Asian women are the spine of LA’s food scene

By Evan Kleiman

Minh Phan’s restaurant porridge + puffs offers artistic sweet or savory bowls of grains, puffs and proteins. Her other restaurant, PHENAKITE, seeks to redefine fine dining. Photo by Hazelnut Photography.

Let’s acknowledge the work done by the Asian women in LA’s food industry, support their businesses, and show them compassion and kindness at a time that is tremendously difficult. Ai Honda Kennedy’s tagline is “trying to do too much.” I’d say that pretty much sums up this entire group of impressive women. This isn’t THE list. It’s simply A list. I’m sure there are as many that I left out as I managed to list here.

Glue: Women who create or hold communities together

Chancee Martorell - Thai Community Development Center
Natasha Phan - Roy Choi’s partner in many endeavors
Alexandra Suh - Executive Director of Koreatown Immigrant Workers Advocates
Lien Ta of All Day Baby - helped create Regarding Her Food 
Christine Tran - Executive Director of Los Angeles Food Policy Council
Diep Tran - Chef at Red Boat Fish Sauce

Restaurateurs/owners/general managers/operations

Cathy and Vanda Asapahu - Ayara Thai
Barb Baptiste - B SweetBig Boi
Ria Dolly Barbosa - Petite Peso
Steff Baros - Lasita 
Caroline Cho - Dan Sung Sa
Shirley Chung - Ms Chi
Crystal Coser - Bites and Bashes
Lynda Trang Dai - Lynda Sandwich 
Diane Dang - Brodard
“Nancy” Amphai Dunne - Northern Thai Food Club
Chef Fern and Chef Pla - Luv2Eat Thai
Valerie Gordon - Valerie Confections
Yoonjin Hwang - Spoon by H (RIP!)
Roxana Jullapat - Friends and Family
Ai Honda Kennedy - ADNOHIA  
Injin Kim - Peri Coffee
Sarah Kim - Playing for Keeps LA
Jihee Kim - Perilla LA
Jenee Kim - Park’s BBQ
Vivian Ku - Pine & CraneJoyToday Starts Here
Carol Kwan - Mama Musubi
Sojung Kwon - Document Coffee Bar
Wendy Lam - Newport Seafood 
Uyen Le - Bé Ù
Mei Lin - Umamixo
Kim Luu-Ng, Cassia
Jessie Nicely - Burmese Please
Jintana Noochlaor - Sapp Coffee
Kristin Nguyen - Garlic and Chives
Jennifer Pak - Soban
Mina Park - Shiku
Minh Phan - porridge + puffsPHENAKITE
Nikki Reginaldo - Kato
Patti Röckenwagner - Röckenwagner Bakery
Dina Samson - Rossoblu
Jazz Sing - Jitlada 
Lieu Tran - Pho 79
Elaine Mendoza Yamanashi - Tokyo Fried Chicken
Kelly Xiao and Lynn Liu - Sichan Impressions
Nan Yimcharoen - KinKanLA
Mei Lin - Nightshade and Daybird
Kuniko Yagi - Pikunico 
Saehee Cho - Soon Minimart


Various dishes from Minh Phan’s restaurant called porridge + puffs. Photo by Mariah Tauger.


Black Vichyssoise at Minh Phan’s PHENAKITE. Photo by Katrina Frederick.

Pastry makers, fermenter: 

Sally Camacho Mueller - Tesse
Steph Chen - Sugar Bear Bakes
Laura Hoang -  Lasita
Gemma Matsuyama - Ototo
Kei Okumura - Sugarbird Sweets
Jess Wang

Writers, teachers, bookstore owner: 

Cathy Danh Chaplin
Jenny Dorsey
Jenn Harris
Paola Mardo
Tien Nguyen 
Sonoko Sakai
Jean Trinh
Esther Tseng
Michelle Mungcal - Now Serving