HONOLULU | Even before I started doing my research on where to eat and drink in Honolulu, The Pig and The Lady was a spot that I’d heard about, and knew I needed to have a meal at. After visiting Ho Chi Minh City in June, experiencing Peter Cuong Franklin’s modern Vietnamese food at Anan Saigon, and being a huge fan of what chefs like Khanh nguyen and Thi Le are doing in Melbourne with modern Vietnamese food in an Australian context, I was very excited to see how owner/chef Andrew Le was doing things in a Hawaiian context.
Born and raised in Honolulu to Vietnamese parents, Andrew had an American upbringing, but a strong connection to his Vietnamese heritage through his mother’s authentic food. He started The Pig & The Lady with his family in 2011, as a pop-up at Farmer’s Markets across Oahu. These pop-ups still run across the island today.
The permanent Chinatown location of the restaurant opened in 2013. You can find Andrew and his mum in the kitchen, and older brother Alex is the General Manager. The Pig & The Lady might look like a trendy, modern restaurant, which it is, but it’s also well and truly a family affair. This comes through from the warm and welcoming atmosphere and service, and a vibe that’s fun, busy, but still homely. Think more hectic cook up with the aunties and uncles rather than intimate family dinner.
As for the food itself, it’s a marriage of Andrew’s Vietnamese heritage and American upbringing. There’s a respect and understanding of tradition, culture, and ingredients. The result is food that will change the mind of anyone who thinks that “fusion” is a dirty word.
Bò kho, that wonderful dish I discovered with an Indian twist down an unassuming alleyway in Ho Chi Minh City, is reimagined as bolognaise tagliatelle. South Asian spices, lemongrass meat sauce, roasted carrots, fried Thai basil and parmesan combine for something wonderful. Olive oil fried bread is topped with ahi tataki, avocado, smashed tomato, JPR’s aged garlic in shoyu, espelette pepper, and chives. It’s one of the best things that I ate on this trip.
A restaurant well deserving of its accolades, and one you must visit when in Honolulu.
The Pig and The Lady
83 N. King Street
Telephone: 808 585 8255
Tue – Wed: 5:30pm to 9:30pm
Thu – Sat: 11:30am to 12:30pm; 5:30pm to 9:30pm