Local Foragers: The Winners Are In!
Local Foragers: the Winners are In!
The people have spoken! The winners of this year’s Local Forager Contest are: Little Red Dot Kitchen, Rice Paper Scissors, Mozzeria, and Banh Mi Love You Long Time. These four, decided by the votes you cast, will each receive a free spot at this year’s Street Food Festival plus wisdom from the folks here at La Cocina and experts from Whole Foods Market. The entrants were impressive, ranging from a gluten-free bread maker to a bread pudding queen and a major SPAM lover. We wanted to shed some light on two of the winners and get you excited about trying their eats in a few short weeks.
First up: Little Red Dot Kitchen, named for how Singapore is often represented on a map, is dedicated to bringing the Malaysian-Singaporean snack bak kwa to the USA. What began as a part-time project by five tech engineers in 2011, is now a full-time gig for one co-founder, Ching Lee, and marketer Karen Kuk. The company’s bak kwa is similar to jerky but rather than dehydrate the meat, they use the traditional grilling practice. As a result, says Lee, it stays softer and more tender than jerky with a flavor that’s “juicy, smoky, and very savory.” Made by hand in small batches, Lee and her team want to build a community-focused company; for their spicy chipotle beef variety this means using beef sourced from Sonoma and berries from Santa Cruz as a sweetener. Little Red Dot plans to bring all four of their flavors (classic pork, pork lite, turkey, and spicy chipotle beef) to the Food Festival, with recipes perfected by the engineers themselves. When asked why Little Red Dot wants to be at this year’s event, Lee proclaimed bak kwa is ”an awesome little snack and the world should know about it!” We’re excited to get to try it and hope you are, too.
Next, the ladies behind Rice Paper Scissors, created an amazing “If I was Your Vendor” Justin Bieber parody to get your votes (clearly, it worked). Valerie and Katie, co-founders of the pop-up Vietnamese cafe, will be feeding SF their Charcoal-Grilled Baby Octopus and Pork Belly Banh Mi (and have you wash ‘em down with Vietnamese iced coffee). In their own words, the reason why you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for these two:
“People dig our Pork Belly Banh Mi because it’s truly handcrafted: the pork belly is brined in fish sauce and caramelized and brown to perfection, and everything from the mayo, chicken liver pate, and daikon pickles is housemade.
We’re all about bringing Vietnamese street food you can’t find anywhere else — foods we’ve researched and sought after in Vietnam. The Grilled Baby Octopus to share one of our favorite street food discoveries. The octopus is perfectly charred, and served with shredded cabbage and salt and pepper with lime juice over it. Interesting, savory, bite-sized — the perfect street food.”