Lisa Ling on why Asian food in Los Angeles matters.
A black cod goes from the Pacific to Shibumi.
Keeping cool when the kitchen gets hot.
One restaurant’s many pandemic pivots.
Two different takes on Indian food.
Every day’s a hustle at Woon.
From Asian farms to Los Angeles restaurants.
Why in L.A. they’re not boring.
Three restaurants breaking boundaries.
Mastering values at Yang’s Kitchen.
Two chefs go behind the blade.
Omakase and ramen join the neighborhood.
The coronation of soju and makgeolli.
Three women open the bar they want to walk into.
Indonesian community through cuisine.
On working with Mom and Dad at Anajak Thai.
Los Angeles before sushi.
Inside the staff ritual of eating together.
Three Vietnamese restaurants expand the city’s palate.
One chef has some thoughts.
Waking up Los Angeles to Burmese cuisine.
The couple behind Shiku goes with the flow.
An ode to those who keep them going.
Michelle Bernstein embraces the competition.
One restaurant’s epic journey from debt to success.
The couple behind Boia De and Walrus Rodeo play by their own rules.
Vermouth gets a bar of its own.
On the business of BBQ in Miami.
Recipes for navigating an uncertain economy.
The secret to never getting old in a town obsessed with what’s new.
How two pioneers of omakase introduced Miami to a new way of dining out.
Chasing a childhood memory one arepa at a time.
Why Miami’s mainstays of Middle Eastern food aren’t phased by the influx of glossy newcomers.
David Foulquier on his shapeshifting ambitions.
The Black chefs behind a vegan movement in Miami.
Two Cuban sandwich masters talk shop.
A new generation’s take on the classic Jewish deli.
Miami’s mavericks of sustainable growing and dining.
An intimate glimpse inside restaurants after the last customer leaves.
Creating a culture where employees stick around.
A new kind of bottle service takes root in Miami.
The art of staying put in a changing city.
The city’s ventanitas created a culture all their own.
This magazine is founded on a simple belief: that there is more—much more—to restaurants than food. Each issue of Secret Menu will explore a different restaurant culture in a different city, going deep into the communities forged by chefs and owners, with a look at how their businesses connect a neighborhood. We hope those in the industry find something in every issue to relate to—along with a salt-shake or two of information and inspiration for their own work—while restaurant lovers gain a wider appreciation for the merchants behind the places they adore.
Choosing where to begin for our inaugural issue was at once impossible, and easy, given that American cities are defined by distinct, ever-evolving restaurant cultures like never before. When people think of the cities they love, or long to visit, more of than not they’re thinking about a meal, or a place they “have” to try that was dreamed up by an enterprising owner. Ultimately, we decided to launch with a focus on Los Angeles, and its rich Asian food culture that Lisa Ling captures in her introduction, because we felt it embodies so much of what inspired Secret Menu.
They say the best way to understand a person is by sharing a meal; it only follows, then, that the best way to understand restaurants is by getting to know the people who keep them going. Food is a uniter, a universal language, as putting this issue together made clear. This magazine is the work of an incredible team of writers, photographers, and artists that quite literally spans the world. Edited in Los Angeles and designed in Berlin, the pages are filled with contributions from Tokyo, Brooklyn, Michigan, Italy, and Switzerland, along with dozens of Angelenos who live, breathe, and eat Asian food here. That so many came together from so many places is a testament to the power of restaurants, and the vital community built by those that run them.
Thanks for reading!
We look forward to meeting you in the next city.
Sign up for notifications about future issues