A no-frills eatery delivering a wide variety of classic, comforting Mexican dishes
November 23, 2022
Chanthavong’s palate takes him across the city — and across global cuisines
by Kristen Wile
Folks in the restaurant industry know good food, so we want to know where they eat when they’re not cooking. In this series, we ask a local chef, bartender, restaurateur, or food artisan to share their favorite restaurants in town and what they order there.
This week, we check in with Michael Chanthavong, Lao cuisine food truck owner and former executive chef at SouthPark restaurant Mizu and executive chef of O-Ku — both concepts from Indigo Road Hospitality Group. Chanthavong’s palate takes him all over town — and across global cuisines.
Benny Pennello’s, NoDa
Massive pizzas available with cheese, pepperoni, or two monthly specials
Mike’s order: Pizza by the slice
Cook-it-yourself Korean barbecue from the owners of Seoul Food Maat Co.
Mike’s order: Unlimited Korean barbecue
Pho Hoa, Plaza Midwood
This pho on Central Avenue is a favorite among chefs
Mike’s order: Pho combination
Pro tip: “Ask for the herb oil that is scooped out of the broth during prep — that oil usually has green onion in it and will bring more depth to the broth,” Chathavong says.
Choi’s Korean and Wing, South Boulevard
Traditional Korean cuisine, including wings, noodles, and more
Mike’s order: Everything on the menu
Lee’s Cafe, Fort Mill
Authentic Chinese food, sushi, and Americanized Chinese fare on one menu
Mike’s order: Crispy pork intestine
Pro tip: “Ask for the iPad menu — it has more traditional foods than your usual sesame chicken,” Chanthavong says.