Something new: The Rice Place


When Ah Lang a.k.a. the Angry Korean Lady closed a few months ago, we all wondered what would take its place in Imperial Plaza. Our questions were answered when The Rice Place opened with a menu of Asian-inspired dishes with great names.

Owner Trinh Vo is living her dream of owning her own restaurant, and part of that dream is having fun with her food. Dishes like Go! Go! Rice Burger, Bang Bang Rolls and Carnitarian add a touch of whimsy to her menu.

Rice Place - Bang Bang Rolls

Bang Bang Rolls are stuffed with BBQ bulgogi, lettuce, mint, bean sprouts and rice noodles. It’s served with the house special sweet rice dipping sauce. Photo by Thomas Obungen

We stopped by for lunch and were greeted by a table of packaged dishes. Bae Bae Cakes, Spam Jun Musubis, Rice on Rice Rolls (traditional summer rolls with poached shrimp and pork belly) and Bang Bang Rolls are $7 each and grab-and-go ready.

I’m not really a rice girl, but I really enjoyed the Bae Bae Cakes. Ever so slightly sweet sticky rice, char siu and lup cheong in each bite and the right amount of garlic soy sauce to add a garlic flavor without making everything soggy.

Rice Place - Bae Bae Cakes

Bae Bae Cakes are a fun name for these two mini sticky rice cakes. The owner loves to eat them at home, too.

Rice Place - Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner ($12 at lunch) features jidori free-range organic whole chicken leg.

Even though it’s called Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, you can order the signature dish at lunch. You’ll know you did the right thing after you taste the housemade Hainan ginger sauce it’s served with. Soak the chicken in it. Pour it on your rice. Dip some Bang Bang Rolls in it. Drench your table with it because you’ll want this sauce on everything.

Crack sauce aside, if you don’t feel like rice or chicken, there are noodles, meat skewers, stews, fish and vegetarian dishes.

Rice Place - Boat Noodles

The Boat Noodles’ ($10) thick rice noodles aren’t too soft or chewy, but just right. You can choose shrimp or char siu to be stir-fried in.

Rice Paper - Stew of the Day

Our Stew of the Day ($10) was coconut milk-based, like Vietnamese curry. It was flavorful, light and brothy.

Rice Place - Grilled Tri-Tip

Grilled Tri-Tip ($10.50 at lunch). When you can, choose the chicken curry seasoned rice; it’s a winner. Photo by Grant Shindo

The dinner menu, while different from lunch, has many of the same dishes with small variations.

The Rice Place
725 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite C119B
Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5:30-9 p.m.
Sat., 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and 6-9:30 p.m.