Chefs Are Taking Asian Cuisines to the Next Level in Los Angeles


As regional Asian cuisines achieve more mainstream popularity in the US, many restaurant owners are still faced with outdated attitudes, including the unfair assumption that certain kinds of food should have a low price point. More recently, anti-Asian sentiment intensified in the wake of COVID-19 and subjected Asian-owned restaurants to further stigmatization. However, here in LA, as the city continues to dip its toe into more tasting menu-type dining experiences, a new wave of talented Asian-American chefs are challenging racial biases and dated assumptions about their ancestral cuisines.

Unlike their immigrant parents, many of whom entered the restaurant business simply to make a living, this generation of chefs is following their passions and utilizing the resources their families didn’t have to create more ambitious concepts.

“I’d imagine most parents didn’t want the harsh restaurant life for their children and that’s why they pushed us to other professional fields,” says Andy

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What to order at every restaurant

Built in the shell of an old Target in Mesa, the Mekong Plaza food mall offers the largest selection of Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino and Taiwanese restaurants under one roof in the the Valley.

Interspersed between the restaurants and food stalls are beauty salons, bakeries, gift shops and smaller stores selling medicinals and Asian jerky. You could easily spend a day exploring the vast indoor mall, which is anchored by the Mekong Market grocery store, one of the best places to shop for specialty sauces and herbs. 

Choosing from more than a dozen food options is an overwhelming task, so I did the legwork for you and ate at every restaurant and food stall in Mekong Plaza. 

Here’s your guide to what to order at Arizona’s biggest Asian food court.

Bánh Mì Pho Gà at Unphogettable

The Bánh Mì Pho Gà at Unphogettable was lightly toasted.

Across from the main grocery store, Unphogettable is probably the most approachable restaurant in the

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