I’ve already called dibs on being the lady, but it is so very easy to be the pig at this delightful little restaurant, which is currently the hottest restaurant in Honolulu. The restaurant is located in the middle of Chinatown. Chinatown is perfectly safe and vibrant during the day. During the evening, it’s a little sketchier looking, but it is still perfectly safe. And The Pig and the Lady is well worth the effort.
It’s difficult to describe the cuisine accurately. To say that it’s Vietnamese fusion food only scratches the surface of what the kitchen is capable of. We went first for dinner and then tried it for lunch. You can’t go wrong with either meal, but the dinner menu is definitely the more innovative of the two.
We started dinner with a variety of small plates, called Piggy Smalls on the menu. There were savory beignets served with parmesan cream,
smoked eggplant served on puffed rice crackers, and
fried potatoes, along with a side of home-made pickles.
Out of the group, the savory beignets were our favorite, although everything was very good.
Entrees included their signature dish, which is pho French dip and Manila clams. This is a French dip banh mi served with a yuzu pho broth containing braised Manila clams and taro. You dip the banh mi in the broth to eat. The banh mi was delicious, although I’m not sure the clam broth wasn’t better. Either way, it was all fabulous!
We also split a braised lamb served bo kho style, which means a lamb shank cooked with southern Vietnamese spices and lemongrass, butter roasted carrots, pickled shallots, and herbs. I’m not sure which entrée was better—better not to have to choose!
Dessert consisted of kaya beignets, which are beignets dusted with coconut powdered sugar and a bit of espresso powder, and
P&L soft serve
Our waitress recommended that we try lunch, as the menu for lunch is slightly different. While lunch is a little more traditionally Vietnamese, it still offers the kitchen an opportunity to give its own individual twist to traditional dishes.
Jim had the pho French dip, which is a banh mi served with 12 hour roast brisket, thai basil chimmichurri, and a pho au jus. It was melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
I had the pho-sta, consisting of hand cut pasta cooked with pho broth, parmesan, mung bean and other traditional pho flavors. Loved it!
The restaurant itself is an interesting mix of families, singles (mostly at the lively bar), and a smattering of food-obsessed tourists. Reservations are recommended if you don’t want to deal with a long wait. (It fills up quickly.) We highly highly recommend this restaurant!
The Pig and the Lady is found at 83 N. King Street in Honolulu (www.thepigandthelady.com).