Food Issue - Atlanta chefs build recipes around their Asian ingredient obsessions

The Lawrence's crispy pig ears, Octopus Bar's steamed red snapper and more

Angus Brown of Octopus Bar

"This dish is so beautiful and awesome. I serve it with a large plate of cilantro, Thai basil, mint, thinly sliced green onion, cucumber, thin slices of avocado, and a big bowl of steamed rice. Makes me hungry just thinking about it."

Steamed whole red snapper with sambal paste


  • Sambal paste:?
  • 1/4 cup cilantro stems?
  • 3 garlic cloves?
  • 1 shallot roughly chopped?
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean fermented red chili paste)?
  • 1/4 cup sambal?
  • Juice from half a lime?


Directions: With a mortar and pestle grind cilantro stems. Add garlic and shallot and pound well. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and set aside.

1 whole wild red snapper, 2-3 1/2 pounds, scaled and cleaned

Salt and pepper

Directions: Simmer a small amount of water in a wok or pan large enough to hold a bamboo steamer. Score each side of fish about a 1/4 of an inch deep three times. Season the fish inside and out with salt and fresh ground pepper. Rub the sambal paste on the entire fish as well as the inside. Place fish on a large plate big enough to fit inside the steamer basket. Place in the steamer basket and cover. Allow the fish to steam 8-10 minutes or until the flesh comes off the bone easily. Collect all the liquid from the steamed fish and pour it back over the fish.

Angus Brown is currently the executive chef at Octopus Bar where a version of this dish can currently be found.


Natalie Keng of Chinese Southern Belle

"This is my go-to favorite for a delicious fast salad, BBQ side, or topping for fish/chicken tacos, sliders, or hot dogs. Travels well for picnics and potlucks, too!"

Spicy Asian slaw


  • 2 cups shredded Chinese or Korean Napa cabbage?
  • 1/4 cup carrot, shredded?
  • 1/4 cup red bell peppers, julienned?
  • 1/4 cup daikon radish, shredded?
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar?
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions?
  • 1 tablespoon Asian roasted sesame oil?
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro?
  • 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha chili sauce (depends on how much kick you want)?
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce?
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper?


Directions: Toss all ingredients together well. Garnish with 1/2 cup crushed uncooked ramen noodles and 1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds.

Natalie Keng is the founder of Chinese Southern Belle, a unique business that features interactive cooking/cultural classes, food/product demos, and customized social and business marketing events.


Zach Meloy of PushStart Kitchen

"I love fish sauce and Sriracha goes on EVERYTHING at my house."

Sriracha honey-glazed pork and chayote salad with lime mayonnaise and chicharrón


  • Pork?
  • 1/4 cup wildflower honey?
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha?
  • Salt and pepper?
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil?
  • 2 pork tenderloins, cleaned and trimmed?


Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine honey and Sriracha. Set aside. Liberally season pork on all sides with salt and pepper. Over medium high heat, heat oil in a cast-iron skillet. Add pork and sear on each side until golden brown. Brush with Sriracha honey. Place in oven. After 5 minutes, turn pork over and glaze with Sriracha honey. Cook for another 7-8 minutes. Remove from oven and brush a final time with Sriracha honey. Allow meat to rest for 5 minutes.

Chayote salad:

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce?
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice?
  • 3 tablespoons water?
  • 2 tablespoons sugar?
  • 1 clove garlic, grated?
  • 1 small Thai chili, finely sliced?
  • 2 medium chayote squash, julienned?
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded, julienned?
  • ¼ cup red onion, julienned?
  • Salt and pepper?


Directions: In a small bowl combine fish sauce, lime juice, water, sugar, garlic, and sliced chili. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the chayote, serrano, and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Dress with fish sauce mixture. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes before serving.

Lime mayonnaise:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise?
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced?
  • 1 tablespoon honey?
  • Salt and pepper?


Directions: Combine all ingredients.

To serve:

Arrange pork all artsy-like on a plate with lime mayonnaise. Top with chayote salad, pulled basil, fresh mint, and pieces of crispy chicharrón. Be sure to Instagram that plate's face off, then EAT!

Zach Meloy is the chef at PushStart Kitchen, a supper club and soon-to-be brick-and-mortar restaurant in Atlanta.


Brandon Ley of Joystick Gamebar

"Working with Sriracha was a challenge, not because of its spiciness but because of the garlic. But I had a lot of fun with it. A little goes a long way and as a result the Cock's Comb definitely has a kick to it. I took inspiration from the flavor profile of Thai food and attempted to marry that with the time-honored cocktail formula of sweet, sour, bitter, and booze."

Cock's Comb


  • 3 healthy dashes Angostura bitters?
  • 1/2 ounce agave-Sriracha syrup*?
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice?
  • 1½ ounces aged rum (Ron Abuelo Añejo works great)?
  • Lemon twist for garnish?

Directions: Add all ingredients (except lemon twist) to shaker. Add ice and shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist, making sure to express oils over the drink. Pairing suggestion: This drink would probably be delicious with mac and cheese.

  • Agave-Sriracha Syrup: 1 part Sriracha, 2 parts water, 6 parts agave syrup (look for the lighter, non-amber kind).

Brandon Ley is co-owner and resident coctelero (read: cocktail geek) of Joystick. When he's not learning to be a classic arcade game surgeon, he is happy making you delicious cocktails.


Ryan Hidinger of Staplehouse

"Lan Chi is my go-to Asian condiment. It has great depth of flavor and texture with chunky fermented garlic and ground chili peppers. I use it to make a dressing for a warm fish salad for family meal. When butchering fish you tend to get a few odd end pieces. I cook them off and flake them into a salad of Napa cabbage, red onion, cilantro, scallions and jalapeños. Add the dressing below and you have an awesome quick meal before the dinner rush starts! Lan Chi is available at Asian markets throughout Atlanta."

Lan Chi dressing


  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise?
  • 1 tablespoon Lan Chi (if you can't find Lan Chi, sub sambal or Sriracha)?
  • 2 dashes fish sauce?
  • juice of 1/2 a lime?
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar?


Directions: Mix together in a bowl and adjust seasoning to your preference.

Ryan Hidinger is the chef at Prelude to Staplehouse, a supper club he operates with his wife Jennifer in anticipation of their future restaurant, Staplehouse.


Shane Devereux of The Lawrence

"Fish sauce is extremely different cooked than straight up. The pungent saltiness develops other flavors when cooked, but it tastes great right out of the bottle."

Crispy Pig Ears


  • 5 pounds pig ears?
  • 1 gallon of water?
  • 2 star anise pods?
  • 2 cloves, whole?
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, crushed?
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns?
  • 1 tablespoon coriander, whole?
  • 1/8 cup salt?
  • ½ cup fish sauce?
  • ½ pound ginger, smashed?
  • 10 cloves garlic, whole?
  • 3 large shallots, sliced?
  • 1 tangerine, halved?
  • oil for frying?


Directions: Combine all ingredients, except frying oil, in a large pot and simmer on low heat for 10 hours. Strain the ears from the liquid and layer in a large casserole dish that has been lined with plastic wrap. Cover with plastic wrap. Apply pressure with another container of the same size weighted on top. This pressure will allow the ears to adhere to one another, forming a sort of sheet. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Remove ears from dish, ideally in one piece, and slice into thin strips. Heat oil to 350 degrees. Fry to goodness. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In addition to executive chef duties at SoundTable, Shane Devereux is the executive chef and partner at the Lawrence as well as Peasant Bistro. A version of this recipe can currently be found at the Lawrence.

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