrus zest and watercress. I loved that the bread was crispy with a hint of cinnamon.

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One of my favorite items on the lunch menu was this hoi an chicken salad ($5 for a small portion, $10 for the larger size). Everything about this worked — the poached chicken, cabbage, Vietnamese cilantro, fried shallots, the hint of fish sauce, the toasted quinoa on top. I could eat this everyday.

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Here’s something new: the Pho French Dip Banh Mi ($11) with a brisket that’s roasted for 12 hours, Thai basil chimichurri, bean sprouts with a pho au jus.

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Here’s the pho ga ($12), a pho with poached chicken, a marinated soft egg, chicken crackling and a chicken fat vinaigrette, oh yeah. All of its pho dishes come with fresh noodles that are hand-cut daily. That hasn’t changed.

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This was one of the specials that day: Called “Mana Ai Moco,” this dish came with crispy kalo (taro), burnt brisket ends gravy, fried eggs from Petersons’ Upland Farms, pickled chili and garlic, and green onions. Talk about inventive.

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I’m a sucker for tsukemen (dipping noodle) dishes, so when I saw this on the menu, I didn’t hesitate to order it. Now I will say this, it can be a bit confusing if you don’t know how to eat tsukemen, which is most often seen with ramen. So I did this: I dumped the pho broth right into this bowl ($12), which came with that same 12-hour brisket, salt-cured egg yolk, fried shallots, roasted peanuts and garlic chives. Awesome. Might be my favorite pho yet.

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And you can’t forget about dessert. The restaurant serves a pie of the day ($5 per slice) — and we had two! One was a Vietnamese coffee cheesecake that had a nice balance of bitter and sweet; the other was a banana cream cheesecake that has actual slices of banana in it. Great day to end an awesome meal.

The Pig and the Lady, 83 N. King St. in Chinatown. Hours: Lunch, 10:30 to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; brunch, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; dinner, 5:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 5:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with late night from 10 p.m. to midnight. Phone: (808) 585-8255. Web: thepigandthelady.com

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I prefer breakfast at night

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As I was browsing through my regular read of blogs this morning, I came across my traveling pal Melissa Chang’s post on the best eateries that serve breakfast all day long.

Her list included the usual suspects — Liliha Bakery, Eggs ‘N Things, Anna Miller’s Restaurant — and some unexpected names — Giovanni Pastrami, Downbeat Diner & Lounge and Sikdorak.

I was keenly interested in this list mostly because I love breakfast — but I hate eating it in the morning.

I prefer savory meals in the morning, like bowls of chili or beef stew. I’d rather eat a chicken salad sandwich for breakfast than a plate of buttermilk pancakes.

And I have no idea why.

It’s not like I grew up eating savory breakfast dishes. Like most kids, I started my mornings with bowls of cereal or scrambled eggs, cinnamon toast or syrup-drenched waffles.

But as I’ve gotten older — and, to be honest, since I moved out on my own and had sole control over what I ate every morning — I’ve realized I prefer leftover pizza to Cap’n Crunch.

So thanks, Melissa, for this list! Looks like I know where to get my 8 p.m. breakfast fix!

Got any places to add?

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FUUD: Pho 27 on Waialae

Five years ago I wrote a story for the now defunct Honolulu Advertiser about Columbia Inn closing in Kaimuki.

Its closure was a shock to regular customers and employees, many of whom found out by reading a note taped to the door.

The space sat vacant for a long time, and I always wondered why a new restaurant didn’t move into that huge space in the Kaimuki Shopping Center.

Then I got conflicting reports about restaurants that had moved into the space. One was a drive-in serving unique plate lunches; the other was a traditional Vietnamese restaurant dishing out bowls of pho.

So which was it?

Only one way to find out!

Here’s what my recent dinner looked like:

Where am I?

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A group of ex-Advertiser reporters wanted to meet up for dinner. One of them suggested Fairwood Drive-Inn on Waialae, a new restaurant the opened in the space vacated by Columbia Inn.

Pho 27 Vietnamese Cuisine, 3221 Waialae Ave. in Kaimuki. Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Phone: (808) 738-0027.

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FUUD: Mama Pho in Aina Haina

FUUD: Mama Pho in Aina Haina

Finally.

We have pho.

A few of us living in East Honolulu have been waiting waiting waiting for Mama Pho to open in the Aina Haina Shopping Center. To the point where we’d pass by the shopping center just to see if the new eatery was open.

It’s our first Vietnamese restaurant (that I can remember) in our ‘hood — and we didn’t wait to try it.

I had been craving phở — pronounced “fah,” people! — mostly because I was sick and this traditional Vietnamese noodle soup dish is what I like to eat when I’m sniffing and sneezing.

But this eatery, right across from Encore! Espresso (which will be neighbors soon with a Dave’s Ice Cream), has more than just pho. Its menu features rice plates, grilled meats, cold noodles and desserts that aren’t served every day. (We know.)

Here’s what we ate this week:

Outside Mama Pho

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We have been waiting for this eatery to open in Aina Haina. The nearest restaurant serving pho in East Honolulu is Kaimuki — and on some weeknights, even that's too far to drive.

Mama Pho, Aina Haina Shopping Center, 820 West Hind Dr. Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Phone: (808) 373-8887

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Sick? Eat pho

Sick? Eat pho

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When I’m sick, I tend to skip meals, sometimes going an entire day on just a bowl of rice.

But for the past few days, I’ve been battling a cold. Sore throat, coughing, congestion and a headache. And I’ve been craving one thing: pho.

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup, usually served with raw beef or chicken and a plate of fresh basil, mint leaves, lime and bean sprouts.

It’s really the warm broth and easy-to-eat noodles that make this my go-to dish when I’m sick. (And one of my favorite bowls comes from Saigon Restaurant Vietnamese in Chinatown.)

What’s your go-to dish when you’re not feeling well?

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