RiceBox Impression - DTLA

Somehow, this joint manage to show up in Hong Kong’s newspaper so off I went today despite the pouring rain.

Parking’s a b***h

Friendly owners Leo and Lydia were on site.

Look at these beasts!

OG Char Siu Bao

A hefty bao with above average fluffiness and thick chunks of solid char siu. However, the bao’s just too thick which threw off the bao-to-filling ratio.

Combination Rice Plate - OG Char Siu, Porchetta/Siu Yuk, Grandma’s Curry Beef Stew
Let’s talk about the curry first. It’s definite grandma style as the potatoes and carrots are cooked to a meltingly soft consistency which some people will find mushy. Flavor’s good with a bit of a kick but the beef is too lean and it’s been stewed for too long resulting in dry and stringy meat…

The char siu here are lean and meaty with solid charred flavor but because of how lean it is, the texture comes off as firm despite the meat being reasonably juicy. I personally prefer a fattier cut.

Note: This char siu’s nowhere close to the level of Lung King Heen’s or Tin Lung Heen’s in Hong Kong and to be fair, neither did their price come close!

The porchetta/siu yuk is really a cross of the two with the meat resembling a traditionally cooked porchetta while the skin is what you can find on siu yuk…except that it’s extra crispy here.

These babies are chopped into cubes that are, IMO, too small. I find them a touch bland and a bit too lean.

Hong Kong Style Egg Waffle

Reasonably crispy and taste good but like many places that serve HK egg waffle in SGV, it’s too dough-y in the center. The best one I’ve had are always half hollow which gives a lighter mouthfeel.

The Chinese BBQ here aren’t necessarily better or worse than what’s on offer in SGV but they’re certainly a bit different in both flavors and texture. With that said, I’m just glad that the DTLA area finally got a Chinese BBQ joint which is sorely needed.


you’re back in hkg again?

Nope. Why do you say that?

He went to Ricebox at the Spring Arcade in DTLA.

ah yes–i was tagged in the post in some way (i got a notification) and based on the first sentence lazily assumed it was a hong kong restaurant.

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tried it a few months back, thought it was nothing special, especially considering they come from a restaurant famiily in Hong Kong I was expecting much better.

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Agreed on the expectation and not being special but their products taste a bit different than traditional Chinese BBQ which I think caters to the Western palates better.

I can assume they are catering to Western palates with this type of food. My thoughts are might as well not bother opening a “siu mei” concept, should have just done American style BBQ. I think we’re in the age of not having to adjust our food for the rest of Los Angeles anymore. We have Ding Tai Fung and Sichuan Impression on the Westside and they didn’t feel the need to dumb it down.


Second stop of bang with @PorkyBelly after Chinatown After Dark

Char Siu

50/50 on fattiness. Good quality pork with a clean porky flavor, firm texture and reasonably juicy. Definitely better than Sam Woo or Ho Kee on this visit. Also, chef Leo told us that we can request a fattier cut…but we only found out after we finished our meal…

Soy Sauce Chicken

Cooked well and breast meat is reasonably juicy but lacking soy sauce flavor as you can probably tell from how white the meat is. It’s also especially odd that it’s paired with the scallion-ginger paste…we were told that it’s to appease the American palate.

Overall, it’s a good Chinese BBQ alternative to the usual suspects in Ho Kee, Sam Woo, Sham Tseng, etc…According to chef Leo, he’s doing R&D on roasted duck so he may serve them soon :heart_eyes:


This concept seems very similar to Asian Box, which is Vietnamese inspired. I go there sometimes for lunch, a place that doesn’t aspire for anything higher than being a solid lunch option that’s healthy-ish.

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I’ll stick to the Char Siu from Paul’s Kitchen on San Pedro St. Been going there for that for the last 40 years. It’s unlike any other in LA/OC, and my family and I just love their version.

Been a while so trying their char siu again for the third time. Not bad at all especially when you’re deep into Downtown LA!

char siu box
RiceBox’s char siu is cooked very consistently. Just like before, the meat is, for the most part, lean, firm, reasonably juicy, and having just a touch of that charred edges on certain pieces. There isn’t much of a glaze on the char siu, but there’s now a sauce, with big notes of hoisin sauce(?), that RiceBox pours over their char siu now.

Inclusion of lightly pickled daikon and cucumbers are much appreciated to cut through the rich char siu.


541 S Spring St #131
Los Angeles, CA 90013