This week, it was announced that The Pig and the Lady, located in Honoluluʻs Chinatown, was nominated as one of America’s 50 Best New Restaurants 2014 by Bon Apetit. A longtime favorite of Hawaii residents and visitors alike, the restaurant got its start several years ago as a pop-up restaurant and farmers market staple (they still have booths at Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation farmers markets around O’ahu today), and quickly garnered a fanatical following. In November 2013, they opened brick-and-mortar location, and as demonstrated by the Bon Apetit nomination, the fanatical following has just continued to grow.
But their story is much more than just a couple years of tasty menus and success. ““My family definitely has an interesting story to tell,” says Andrew Le, founder and head chef of The Pig and the Lady. “For our family, food has always been a big part of who we are. It’s helped to define our identity. My mom is an amazing cook, and she’s one of the primary reasons that I was so attracted to food and why I became a chef.” His parents, who fled from South Vietnam in the ’70s, ended up in Hawaii because Le’s mom went into labor with his oldest brother while they were en route to their planned destination, Arkansas. While the siblings (which soon became four) adjusted to American life quickly enough, they kept in touch with their heritage through the food their mother cooked each night.
Bon Appétit recommends trying The Pig and the Lady’s Loatian fried chicken with pickled chiles and peanuts, any of the noodles dishes, and the whole roasted brisket. Our tip? You just can’t go wrong; if you want something divine, try the head-cheese katsu.
Find The Pig and the Lady at 83 N. King St., Honolulu. To make reservations, learn more, or place a takeout order, call (808) 585-8255 or visit thepigandthelady.com.