First Look: Breakfast congee, gangsta rap and Chinese doughnuts at Little Sister DTLA


“The soundtrack is gangster, dude,” said Tin Vuong, as he scrolled through songs to play in the dining room of Little Sister, the downtown outlet of his Manhattan Beach restaurant. “I pumped up the sound system in here.”

Vuong, who is known as much for his penchant for gangsta rap as he is for his pan-Asian small plates and Eastside 626 Provisions, is getting ready to open his new downtown restaurant Monday, across from Bottega Louie. But unlike the Manhattan Beach version, he’ll be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in the downtown location.

For breakfast, a little “Hello” by J. Cole, along with congee with cilantro, scallions and fried shallots; housemade pastries; pho ga, Vietnamese chicken noodle soup; Vietnamese sticky lotus rice with pork, chicken and roast chile; Chinese savory doughnuts; and banh mi made with spicy fried fish, tomato jam and tamarind dressing.

At lunch, the Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” with cold ma po doufu, or spicy tofu; goi cuon spring rolls; gai lan, or Chinese broccoli, with pickled mussels, salted pork and fried shallots; Vietnamese crepe; salted cod fried rice with an egg omelet, sweet and sour pork and crab chile sauce; and more banh mi sandwiches.

When the sun goes down for dinner: Drake’s “0 to 100” on the stereo and salt and pepper lobster with butter fried shallots, fried chile and garlic; com gai roti, or Vietnamese roasted chicken; and dry green curried pork ribs, pineapple and dates in a hot pot on the table.


“It’s going to be a little more intense,” said Vuong. “Here I have to be careful, being so close to the San Gabriel Valley. I have to be really on point with flavors.”

Vuong will also have a charcuterie board, and plans on using all the odds and ends in his XO sauce.

“There isn’t a full bar because there are a lot of bars in this area,” said Vuong. “Come eat here, then go bar-hopping, then come back to eat late-night.”

Vuong plans on having a late-night menu of breakfast food and a small selection of the dinner menu. So yes — congee after drinks at 7 Grand is a definite possibility.

Vuong, whose other restaurants include those under the Blackhouse Hospitality umbrella (Abigaile, Steak and Whisky, Wildcraft, Ocean Bar and Lounge and Dia de Campo), has primarily focused his time in the South Bay area. This will be his first move east of the 110 freeway, despite growing up and currently living in the San Gabriel Valley.

“There is a lot of Asian food here, but a lot of bad Asian food,” said Vuong. “It was just the right timing to move in this direction.”


Little Sister will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7 a.m.

523 W 7th St.Los Angeles,


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