Food News

Food & Wine Recognizes Khao Noodle Shop’s Donny Sirisavath

Donny Sirisavath of Khao Noodle Shop
Donny Sirisavath of Khao Noodle Shop Kathy Tran
click to enlarge Donny Sirisavath of Khao Noodle Shop - KATHY TRAN
Donny Sirisavath of Khao Noodle Shop
Kathy Tran
People can’t get enough of Khao Noodle Shop, and today’s news around the East Dallas restaurant is Food & Wine naming its Donny Sirisavath among the magazine's 10 Best New Chefs in America for 2020.

This is the 32nd year for the list, which will be in the June edition of the magazine. While the list sticks mostly to major cities, it’s a diverse one and includes two pastry chefs.
  • Nick Bognar: Indo, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tavel Bristol-Joseph: Hestia, Emmer & Rye, Henbit, TLV, and Kalimotxo, Austin
  • Trigg Brown: Win Son and Win Son Bakery, Brooklyn, New York
  • Camille Cogswel: K’Far, Philadelphia
  • Eunjo Park: Kawi, New York City
  • Niven Patel: Ghee, Miami
  • Daisy Ryan: Bell’s, Los Alamos, California
  • Lena Sareini: Selden Standard, Detroit
  • Donny Sirisavath: Khao Noodle Shop, Dallas
  • Douglass Williams: Mida, Boston
As the article says of list:

“This year’s class will shape the future. They are resilient and brilliant, thoughtful and caring. They are leading their teams through unprecedented circumstances, navigating choppy waters with sheer determination and optimism as their compass. They are the people who not only will help rebuild their shattered industry, but also will eventually help it thrive in new ways—through their cooking, their resolve, and their vision for what a more equitable future in restaurants might look like.”

Food & Wine has a profile of Sirisavath, documenting his life growing up in his mom’s restaurant and following in her footsteps.

click to enlarge Moutsayhang (served on a plate in the restaurant, pre-COVID) - ALISON MCLEAN
Moutsayhang (served on a plate in the restaurant, pre-COVID)
Alison McLean
They get into Khao, of course. If you’ve been in Dallas the last year and given any attention to the city's food scene, you already know the concept in the article’s words:


“The size of Khao Noodle Shop (tiny) betrays the level of flavor coming out of the kitchen (huge). Most plates on the menu are priced between $5 and $7, including the beloved boat noodles, a shockingly rich and deeply umami bowl of rice-noodle soup made with charred beef-bone broth, fistfuls of toasted spices like star anise and black peppercorns, and a hefty pour of pork blood, for texture. Same for the trio of shrimp bites, pulled from the fryer just seconds before they arrive at the table with a shatteringly crisp crust. The real stars of the menu, however, are the sakoo—luxuriously chewy tapioca dumplings bursting with crisp pickled sweet radish. They aren’t easy to make and are traditionally only eaten for special occasions and celebrations. But for Sirisavath, the day-long process is worth it. ‘Every day I’m celebrating my memories of my mom. Every day I’m celebrating life.’”

Of course, Sirisavath is one of many who are giving Dallas meals we’re excited about. If Food & Wine wants to recognize just one of them, we’ll take it for now and celebrate. But we’ll also go ahead and give a nod to everyone hustling right now to keep going in the restaurant industry of 2020.
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Taylor Adams has written about the restaurant industry for the Dallas Observer since 2016. Now the Observer's food editor, she attended Southern Methodist University before covering local news at The Dallas Morning News.