photo credit: Erin Ng
Good Good Culture Club
The people behind Liholiho Yacht Club are exceptionally good at churning out food that doesn’t adhere to a single theme—kung pao sweetbreads drenched in black vinegar glaze or house-made spam, anyone? The same goes for its newer sister spot, Good Good Culture Club. The Mission restaurant draws from the team’s wide range of backgrounds and combines a ton of different cuisines. The result? Original, flawlessly executed dishes you can’t find anywhere else in town.
But first, you’ll want to get comfortable, which isn’t hard to do here. This spot exudes lighthearted energy. The door and window frames are painted neon pink, tropical murals cover the walls, and plants hang above. You’ll see as many families with kids as there are couples on dates or friends clinking cocktails across the communal table while E40 and Jay Rock pump through the speakers. Everyone is celebrating, even on the breezy rooftop deck with teal booths and leafy palms. It’s a quieter respite from the spirited echo inside.
The dishes on the menu are an eclectic mix-up of ingredients that come together with the confidence of a five-year-old sing-screaming along to Peppa Pig’s album in the car. The varied textures and spicy, sweet, and umami-heavy flavors in every dish—influenced by Laos, the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, and more—will command your attention. A thick, well-spiced Lao sausage (inspired by the chef’s mom) is accompanied by Thai dipping sauce that gets a kick from Mexican pasilla chiles. Plantains are glazed in a funky achiote-miso sauce, and soft shell crab tempura is piled over a swath of creamy green curry ranch.
GGCC is another one of those small plate situations, so come with a group and go to town. The double-fried boneless chicken wings (two per order) are the best bites you'll have all night. They arrive glistening from the adobo glaze, and are stuffed with dense sticky rice and what seems like an entire head of garlic. Order one per person or prepare to potentially end a friendship over who gets the bigger half. Other highlights include the refreshing crying tiger shrimp, a take on crying tiger beef, which gets an unexpected crunch from fried butter beans hiding underneath a tangle of red cabbage. And the hodo yuba salad is drenched in a black bean sesame miso dressing that’s nutty and slightly sweet.
Despite having to scroll through the menu and order by QR code on your phones, the night is still filled with personal touches. The friendly staff will take the time to explain the stories behind a dish (like the Halo Ha-Lao, a play on Halo Halo, and a nod to the chef’s Laotian background), and make sure your wine glasses stay full. The fact that you’re well taken care of is all the more reason why you’ll be tempted to stay until the kitchen’s closed. Kick back, hang out all night, and keep the stuffed wings coming.
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Good Good Chicken Wing
We eat anything stuffed with garlic sticky rice, but this dish is our favorite way to do it. The boneless chicken wing is adobo glazed, and is the perfect vehicle for the dense rice. We’ve never come here and not ordered this.
Creamy tofu salad comes tossed in a black bean sesame miso dressing that we now want to put on everything. Start with this.
Crying Tiger Shrimp
A refreshing dish that packs heat. This is exactly what we want to be eating on a nice summer day at the beach, thanks to the cool coconut-makrut cream, perfectly cooked shrimp, and fried butter beans that crunch like airy corn nuts.
Poppyseed Steam Bun
These beef belly bao mostly end up tasting like a mouthful of poppyseeds. Skip them to fill up on the more interesting dishes on the menu.
Housemade Red Curry
Flaky catfish, bamboo shoots, snap peas, and carrots that soak up the rich red curry. If we were locked out of our apartment in the freezing cold and had to choose between a down puffer jacket and this dish to stay warm, we’d go with the latter.
Mom’s Lao Sausage
This Lao sausage is aromatic, tender, and spicy—and you can add even more heat with the pasilla pepper jaew scoop that comes on the side. Don’t be surprised when you end up in an intense game of rock, paper, scissors to compete for the last bite.
Llano Seco Bone-In Pork Belly
You can’t go wrong with a plate full of glistening, charred pork belly. GGCC’s version is thinly sliced and topped with seasonally changing fruit like achiote-dusted pineapple or peach chunks, and it should be on your table.
The Halo Ha-Lao is a play on words: It’s both a nod to the chef’s Laotian background and the name for the cloud-like Filipino frozen treat. Their rendition is made of ube ice cream, shiso shaved ice, tapioca, and mango jellies, and it’s the best dessert on the menu.