Category Archives: Pacific Rim

Lola’s Kitchen, Filipino food for a “Happy lunchtime”

If language reflects culture, then it’s fair to assume that the people of the Philippines love to eat. Tagalog, the Filipino national language, is the only language I know with a special greeting, tucked between “good morning” and “good afternoon,” to wish people a good lunchtime.

So let’s say “Magandang tanghali po” to Lola’s Kitchen, serving Filipino fare in the Clifton quarters long occupied by Zen Garden. Continue reading Lola’s Kitchen, Filipino food for a “Happy lunchtime”

District 6 brings a taste of Vietnam to St. Matthews

If you think “District 6” is an odd name for a Vietnamese restaurant, think again. This moniker honors the heritage of its owners, Hanh Duong, Tram Thai, and Vinh Thai, whose parents hail originally from the District 6 neighborhood in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, formerly known as Saigon. Continue reading District 6 brings a taste of Vietnam to St. Matthews

Pho Phi gives your money’s worth

You say “pho,” I say “fuh.” Which is the right way to say it, anyway? Inspired by a couple of bowls of pho, er, fuh, at Phi Pho (“Fee Fuh”), a new, fast-casual pho shop in St. Matthews, I dug into the roots of pho, and – somewhat to my surprise, since I thought I already knew this stuff – I learned a thing or two. Continue reading Pho Phi gives your money’s worth

Shine on, August Moon

“Nobody goes there any more. It’s too crowded.” Yogi Berra purportedly said that, making the aphorism famous even if he didn’t say it first. Now I want to take an unlikely shot at similar fame with this Yogi-style observation: “I go to August Moon so often that I haven’t been there lately.” Continue reading Shine on, August Moon

Simply Thai comforts us with flavor and spice

When you need comfort food, nothing else will do. When you’re feeling down, pulling up to a plate full of comfort may be the best thing you can do for yourself. So it was for me last week when I had to say good-bye to my beloved cat Spike, a ginger-color furball buddy who’d been my special friend and constant companion for more than 17 years. It was either ugly-cry or fill up on comfort food, so I decided to do both.

But here’s the funny thing: When I needed comfort food, I realized that comfort for me does not come from the nurturing culinary memories of a Louisville childhood. No, my culinary comfort needs are filled with the bright, potent flavors of Southern and Southeastern Asia. Make mine Indian, Vietnamese, Indonesian or Thai, and I can feel the tension and sadness quietly draining away.

I hadn’t been to Simply Thai in St. Matthews for quite a while, so it felt like the perfect destination for a bittersweet yet consoling dinner in memory of Spike. Continue reading Simply Thai comforts us with flavor and spice

Exquisite pho sets a high standard at Eatz Vietnamese

I was re-reading Anthony Bordain’s nook Medium Raw the other day, or I should say I was reading it, until I got to his loving, sensual passage on pho. Then I had to put down the book and go check out the state of the pho at the new Eatz Vietnamese. Continue reading Exquisite pho sets a high standard at Eatz Vietnamese

Ramen Inochi offers a fine, warming noodle bowl

Thoughts upon dining at the amiable new Ramen Inochi, latest in the city’s growing circle of Asian soup eateries: If you’re ever in the mood to start a foodie fight, ask your friends whether ramen or pho is better. I tried this on Facebook and Twitter the other day and had three dozen arguments going by lunch.

But you don’t have to be a social media troll to love these traditional Asian soups, and Louisville clearly knows this. In the past few years we’ve seen a mini-tsunami of restaurants that specialize in these memorable soups.

So what’s the difference between ramen and pho, anyway? Continue reading Ramen Inochi offers a fine, warming noodle bowl

Mai’s Thai still delivers the flavor

Some of you young’uns may not believe this, but there was a time, not all that long ago, when there was not a single Thai restaurant in the Louisville area. We might have read about the stuff, or even, if we were lucky, tasted it in trips to more sophisticated cities or to the Far East. Continue reading Mai’s Thai still delivers the flavor

Dragon King’s Daughter achieves enlightenment

The dragon king’s daughter, ancient Buddhist tradition tells us, was an eight-year-old female dragon who became the first woman ever to reach enlightenment. Female, young, in the form of an animal? It seemed impossible for such a creature to attain Buddhahood – and yet she did it.

There could be no more appropriate spirit animal for Toki Masabuchi, proprietor of the popular Dragon King’s Daughter restaurants on Bardstown Road and in Southern Indiana. We crossed the river recently to check out its new, larger location on New Albany’s Market Street. Continue reading Dragon King’s Daughter achieves enlightenment

Ikebana fills long-vacant Red Pepper space

I still mourn the 2010 departure of Red Pepper, Louisville’s best Chinese restaurant ever. As good as it was, Red Pepper owner Yuan Hua told me when it closed, the combination of a $5,000 monthly lease payment and a respected Sichuan chef who required fair payment for his skills, sent it on to restaurant Nirvana after a short, bright two-year tenure.

Now, eight years later, the exotic-looking building on Lower Brownsboro is lighted up again: Ikebana Japanese Restaurant & Sushi has come to fill the space. Continue reading Ikebana fills long-vacant Red Pepper space