Named after the Tagalog word for “taste” or “flavor”, Lasa is the brainchild of Filipino-American brothers Chad and Chase Valencia. Located at Unit 120, a culinary incubator in the belly of Chinatown’s Far East Plaza, LASA offers a set four-course dinner menu that changes seasonally based on the produce the siblings source from local farmers’ markets.
Paired with traditional Filipino ingredients, Lasa’s food can be best described as Filipino- Californian – the brothers’ second generation response to the food they grew up eating.
“I’d look around LA and the only Filipino sit-down restaurants I’d see were Jollibee [fast food] chains,” Chase, the elder brother and general manager, says of the inspiration that pushed them to open Lasa. “That’s the stuff our parents cooked. No one from our generation was offering their two cents, so we decided to fill that void.”
Born in LA to immigrant parents from Pampanga, known as the culinary capital of the Philippines, the Valencias have always been surrounded by their motherland’s food.
In true Filipino fashion, their childhood memories consist of countless family gatherings, which often took place around the kitchen table and involved consuming healthy amounts of adobo, kaldereta (goat meat stew) and Filipino spaghetti – a concoction in which the rich sauce consists of banana ketchup, sugar and chopped hot dogs.
Their upbringing inspired them to pursue careers in the restaurant industry, with Chase exploring management and hospitality and Chad delving into cooking.