Staff at Piggy Smalls, sister restaurant to Chinatown's Pig and the Lady, is still picking their jaws up off the floor after Sunday night's command performance dinner. The guests: former President Barack Obama, an old friend from Punahou, some staffers and his security detail, which surrounded the restaurant at Ward Villages.
One of the most starstruck was Alex Le, whose family owns the restaurants and who with his brother, executive chef Andrew Le, made the pilgrimmage to Hanoi's tiny Bun Cha Huong Lien in 2016 to eat the exact same dish of vermicelli rice noodles tossed with sizzling grilled pork, fresh herbs and green mango strips that Obama ate there with Anthony Bourdain. "We really wanted to make him bun cha but there was no time," Le says.
Here's what the former leader of the free world did eat:
Plus there was a Burmese salad; koji aged beef ribeye cap with prawn chimuchurri, charred broccolini and crispy potatoes; a bowl of Mama Le's hu tieu noodle soup with wontons, and some frozen s'mores.
For Pig and the Lady chef Keaka Lee, it was the fifth time cooking for Obama after 3660 On the Rise, Alan Wong's, Gramercy Tavern in New York and the 2011 APEC conference in Hawaii.
Obama's also eaten at MW Restaurant and Odoriko in recent months. We're kind of missing the shave ice sightings.