When the health department shut the restaurant down for operating out of their home, the duo opened a brick-and-mortar storefront which subsequently closed, then resurfaced as a pop-up inside Chinatown’s Grand Star Jazz Club. While the ambience is nothing special at the moment, the Trans have big plans of opening a permanent restaurant again. Nguyen Tran, the gregarious face of the restaurant known for clowning around Chinatown in a banana suit to drum up business, kicked off a Kickstarter campaign to raise $500,000 and put Starry Kitchen on the brick-and-mortar map.
Meanwhile, diners can reserve a place at two communal tables in the Jazz Club and sample the hugely popular crispy tofu balls. These crunchy on the outside, smooth and silky on the inside appetizers pair perfectly with a tasty orange dipping sauce.
Japanese udon noodles cooked in rendered chicken fat and clarified Irish brown butter star in the aromatic and addictive garlic noodle dish. Guests must reserve ahead of time to savor Singaporean chili crab, a market price dish that is served with a rich chili crab sauce. The earthy and spicy sauce perfectly complements the succulent crab meat.
For dessert, the apple fritters with condensed milk and cooked apples evokes memories of the best childhood donut breakfasts. Dense Pandan churros sport a green tinge and a nutty flavor from the Pandan leaf extract, and rest in a pool of heavenly coco kaya cream sauce.
Diners won’t want to miss Starry Kitchen’s unique Pan-Asian fare, and may even feel inspired to open the wallet a little more for the SK team’s “go big or go home” fundraiser.