Chef Sok Hor is cooking up old favorites in new ways at Asian Farm Cuisine in Redwood City. Since opening in the spring, Hor and her family have been refining the menu, figuring out what resonates best with hungry guests at 3176 Middlefield Road.
Owned by Hor’s son Nick Khov, the restaurant has drawn diners from as far as San Jose just for the pad thai burrito. The dish riffs on a favorite pad thai recipe at Asya, another Redwood City restaurant owned by Khov, featuring Japanese and Thai cuisine at 3215 Oak Knoll Drive. The burrito, however, is unique to Asian Farm. Khov’s younger brother, Try, got the idea from social media to bring together the best of both worlds, adding noodles to burritos. He saw potential in a ramen burrito.
“I said, ‘Why not try something new and see where it goes?” Try Khov said.
This spirit of inventiveness extends to other dishes, too. There’s a shrimp tempura banh mi that takes inspiration from Vietnamese sandwiches and incorporates elements from a sushi roll with special sauce, imitation crab and deep-fried shrimp. There’s also udon served with kimchi and Spam.
“In this day and age, it’s not that you open a store and people will come,” Khov said. “Everybody wants an Instagrammable picture and a new concept they haven’t done before.”
Originally, the family aimed to offer a fast-casual Chinese food experience at Asian Farm.
“Think of a Panda Express — or a Chipotle-style restaurant,” Khov said.
With those restaurants already so firmly established, they found it hard to stand out from the competition, so they looked at how to improve the business model to create better food.
“A lot of the issues we had were logistical: How could we better prep the food and keep it for customers that come later in the day?”Khov said. “Now, we cook the food as people order to maintain freshness and quality, while minimizing food waste.”
Asian Farm offers takeout and delivery. On-site, there are a few tables guests can sit at after ordering from the counter. Those who visit also can pick up freshly baked croissants, muffins and bagels at Brew Coffee — the cafe and bakery owned by Khov’s brother-in-law Ken Huot — which shares the same space as Asian Farm.
Brew Coffee is also is now collaborating with Yessi’s Cake Creations to serve cupcakes alongside matcha lattes, blended drinks with boba, coffee and other treats.
“In the future, we might scale it up and do cakes. It’s just great in terms of local businesses doing partnerships with each other. I find that really great, especially during these times,” Khov said.
From the family’s Donut Delite in San Mateo to bagels in Oakland, the Khovs been cooking up different creations throughout the Bay Area for more than 20 years. Khov said they’ll continue to do so, including at Asian Farm and Brew Coffee.
“We’re still experimenting on a few things,” he said. “Our current menu is not going to be our final menu.”
Asian Farm Cuisine, 3176 Middlefield Road, Redwood City; 650-679-6448.
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