Kuya Ja’s Lechon Belly

“The Kuya Ja’s concept started a few years ago when I was roasting whole hogs as a side gig on the weekends. The market for a whole pig is not very big, so I decided to make lechons—what many people would call the national dish of the Philippines—using only the belly. I started doing a pop-up with my sister’s Filipino bakery on weekends, and that’s how Kuya Ja’s started. Kuya Ja’s just opened its first brick-and-mortar last May.”

—Javier Fernandez

Head Chef & Owner

The Players:

  • Pork belly porchetta
  • Fresh lemon grass
  • Green onions
  • Crushed garlic
  • Pineapple
  • House spices
  • Thai chilies

Bang Chop Thai's Green Curry

Bang Chop Thai

Bang Chop Thai’s Green Curry

“When we did a taste test between our curries and the canned ones, there was a huge difference in flavor and quality. We stick to the traditional way of making curry, even though it takes longer and is more expensive. Our customers say they can taste all the levels of flavor, and it is addictively delicious. Bang Chop Thai is bringing classic Thai dishes and authentic flavors to fast-casual customers.”

—Mary Aregoni


The Players:

  • Rice or rice noodles
  • Choice of protein
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Thai eggplant
  • Green beans
  • Onion
  • Bell pepper
  • Coconut milk
  • Garlic
  • Galangal
  • Kaffir lime
  • Lemongrass
  • Turmeric
  • Thai chilies
  • Dried shrimp
  • Cumin

Pei Wei's Pad Thai

Pei Wei

Pei Wei’s Pad Thai

“I like to call Southeast Asian food ‘collision cuisine.’ Contrasting flavors and textures run up against each other to create a bold, well-rounded taste. Many dishes are supported with savory notes, sweetened, given acidity and umami or fermentation, brightened with fresh herbs, made rich with coconut milk, and then given a kick of spice. Textures also collide in our Pad Thai, with crunch from bean sprouts and peanuts.”

—J. Sullivan

Director of Culinary Innovation

The Players:

  • Rice Noodles
  • Tofu
  • Chicken
  • Tamarind
  • Lime
  • Palm sugar
  • Chilies
  • Bean sprouts
  • Peanuts
  • Cilantro