Letter From the Editors

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.

David Amsden & Erin Ruffin

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Lisa Ling on why Asian food in Los Angeles matters.