By now, you know that I am a big fan of renegade restaurateur/chef/food truck revolutionary Roy Choi, who makes great food, talks a good game, and is an all-around cool dude. And now he's an author.
His debut book, L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food, is on shelves now. Co-written with Tien Nguyen and Natasha Phan, L.A. Son is part cookbook -- featuring over 85 recipes -- part autobiography, and a streetwise love letter to the titular city that made Roy who he is and gave birth to a street food movement.
Korean fried chicken, tempura potato pancakes, homemade chorizo, kimchi and pork belly stuffed pupusas. There's a tradition and a story behind every recipe -- the unlikely story of how a Korean American kid went from lowriding in the streets of L.A. to becoming a bonafide culinary rock star.
Or as Roy simply puts it, "Everything I am comes from kimchi." I hear that. Here's more about the book:
Los Angeles: A patchwork megalopolis defined by its unlikely cultural collisions; the city that raised and shaped Roy Choi, the boundary-breaking chef who decided to leave behind fine dining to feed the city he loved—and, with the creation of the Korean taco, reinvented street food along the way.
Abounding with both the food and the stories that gave rise to Choi's inspired cooking, L.A. Son takes us through the neighborhoods and streets most tourists never see, from the hidden casinos where gamblers slurp fragrant bowls of pho to Downtown's Jewelry District, where a ten-year-old Choi wolfed down Jewish deli classics between diamond deliveries; from the kitchen of his parents' Korean restaurant and his mother's pungent kimchi to the boulevards of East L.A. and the best taquerias in the country, to, at last, the curbside view from one of his emblematic Kogi taco trucks, where people from all walks of life line up for a revolutionary meal.
Filled with over 85 inspired recipes that meld the overlapping traditions and flavors of L.A.—including Korean fried chicken, tempura potato pancakes, homemade chorizo, and Kimchi and Pork Belly Stuffed Pupusas—L.A. Son embodies the sense of invention, resourcefulness, and hybrid attitude of the city from which it takes its name, as it tells the transporting, unlikely story of how a Korean American kid went from lowriding in the streets of L.A. to becoming an acclaimed chef.
Here he is on NPR's Morning Edition, talking about L.A. Son:
And here's Roy on KCRW's Good Food:
Roy is currently on a book tour to promote L.A. Son. For further information, go here.