It’s ba-ack: Pig and the Lady’s haute pop-ups

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The menu came out on Monday, and after ‘paiai with inamona and grapes,’ I don’t remember anything else. I booked for opening night.

Sashimi with water lily, banana blossom and kaffir lime sauce from Pig and the Lady's first pop-up last year — Photo by Melissa Chang

It’s more than three months since Andrew Le left Honolulu and Pig and the Lady, the pop-up he started as a fine-dining five-course at Hank’s Haute Dogs and migrated from there to the farmers’ markets, where he cooked Vietnamese street food. If you remember either, you might also recall Euro-Vietnamese riffs with banana blossoms, nuoc mam fish sauce, pork in betel leaves and the ever-present anchor bowl of Vietnamese noodle soup. It was clear that Le, fresh from a job as sous chef at Mavro’s, was combining his five-diamond exposure with the tastes he grew up with.

Then he grew bolder. At the farmers’ market you began to see improbabilities like bruschetta topped with grapes, shiso and a smoky eggplant-tofu mix, or with kimchee, bleu cheese and mozzarella — culinary nut jobs, things you couldn’t believe you were eating. But they were deft, street-food-simple in construction, with flavors that came together. Every week I swallowed them along with my incredulity, and when Le left, his mom and a small army continuing with the solid Vietnamese recipes, my weekly dose of crazy surprises went too.

Last week I showed up at the farmers’ market and saw toast topped with chicken liver pate and persimmon marmalade. Le was back. He spent the interim as sous chef at San Francisco’s Rich Table, his first mainland cooking experience. Days after being named one of StarChefs.com’s Rising Stars, he’s scheduled a full week of five-course pop-up dinners at TASTE in Kakaako.

Le’s culinary evolution has been rapid, its direction never expected. I had to see where his mind was now. I had to try whatever he put on my plate.

Pig and the Lady pop-up dinner

Opening night. The vibe is casual, with seating inside and out, and smells from the kitchen so good.

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Pig and the Lady pop-up dinner at TASTE
$65, reservations required
December 12, 13, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21
667 Auahi St.
thepigandthelady.com

7 comments
Annoddah_Dave
Annoddah_Dave

EO:  Wow lots of fruit variation.  Evokes of spring and summer...hopefully will be able to catch one of the dinners.  Speaking of akule...did you know there is a difference between hooked and netted?

Soos808
Soos808

Can't wait to eat this! Went to Tues KCC but vibe is diff. Great description of Andrew's evolution. What's telling is there's no Mama (traditional) soup on the popup menu. Ted loves akule - hopefully they'll have it Sun too!

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

 @Soos2005 cross ur fingers -- this was the course called 'fresh catch.' blaisdell next week?

Annoddah_Dave
Annoddah_Dave

EO:  No difference other than price.  Hooked are generally more per pound.  The

perception is that net fish does not "taste" or is as fresh as hooked.

Soos808
Soos808

 @nonstopmari  Not sure they're gonna do Blaisdell mkt if they have the popup on Wed. They cancelled Kailua today. Hooked akule is less bus' up than netted.

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

 @Soos2005 ah so! @Annoddah_Dave i've been enlightened. this is true generally of fish, no? mrs le said they're doing blaisdell next week, but pop-up is pretty intensive