Chef's Table with Poi Dog's Kiki Aranita
Poi Dog's brick-and-mortar store may be gone but its flavors live on.
What's happening: Co-owner Kiki Aranita continues to sell sauces, chili pepper water, seasonings and more via her online store and at stores locally and across the nation.
- Aranita's much celebrated Hawaiian restaurant in Rittenhouse and its corresponding food truck were among the first restaurants to shutter in 2020 due to the pandemic.
- While she doesn't anticipate opening a new storefront, she has continued to work in Philly kitchens, including at Volvér.
Fun fact: "Poi Dog" is a pidgin term that refers to the complexity of the Hawaii-style food she made, which also draws upon Filipino, Japanese and Portuguese cuisines.
Axios asked Aranita a few questions for our culinary advice series, Chef's Table:
Must-have tool in your home kitchen: Long cooking chopsticks.
Go-to grocery store: Herman's Coffee and Di Bruno Bros. — tied!
Most overlooked spice: I put ginger powder in everything.
Favorite home-cooked meal: Pork and water chestnut wontons.
How to unplug: Spy movies.
Favorite local restaurant and dish: It's Musi. Hands down. (Editor's note: Ari Miller, the chef and owner of Musi, is her husband.)
- Yes I admit bias but regardless I crave their pastas constantly.
- The pasta keeps changing but I love every iteration — the paprika sorprese with the most perfectly and delicately cooked flatiron steak ... I dream about this. I get upset when I can't have it. I'm upset right now that I don't have a plate in front of me.
Quick tip for at-home cooks: Making your own chili crisp means working your way through your spice cabinet — spices can lose their flavor so use up your spices!
- And ensure lasting friendships when you bestow little jars of homemade chili crisp to your friends.
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