Updated at: 13-06-2023 - By: Craig Huey

Even if you’re just looking for some decent Asian food, you might feel a bit lost in America’s most trendy dining destination. There are enough Asian restaurants in Los Angeles for you to eat at a new one every day of the year, and more are opening every week. In honor of our recent Asian food crawls, we present the top five establishments we visited.

The new lunch special at Hip Hot is one of the best in all of Los Angeles. Set lunches at this popular Sichuan restaurant in the San Gabriel Valley begin at just $10.99, giving you a taste of six different menu items. Mung bean jelly noodles, cold spicy beef (including a bit of wonderful offal), sweet-and-sour ribs, clam-topped egg custard, wontons, pickles, cold noodles, fried rice, and a brown sugar rice cake are all included in the $14.99 nine-dish set, which is a steal. This lunch set and seafood is perfect for feeding a group of hungry friends. You can have a fantastic meal for less than $25 per person if you plan it that way.

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Tiantian Qiu of Hip Hot prepares Sichuan seafood dishes with finesse and nuance. While she uses chiles and Sichuan peppercorns in her exquisite preparations of whole Dungeness crab and lobster, her focus is not on shocking diners with extreme spice. A large bowl of boiled fish filets seasoned with chiles and peppercorns is likely to leave diners raving about the meal’s subtle flavors and textures.

Qiu sticks to the standards, serving up dishes like mapo tofu and dandan noodles. She makes a show in the dining room by serving pineapple smoothies in pineapples that have been hollowed out. We recently went there, and since we love watermelon juice and had seen pictures of Hip Hot’s watermelon juice being served from a tap installed into a whole watermelon, we asked for it. A watermelon keg, in essence! Since it is a limited-time item, it was sold out last week. Qiu’s determination to use only the freshest ingredients is admirable.

There doesn’t appear to be a website or social media accounts for this trendy Vietnamese eatery in Burbank, but it has attracted everyone from TV executives to pho purists. Stop by Lotus & Light (located in a shopping center with a Vons supermarket) during lunchtime, and you’ll see the place packed with tables of four people sharing papaya salads, pork egg rolls, vermicelli bowls, and hot bowls of pho.

And the Hainan chicken over rice at Lotus & Light, with its bright condiments and soothing broth, is a perfect meal for any time of day. Large charbroiled prawns served over rice are available for those who really want to splurge. Lotus & Light is a one-stop shop for lunch and dinner thanks to its accommodating staff and extensive drink menu (including Vietnamese coffee, Thai iced tea, butterfly pea lemonade, premium hot teas, wine, and low-ABV cocktails).

Dinner at RBTA in Highland Park features robata-grilled skewers of premium ingredients like ribeye, miso black cod, and spot prawns, prepared by chef Justin Baey. Amazing uni pasta with fresh uni and uni butter cream, whole blue prawn sashimi with uni, and uni toast with crab or spicy tuna.

The RBTA just started offering lunch last week, and their limited menu consists of Matsuri Super Premium rice served in donburi bowls. One bowl meals like the katsudon (pork cutlets, soft scrambled egg, onions, nori, and red ginger) or the oyakodon (roasted chicken), or the unadon (eel), will leave you satisfied. Chashu ramen in tonkotsu broth is another popular lunch choice. There’s already a commotion going on at lunchtime.

Northern Thai noodle soup based on coconut curry is known as khao soi, and it is a dish best enjoyed on chilly evenings. In all of Los Angeles, the khao soi at Chiang Mai Urban Thai Kitchen in Valley Village may be the best you’ll find. Chiang Mai’s crispy pork topped khao soi is our favorite, but you can also get it with chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, tofu, or vegetables.

Not only is the khao soi excellent, but so are the pork larb, spicy beef salad, crispy rice salad, and the pork curry with braised belly. Purple sticky rice and a purple butterfly pea drink will make you happy no matter what color your curry is.

Which, chicken or chicken, would you like? For its one and only dish, BongChu goes all out with Andong braised chicken, which bursts with flavor from both its sweetness and its spicy undertones. There’s a pleasant heat that lingers on the tongue and palate throughout the meal; radish kimchi, with its watery texture, is served on the side to offset this. The large plates come with your choice of bone-in or boneless chicken, potatoes, and glass noodles that are chewy and absorbent.

These dishes are meant to be shared: Couple size and family size are both available. The dish would be improved by the addition of rice cakes or mozzarella. As a final course, scorched rice can be mixed with whatever else is left on the plate.

BongChu doesn’t serve sweets or alcoholic beverages. The hen is the main attraction once more. The first location of this Korean chain in the United States. Obviously, it’s right in the heart of Koreatown in Los Angeles.