Chef Kat Hong’s Hobby Is Ordering Pizza, Soup, and Fried Chicken

The chef-partner of YANGBAN in Los Angeles shares her go-tos for delivery.


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Chef Kat Hong’s weekend hobby is scrolling through DoorDash trying to figure out what she and her family will have for dinner. In between hanging out with her 4-year-old daughter, Sia, and her husband, John (with whom she runs the modern Korean American restaurant YANGBAN in downtown Los Angeles), she’s “just making a bunch of fake carts.” Well, not fake, she clarifies: “After I spend half my day just browsing and making carts, saying, ‘Ooh, that looks good,’ I finally pull the trigger on one of them later that night.” 

Out of all of the places she’s almost ordered from and actually ordered from, three themes have emerged: pizza, soup, and fried chicken. “Usually when I’m ordering delivery it’s because I’m tired or pressed for time, so I naturally gravitate towards comfort foods and splurge foods,” she explains. Here, she shares her family’s go-to orders from the restaurants that have her stamp of approval (and continued business), along with a few add-ons that include a “massive” char-broiled pork platter and inventive kimbap.

For Pizza

Shin’s Pizza

The Order:

Mortadella Slice: “It’s visually stunning because they just drape a big slice of mortadella right on top, so it has some height. It looks like a rosette. And it’s a very balanced white slice. The creaminess of the ricotta and the peppery mortadella work together, and it’s everything you could want: crusty, chewy, toasty bread; something creamy, pillowy, and soft; and then the savory, spiced meatiness of the mortadella.”

Cheese Slice: “Shin’s reminds me of East-Coast-style pizza — especially the sauce, which is semi-sweet. The minute I tasted it, it had a very nostalgic flavor, and brought me back to nights grabbing a slice after bar-hopping and hanging out with friends in New York. I just love cheese pizza.”

Also Add to Cart: 

  • House Ranch: “It’s got a thinner consistency, not thick and gloopy, and great for dipping the crust. What I love is you can really taste the dairy. It’s also got lots of nice herbs, and tastes more garlicky than store-bought ranch.”

  • Celery Salad: “All of the sides are interesting and delicious, but I really love how crisp and crunchy the celery salad is.”

  • Italian Ice: “I always try whatever the seasonal flavor is: Meyer lemon, citrus, watermelon. It’s always great.”

Koreatown Pizza Company

The Order: 

Cheese Slice: “I grew up on Pizza Hut and corner slice shops in New York. So sometimes when I want pizza, I don’t need it to be super cerebral or fancy — just comforting and simple. There's a place in my heart for soft, doughy, cheesy, melty pizza.”

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  • Chicken Parmesan: “When they have it, Sia always wants chicken Parm. It’s made with the same sauce as what’s on the pizza and served with thin linguine. She actually prefers it to the pizza. I end up trying to convince her she likes pizza so I can have some.”

  • Goldsticks: “These are breadsticks that have been stuffed with a creamy sweet potato mousse. I think all Koreans love a simple roasted goguma (sweet potato) — it’s a very common Korean snack, and I often eat it with some Maldon flaky salt and kimchi. Similarly, I love to get the goldsticks and top them with a little kimchi. It takes my quick weekday snack and makes it more luxurious.”

For Soup

Afuri Ramen

The Order: 

Yuzu Tsuyu Tsukemen: “When we were in the pre-opening stages of YANGBAN, John and I used to walk over to the Arts District location of this ramen shop all the time. I love how salty, savory, and dimensional the dipping sauce for the tsukemen is. It shows just how much yuzu can round out or make a sauce more unique — it inspired the vinaigrette for the broccoli banchan at YANGBAN.”

Also Add to Cart: 

  • Fried Chicken: “We usually get this for the family because it’s seasoned so well with soy, garlic, and ginger. It’s lightly crispy, karaage-style.”

  • Fried Gyoza: “My daughter always wants the gyoza, and we love that these ones are super crispy. They come with Kewpie mayonnaise with a little well of hot sauce for dipping, which is creamy and totally different from the typical soy-vinegar sauce.”

Shin Chon Seolnongtang

The Order:

Seolnongtang (Ox Bone Soup With Brisket): “I always get the classic. The broth is rich but clean, and the meat is sliced thin and tender. I also love the condiment, which is meant for meat dipping: a mix of soy, onion, garlic, Korean radish, and jalapeño. It’s prepared so well that I often ask for two! The soup is salty, umami-rich, and has crunchy, refreshing vegetables to break up the richness of the broth, adding a change of flavor and texture.”

Hangover Soup: “Sometimes we get the hangover soup, too, when we’re in the mood for more veggies. There’s brisket and a bunch of braised cabbage in a soybean- (a.k.a. doenjang-) based broth. The cabbage is dried and then braised, so it’s soft but still has a little bite to it. The whole thing is nice and savory. I love that you can add extra brisket for a reasonable price, and it also comes with rice.” 

No Need to Add to Cart: The Banchan comes free with every delivery. “The banchan tastes more homemade than other places. You can tell the owner is making them herself and reminds me of when I lived with my mother-in-law right after the birth of my daughter, and she made me lunch every day. There is fresh kimchi — just cabbage and the spice paste — and classic aged kimchi, so you can get two different flavor profiles.”

Pho Legend Noodle & Grill

The Order:

Pho With Extra Brisket: “Because this is on the border of Koreatown, the meat in the pho is Korean-style: thinly shaved brisket. I prefer it to the raw sliced beef, which is thicker and meatier, and I always get an extra order of brisket.”

Also Add to Cart: 

  • Charbroiled Pork With Rice Plate: “This is huge! We can get one plate for the whole family. The pork is a thicker cut and it’s grilled really well with a charred flavor but still juicy. John and I think it’s the best quality meat, cooking-wise and preparation-wise, we’ve ever had at a Vietnamese restaurant.”

  • Bean Curd-Wrapped Shrimp Paste: “I love this dish and order it at every Vietnamese restaurant. You can get it as an appetizer with pickled carrots, sliced cucumbers, and dipping sauce, or as an entrée with vermicelli noodles.”

Kimbap Paradise

The Order:

Fish Cake Soup: “Sia loves fish cakes and noodles, so we get her this soup, which usually has a mix of the sliced fish cake sheets as well as the round and tubular ones. Sometimes there is braised Korean radish, which I like but Sia doesn’t, so I gladly pick it all out in my serving! I also request some fresh chrysanthemum from time to time to wilt in the soup, and she’s happy.”

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  • Pork Cutlet Kimbap: “I'm always looking for something fried in my kimbap. It’s a nice texture contrast, like when there is a crispy youtiao in a Chinese steamed rice roll or cruller in a Vietnamese spring roll. In kimbap, it’s usually shrimp tempura, so when we saw pork cutlet it was perfect because I wanted something fried, and John is a huge meat eater. That’s the best of both worlds for us.”

  • Marinated Beef Kimbap: “This is classic bulgogi-seasoned beef: meaty, sweet, salty, and a little smoky.”

  • Sesame Leaf Kimbap: “This roll is so herby and fresh. Perilla is a pretty strong, dominant flavor so it really stands out. It’s nice to order a variety of different flavors so that it doesn’t get repetitive. We like to mix it up with a few different rolls: one with meat, another with seafood, and one vegetarian.”

For Fried Chicken

Gus’s Fried Chicken

Whole Fried Chicken: “We are a big fried chicken family, so we always get the biggest order: the whole chicken. It’s fried really well. I like the breast, John likes thighs and drumsticks, and Sia just picks the outside off of everybody’s pieces. She’ll tell us she loves fried chicken, then I give it to her and just the outside disappears! It also does double-duty for breakfast. I am always running late in the morning, so I’ll shred up the leftover fried chicken and put it in a tortilla with Sriracha, sometimes potato chips or cucumber, and wrap it up to eat while I drive to work.”

Also Add to Cart: 

  • Mac ’n’ Cheese: “Sia loves the mac ’n’ cheese here! It’s soft and gooey, and she especially likes to rip off a piece of the crispy fried chicken exterior and combine it with a little mac ’n’ cheese for the perfect bite.”

  • Collard Greens: “I don’t feel like a meal is complete without some greens or veggies — my husband disagrees — so I always have to add some braised greens. I also can’t pass up nice, smoky, tender greens anywhere, really.”

Jesse Boy 

The Order:

Fried Chicken: “The chicken is always really crispy. I'm a sucker for a really good soy-based sauce, and this one is really well-balanced with sweetness, citrus, and soy. I can’t stop eating it, so really it’s the sauce that makes it for me.”

Also Add to Cart: 

  • Fried Cauliflower: “I've never been one of those people that does vegetarian on a certain day of the week — I just eat what I want. But lately I’ve been thinking about it a little bit more, and I like how at Jesse Boy, I can still feel really satisfied with nicely breaded fried food and a good dipping sauce…but with cauliflower instead of chicken if I’m having one of those days.”

  • Fries: “This is for Sia! They are also great dipped in the citrus soy sauce.”


  • Photos by Stan Lee

  • Courtesy of Kat Hong