Larb, Have Mercy! Annual Pork Crawl Tours Los Angeles

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Clockwise from top: Tacos chorizos, tacos chicharron, and tacos chuletas at Guisados.

A handful of F&B editors converged upon Los Angeles last week for the National Pork Board’s annual Pork Crawl, this time focusing on regional Mexican cuisines and Southeast Asian flavors. On Tuesday, November 8—election night—the group headed to Korea town for authentic Korean barbecue at Honey Pig.

Wednesday morning, the group absorbed a presentation on Mexican flavors and cuisines by chef Jason Alley of Richmond, Virginia’s Comfort. We then bussed to massive Mexican retail store Northgate González Market before beginning a taco crawl through various L.A. neighborhoods and venues.

This year, the Pork Crawl added a second day, on Thursday, to explore regional Southeast Asian cuisine, launched with a presentation by Chef Robert Danhi before a visit to Thuan Phat market and a bus tour of Southeast Asian cuisine.

Most mortals would find it hard to sample all these delicacies without developing a case of the “meat sweats,” and I was no exception, but it was well worth the marathon dining experience. The takeaway for hoteliers? Strongly consider taking a micro look at your menu concepts. You might strike upon a point of difference by digging deeper than “Mexican” or “Asian” and down into specific regional themes. Pork is certain a good vehicle to ride across those regions.

Here’s a rundown of the stops and dishes we experienced.

MEXICAN

Northgate González Market

Chichén Itzá
Chef: Gilberto Cetina
Cochinita Pibil
Pork Vaporcito
DP: Guanabana

Mr. Al Pastor
Chef: Raul Morales
Tacos al Pastor

Grand Central Market – Villa Moreliana
Chef: Fernando Villagomez
Mixed Pork Tacos with white onion, cilantro, tomatilla salsa and lime
DP: Beer

Grand Central Market – Tacos Tumbras A Tomas
Chef: Tomas Martinez
Torta Al Pastor
Torta Buche
DP: Beer

Guisados
Chef: Armando De La Torre Sr. and Armando De La Torre Jr.
Tacos Chuletas
Tacos Chicharron
Tacos Chorizo
DP: Armando Palmero

Chicas Tacos
Chef: Eduardo Ruiz
Owner: Chris Blanchard
Pork Taco
Pork Taco Mamas style
DP: Watermelon Cinnamon Agua Fresca

Salazar
Chef: Esdras Ochoas
Hand pressed Guacamole with chips
Heirloom Tomato Salad
Gem lettuce with chef’s Mexicali dressing
Farmers Market Taco (Veggie)
Al Pastor taco
Pork Chop
Espuites Street Corn
Two Way Pork and Beans
Kale and Carrot Beans
Dessert
DP: Verde

SOUTHEAST ASIAN

Siêu Thị Thuận Phát (Thuan Phat) Market

Fragrant Jerky
Chef: Mr. Yap
Classic Bacon
Tender Pork

Little Malaysia
Chef: Rachel
Owner: Nicole
Lo Bak
Bak Ku Teh
DP: Barley Drink

Yoma Myanmar Restaurant
Chef: Z Gyung (Joan) Lam
Tea leaf Salad
Pennywort Salad
Pig Ear Salad
Pork Curry
DP: Tamarind Soda

Kapistahan Grill
Chef/Owner: Zaida and Cyamara
Sisig
Bulaklak
Pork Adobo Fried Rice
DP: Fresh Coconut and Mango Juice

Pa Ord
Chef: Lawan Bhanduram
Crispy Belly and Chinese Broccoli
Fermented Sausage
DP: Thai Iced Coffee/Tea

Night Market
Chef: Kris Yenbamroong
Moo Yang Nom Khon
Laab Lanna – Chiang Mai Pork Salad
Viet Coconut Braised Pork with Quail Eggs
DP: Beer

Little Sister
Chef: Tin Vuong
Smoked Jowl
Nem Noung
Viet Coconut Braised Pork and Quail Eggs (separate from rice)
DP: Alcoholic Pairing