LASA began as a series of backyard dinners before landing a weekend residency at Unit 120, the culinary incubator run by Eggslut's Alvin Cailan in Chinatown's Far East Plaza. Despite a smorgasbord of competition at the storied strip mall, LASA, which means “taste” in Tagalog, stands out with a brand of Pinoy-California cuisine where traditional Filipino dishes utilize seasonal ingredients. Now a brick-and-mortar shop after taking over the original Unit 120 space early this year, LASA was created by brothers Chase and Chad Valencia; Chase runs the front of the house while Chad, a veteran of farm-to-table restaurants including Canelé and Sqirl, does the cooking. For lunch, stop by the takeout window for a tender chicken adobo over garlicky jasmine rice or “O.G. pancit” with egg noodles, patis-cured egg yolk and calamansi butter. For dinner, sample a seasonal menu of regional offerings such as fresh lumpia with kale, grilled chicken gizzard skewers and condensed-milk ice cream. From inspired plates to the casually elegant family-style vibes, it comes as no surprise that LASA is at the forefront of the Filipino food movement.
Credit: Danny Liao