LA Kitchen Shared Plates (courtesy of hppzz and Grandma Ly)

Many thanks to @hppzz and his family and friends for hosting this wonderful lunch (and all for a good cause).

Original thread here: My Vietnamese Grandma would love to cook for you - Los Angeles - Food Talk Central

The food was really delicious. Light, fragrant, deftly seasoned, and beautifully balanced.

Sorry for the depth-of-field issues w/ the photos. I was too busy stuffing my face to rotate the dishes or reach across people for optimal photo-taking. And, yes, the dishes really WERE plated that prettily.

@hppzz, please free to correct/add info.


Smoked roasted veal:

Cha gio (SO light and delicate):

Pig ear and prawn salad:

Pho bo (sorry, not a great pic. The homemade meatballs were AMAZING):

Cake from Caroline Adobo (tres leches + vietnamese coffee):


Banana fritters + Thrifty’s ice cream (and, yes, the fritters were twice-fried):


@paranoidgarliclover thank you so much for coming and supporting such a great cause! With the raffle we raised over $2500 for The LA Kitchen.

We’re delighted you enjoyed the food! Our MO has always been to promote Vietnamese cuisine so I’m so glad to hear this feed back.

As promised, off menu item from our uncle, a veal rancher, in TX specializing in be thui. Thui literally means blackened–so the entire veal is roasted so it’s thui but perfectly cooked inside. Only the outer blackened skin is scrapped off then It’s butchered and sliced thin with some thin skin left on. It’s prepared as a cold meat salad so we dressed it with ginger fish sauce, rau ram, pickled onions and watermelon radish, and coarsely grounded toasted sesame. You can see the slivers of the smooth skin and meat with the subcutaneous fat completely rendered out–so you have tender veal meat with slightly chewy skin.

I think most are familiar with the vietnamese egg rolls in rice paper, which is our preference. It’s a more delicate crunch with slight chewiness. I think what people loved was that all the Viet herbs to wrap it in were litterally picked from the garden 5 ft behind where they were sitting :slight_smile: Sorrel, tia to, vietnamese mint, basit, etc.

The vietnamese goi (and it’s many variations) is often overlooked and underappreciated. Each component was prepared separately and the pickled pig ears days in advanced. we stuck to the classic lotus root salad, goi ngo sen but added our own twist. While a simple salad can be great, viet goi has a lot going on–pickled lotus roots, pickled carrots/daikon, slivers of salted celery, the viet herbs–rau ram, tia to, mint–the key is to blend all these flavors and textures together. typical goi has boiled prawns, sliced in half and boiled pork. we opted for the pickled pig ears because again, textures–chewy skin and crunchy cartilage. Same as the prawn-tender meat, crispy shell.

My grandmother–vended pho in the 50’s in saigon and she taught my mom (grandma Ly) how to make pho. We use her golden ratio 1lb beef : 1 quart of water. If Viet pho restaurants did that, don’t think they can afford to keep prices below $10–it would be in the ramen range $10-14 per bowl. Yes, the meatballs are her specialty. she hates all the extra fillers the mass market commercial ones you buy at the markets. Her’s are chewy, bouncy, beefy, just perfect. Sorry, we didn’t take great photo ourselves, lost in the sea of oxtail and shank.

We used thai bananas and yes, double battered and fried with touch turmeric for color.

The cake by #carolineadobocakes was amazing! she donated 3 of these. highly recommend her custom cakes for your future events. She takes custom orders and you can find her on IG @carolineadobo

A few scenary shots:

Sorry, no toto! :sweat_smile::rofl:


What a lovely event! Congratulations on raising funds for such worthy cause.


Okay. I think I’m ready for $18 bowls of pho now.

Oh, how funny! I was walking by a garden area, and I was like, “That looks a lot like the sorrel that was on the herb platter.” Hah.

Thanks for the description of food and – more importantly, IMHO, the “process” behind the dishes.

The meatballs were pretty f*cking amazing…


When is the next event???

Everything looks great!!!

Bo Vien/Beef Meatballs are calling for me…

haha what would be that QPR? haha seriously though, as home cooks we know how much work goes into those soups. And unless they are using the instant base broths like some ramen joints, I think pho should be priced at a same level esp if we demand a better quailty product with better ingredients.

You’re very welcome! So glad to hear that as It was a motivating factor in putting on this event aside from the charity aspect.

There’s a story and a process behind every dish and thats what makes food such a powerful tool in letting others outside your culture discover and learn about something you. To paraphrase theJGold, you’re learning about the person and culture with each bite. The more pple that understand and appreciate Vietnamese food on a deeper level, then we’re happy.


I was there, too. The food and setting were awesome! I actually had a Vietnamese grandmother, but she did not cook nearly as well as Grandma Ly! (Her strengths lay elsewhere.) I’m lame and have no pictures, but wanted to especially compliment the egg rolls and the pho broth. Exceptional! And I’ve had a lot of both in my life. The pho had a depth of flavor that practically sang of long, slow cooking of many beef bones. I said to my friend, “I don’t remember the last time I’ve had egg rolls fried this perfectly.” Not greasy, crisp, and light. So glad I went.


thank you! i’m sorry to not have officially met you! or maybe we did meet, but you didn’t reveal your FTC screen name. Either way, will definitely pass the compliments along.

Yes, we started the pho at 4 in the afternoon on saturday and kept it going all the way to time of service. Most home cooks are afraid to keep it going so long. we also add in the shank and oxtail only after we seasoned the broth, so that it’s cooking in a properly seasoned broth and imbues that flavor at the same time. There’s definitely a method then just simply long so cook.

The egg rolls were also actually doubled fried as well. It’s her not so secret way to make them crispy and surprisingly light!


Double fry - are they basically using the French fry technique, ie prefry at 325 and refry at 375 or w/e?

I would really like to try this $20 bowl of pho now. We can coordinate a “Corgis love pho too!” collaboration :wink:

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Ohmigod, stop giving them ideas! :wink:

Exactly. As is with Korean fried chicken as well.

Lol, it’s up to $20 now?

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Uber deal compared to APL union. :rofl:


The FTC comedy team is on tonight!


Yeah man. Tell your grandma to get on that - she can be the first $22 bowl of pho in LA.

Japanese people can get away with charging a dollar for extra green onions. Silly vietnamese people give that stuff away for FREE.


I think they charge 1.50 at tsujita😤

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I need dat cake now. My current coffee (Dr Congo Kawa Kabuya from MT) is criminally unaccompanied by cake