Check it out by clicking The Chronicles tab at the top of the page, or by clicking HERE.
Check it out by clicking The Chronicles tab at the top of the page, or by clicking HERE.
Words by: Chelsea Green
Photos courtesy of: Animal
Animal may not have a sign in the front, but you can tell what it is just by the hustle and bustle that it seems to engulf every night. Crowds come from far and wide to partake in the creative cuisine served up by chefs and owners, Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook. The dishes at Animal are rich, indulgent, and often “pork-centric,” incorporating sweet and savory ingredients to tickle your taste buds. What’s even cooler is that we’re neighbors! Animal is located on Fairfax in Los Angeles, right down the street from The Hundreds’ Rosewood location. We got a chance to ask Dotolo and Shook about their ideal meal, how to get the full experience when dining at Animal, and even a little bit about the foie gras controversy that’s swirling around California. Check out what they had to say!
What are some tips for people who have never been to Animal in order to have the ultimate experience?
VINNY: Don’t order too much your first time. A group of four is best to share. Lots of people get excited and order a lot of food and can’t finish the meal. Mix it up, order some light dishes and some heavy ones.
JON: Come with a group and order a variety of food, don’t just order pork.
Describe your ideal meal.
VINNY: Anything really well executed and seasoned well with good friends and family.
JON: My ideal meal isn’t always about what I am eating but about who I am eating with. Food is an international language, it opens up the doors to so many different kinds of experiences.
If you could sit down with someone over dinner, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you guys talk about?
VINNY: I would love to sit down with Thomas Jefferson. He was such a pioneer in so many regards. I would love to just listen to his philosophies of life he knew so many things from gardening to politics, language and travel.
JON: It would be all my family members that I’ve never met who passed away before my time. I would love to discuss with them the evolution of our family tree.
Come with a group and order a variety of food, don’t just order pork.
VINNY: It’s a little silly, to tell you the truth. There are so many other fights to be fought in the American food system. They are only having effect on 1% of the population, if that… For us, it’s an ancient ingredient that we have a great deal of respect for and has given us so much inspiration. It was hard not to fight for it and we’d love to see the ban overturned..
JON: At the end of the day, I think it’s bullshit. The phrase is a play on the Beastie Boys song “You’ve Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party,” and it was to help bring awareness to the ban.
Advice for those who want to open a restaurant of their own?
VINNY: Know the numbers of operating a restaurant because, as good of a cook someone may be, it’s still a business and it needs to make money in order to stay open. Have a message. Find a need and fill it. Contribute to your local food scene.
JON: Make sure you work in another restaurant for a while first, so you are sure you’re into it. And realize that the reward is going to be more a personal gratitude than a financial gratitude.
VINNY: For sure. We just have to write it, which takes time, and we don’t seem to have a lot of that right now.
JON: I hope so, one day. Just finding the time is difficult.
Can you tell us about the other restaurant endeavors you have throughout the city?
VINNY: We are currently working on a few projects. What I can say is the things we are interested in and hopefully we will have the opportunity to open them:
¢‚¢ Tasting menus only
¢‚¢ Italian American
JON: I feel the same as Vinny on this, your restaurants always reflect where you are in your life.
Lastly, are you more of a sweet or savory guy?
VINNY: Both. Can’t dismiss the sweet. I love to finish a meal with a great dessert.
JON: I’m more of a savory guy. They say that savory are more sexual, and sweet are more emotional, what are you?
This is an acrylic painting called “Eye Scream” that I’ll be contributing to Benjie’s group art show at Backside in Echo Park. Since the exhibition is dessert-themed, I wanted to go with something a little more lighthearted and fun, so I turned it up a notch with some very Adam Bomb-reminiscent ice cream characters… And if you’re a Thrifty’s/Rite Aid fan (like I am. Every night. Like, a really big fan), you’ll get the cylindrical scoops and flavors.
Along with my piece, “Sweet Tooth” will showcase the work of Sophia Chang, Eric Dressen, Twinkie Chan, and Benny Gold, amongst others.
Benjie is our head Graphic Designer here at The Hundreds – chances are the The Hundreds t-shirt you’re wearing right now was designed by his (and his team’s) hand. Here’s that grubby hand from behind his filthy desk, holding the flyer for tonight’s show.
That’s enough of Benjie. Bri plays a much better ring card girl.
So in case you haven’t figured it out by now, The Hundreds is throwing a CARNIVAL inside this weekend’sFYF Fest, right by the main entrance – now you don’t have to Twitter your thumbs between sets. Stop by, say hi, and win some The Hundreds prizes while you’re at it!
Today is the day! The third installment of our Fall 2012 footwear is now available at our flagship stores and authorized retailers. They’ll be available through our Online Shop on Tuesday, September 4th, so keep your eyes peeled.
Ruslan Karablin aka Russ aka SSUR has always been one of our largest inspirations in Streetwear. Speaking of Streetwear or Street culture, the native New York artist, designer, and business-brand owner is maybe the last of a dying breed (although he disclaims, “I’m not dying!“). Firmly planted in the notion of social commentary, cultural parody, and illicit subversiveness through the medium of graphic t-shirts, caps, and apparel (while focusing on specialized distribution through elite retailers worldwide), SSUR is pure and passion-filled, the embodiment of one man’s artistic vision and ingenuity.
This morning, I visit Russ at his new studio and operations front in Los Angeles. They’ve recently moved in – just under a week ago – so things are still coming together. Wet paintbrushes, cardboard parcels of inventory, loose wiring… It’s a carbon copy of SSUR’s past workspaces in New York, where the back room is buzzing with worker bees and the air pungent with smoke.
One of SSUR’s greatest hits — that you are likely aware of if you’re anywhere within Streetwear’s tentacles — is the COMME des FUCKDOWN series of product offerings. Indisputably the most ubiquitous Streetwear snap-back of the year, COMME des FUCKDOWN was actually introduced to the world 8 years ago under SSUR’s sub-label The Cut (Russ’ partnership with Jamie Story of J. Money).
Due to popular demand, Russ brought back the parody a couple years ago and with a generous boost from ASAP Rocky’s co-sign, the hat has exploded across the hip universe, trickling down to a range of pieces from graphic tees to socks.
Russ is also about to repeat that success with the new CHANNEL ZEROhat and tee, the rip is obvious, and the debut response has mirrored COMME‘s success.
Obviously, snap-backs are a big play with SSUR – especially considering their historical roots in t-shirts and caps. Here are some upcoming additions to the line, as well as some first-time sneak peeks.
SSUR’s paid it’s dues, established the cred, and is now finding traction with a new generation of Streetwear youth who were still in diapers when the Russian was running the streets of New York. The time of reckoning has arrived…
We’re all super excited over here at The Hundreds for what this upcoming weekend has in store …
FYF is upon us, it’s creeping up real fast, and we couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this year’s festival. We’ve got some great surprises in store for you too!
Here are the set times to help plan your days. Some of our must-see acts include the White Arrows, FIDLAR, Allah-Las, Ceremony, Against Me!, Refused, Quicksand and M83, just to name a few.
I’m up in Jessie’s downtown loft. Jessie Andrews, perhaps most notably an adult film star at the age of 20, but also the face of a young, driven generation – saddled by an online existence that grants the opportunity to live large and free. Where anything and everything is possible.
And so, for Jessie, her days are busy. She has picked up the hobby of making jewelry as a side gig, but with the support of notable figures in the scene and her already-rabid following, Bagatiba is blossoming into it’s own.
Jessie works from here, at her kitchen table. WWE wrestling plays loudly in the background and she is in the middle of packing for a 9pm flight to Miami. But she is focused and patient with her creative process, with the jewelry. It started off because she’d admire jewelry from other designers, but would balk at the price tag. So why not just do it herself?
Concentration is the game.
The pieces are succinctly packaged with a custom wax stamp.
Jessie toys with some new ideas:
The Scarlet bracelet:
The belly chain:
And she makes a custom one-off bracelet as we talk.
She’s flying to Miami tonight to DJ. Yes, Jessie also DJs, but she actually knows what she’s doing. Having shared a past with Borgore, you’d think she’d inch towards playing dubstep, but she’s chosen a different lane. Right now she’s playing a Rick Ross and Avicii mash-up that she made for kicks, but now she’s seriously considering playing it at the club.
Doin’ it herself.
I take you through the process and reasoning behind our Fall 2012 photoshoot….
What’d you do this weekend? We spent our Saturday afternoon exploring the Mad Decent Block Party at the LA Center Studios, where we hung out with 10,000 of Southern California’s biggest dance party enthusiasts.
Our dudes 3Ball MTY played an epic set while fitted in the newest The Hundreds gear, Kid Sister was on the scene, Theophilus London acquired an audience member’s purple bra during his performance, and Bonde do Role sprayed fans with milk from some pretty interesting looking squirt guns…
The Hundreds’ very own Julian Berman was in the trenches snapping photos of all the mayhem. Check ‘em out and relive the party magic!
We hope you cleaned out your closet – what, with the school year approaching (and already here for some of you), and our second installment of our Fall 2012 collection in stores now…
It’s time to make room for something a little different, a stylish fresh start if you will. TREAT YOURSELF!
If you haven’t been able to stop by one of our flagship locations, don’t worry! We did it for you, and snapped a couple of shots of Umi and Hopa wearing the most recent releases while we were there. But seriously, all the new new will be available through our Online Shop tomorrow. Get it while it’s hot!
Check it out by clicking The Chronicles tab at the top of the page, or by clicking HERE.
Photo by: Natalia Mantini
Mollusk, Venice, California.
Bill, Beau, Trace Marshall, and Chad Marshall of the Brothers Marshall:
Featured photo by: Natalia Mantini
Words by: Chelsea Green
Everybody needs a creative outlet, whether its painting, designing, thrifting, or writing œ but who really thinks of the possibility of making that creative outlet into a career? Silke Labson did just that, and as the brainchild of Shown to Scale, she is able to immerse herself in all of her favorite things 24/7. She’s her own boss, and she’s making it happen in the e-commerce world by offering Shown to Scale’s house collection alongside up-and-coming designers, unique styles, and one-of-a-kind vintage pieces for men and women to click through and buy through her online site. From new beginnings, struggle, and a lot of trial and error, Labson took over a friend’s boutique in New York City and turned it into what it currently is today, a fast-growing mecca for style mavens everywhere. We caught up with Labson in the midst of a really crazy time of year œ trade show season! She was amazing enough to fill us in on who she is, how Shown to Scale came about, advice for those who have always dreamed of turning their passions into a thriving business, and what she’s got planned for the future (that of which includes a well deserved vacation).
You took your friends closing vintage store over and that was the beginning of what is now Shown to Scale œ had you ever thought of plans to create a boutique and a line before that?
No, never. I went to school for photography and did it part time in San Francisco while I was working at Betsey Johnson. Then I interned at Milk Studios in New York and worked at the Marc by Marc Jacobs store. The whole time I knew I needed to move into something that was creative. I initially thought I would just move into visuals at Marc Jacobs.
How did you come up with the name Shown to Scale? Does it have a special meaning?
The store I took over was called Old Made. In order to keep the legend of my friend’s store alive, I named the store Made New York. Then I got in trouble because someone owns the word “Made.” Crazy, right? So, I had 24 hours to come up with something else. In the middle of the night when I was delirious I looked at my world map and saw at the bottom it said “this is not shown to scale.” I initially started laughing because I thought it was ridiculous that a map of the entire earth would say that. Then quickly realized that was it, Shown To Scale. Thank god they idiot proof maps because that is how the line was named.
You are self-taught when it comes to sewing and designingœ what did the learning process consist of?Do you have advice for people interested in starting a business or line?
I can barely draw, I can’t sew and I still don’t even know how to put a pattern together. So, I did a lot of tracing of body forms I found on the internet and gathering of images to explain my designs. I then hired a pattern maker and sample maker in NY to make my garments. I knew the first sample would be total crap but I could at least work from there and better explain my idea once I had something physical. In the end it’s a hell of a lot cheaper and quicker then spending thousands on school.
My advice for people who want to start a business or a line is to prepare yourself to be poor as hell and work seven days a week for awhile. Unless you are independently wealthy – it’s a tough life, but more rewarding in the end.
What are the inspirations behind your designs?
I pull a lot of inspiration from my collection of ’70s, ’90s and early 2000s vintage. I really love rave and scene kids like in Party Monster. My designs usually start by being really insane and then I water them down until they are wearable. If I produced what my first drawings were I would be a wonderful designer for the lovely ladies in “Drag Race with Ru Paul.”
Fall 2012 was inspired by ’90s grunge and a mix of Hot Topic trends I wore when I was in middle school. I just cut out the embarrassing styles like my Kittie babydoll shirt or Deftones windbreaker.
For Spring 2013, I went to Tulum, Mexico to design. I got obsessed with the old ladies and their leisure travel apparel. Everything looked ridiculously loud and drew attention to their wrinkles and they didn’t give a shit. I made my own version of leisure wear but a little sexier. Spring 2013 is basically slutty granny gear.
You carry other brands on your online shop aside from your own œ how do you go about curating the brands that you carry?
I’m not too picky about brands as much as the garments themselves. I grew up mixing designer and thrift store goods. I had a Chloe and Marc Jacobs shoe collection and then all of my dresses were from the $1 sale on La Brea in LA. So I mainly look for pieces that fit the looks I am trying to capture for my store rather then just buying for the name.
Who is the Shown to Scale customer?
Someone who can’t easily be defined or put in a category. They don’t focus on being on trend they just wear what they like and people always notice them. They should all have blogs and get paid tons of money for showing off their “cute” outfits.
I grew up mixing designer and thrift store goods. I had a Chloe and Marc Jacobs shoe collection and then all of my dresses were from the $1 sale on La Brea in LA.
What was it like showing at Agenda for the first time this summer?
Freaky because we were the only full women’s line showing in NY. It was like I was infiltrating a weird fashion boys club where the free PBR runs out way too fast and the boys dress up like it’s a streetwear fashion show. Overall the response was really great and I’m excited that they are bringing in a new women’s section. I need more estrogen in the room.
Who are some of your fashion icons?
Aaliyah, Gwen Stefani (early years) and Kelly Bundy. There are so many more. Too many hot women in this world.
How would you describe your personal style?
Bi-polar and simple. I will wear all black for four days and then turn into Rainbow Bright. I try to always keep things in balance and not go overboard even when I am wearing insane prints.
Favorite vintage find?
A Dark Castle crew neck sweatshirt in size Small.
What are you listening to right now?
This second? Some Latin record. In general – Diiv, Lemonade, Azealia Banks “Fantasea,” King Krule, Neutral Milk Hotel, Blood Orange and Frank Ocean.
Does music influence your designs?
I am more visual so, rather than the music itself I am inspired by music videos. If you have a music video and the song is bangin’ – then you have a complete emotion to inspire you. In the past few months, I fell in love with Blood Orange’s “Champagne Coast” video.
You recently showed Sagan Lockhart’s photos at your space in Brooklyn œ any plans on more opening in the future?
We did do a photography show at our showroom in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Sagan is my long time friend from Saugus and is like my son. The show went crazy with almost 1,000 people in attendance and a line that was blocks long. I am so proud of him! I was super excited that all of the Odd Future guys were there to sign the prints as well as DJ Deanie Man (True Panther) and Ben (Lemonade). People really loved it so I am working on a second event around February in a larger venue with a secret musical guest and some great photographers.
Now that I have the means to throw events myself, I just want to give a place to all the kids and grown ups who want to be a part of all this Shown To Scale craziness.
I grew up going to all ages hardcore and emo shows (HA!) and remembered how much fun that was. Now that I have the means to throw events myself, I just want to give a place to all the kids and grown ups who want to be a part of all this Shown To Scale craziness. Except my next one won’t involve kids crying and girls fighting to get in. I’ll make sure you can all fit.
Upcoming plans for you, the store, and the brand?
This year we have been focusing on expanding the line to do women’s shoes, handbags and accessories. My goal is to relaunch our men’s line in a year for all those boys who want crazy fits.
We are doing a pop-up store in September for a few months in the Lower East Side of NY and then continuing e-commerce afterwards. Things are growing so quickly and it’s just myself and4 other people in our office. I need to focus on wholesale and online before I reopen a new location. In the near future, I would like to re-open a NY location and one in LA.
Until then, I am going to focus on planning a vacation. This year has been insane.
If you’re not familiar with Ben Tour, then you’re way overdue for a lesson. Let’s get you caught up…
Influenced by both street and fine art, Tour combines paint, ink, and ballpoint sketches to create unparalleled pieces. Some may describe them as dark, others whimsical, but always stunning. Own a part of Tour’s exclusive work, which happens to double as a t-shirt, at these limited retailers.
The release of The Hundreds’ third delivery of footwear is upon us (in stores Thursday, August 30th, to be exact), and we’re offering a bunch of exciting colorways and styles. Not only are these new looks unique and exclusive, they’re comfortable. It’s funny how comfort seems to get lost in the shuffle sometimes – not with The Hundreds. Treat your feet! Check out a sneak peek of the upcoming collection below.
FYF is right around the corner… next weekend to be exact. Plus, Sean, Phil, and co. have just added The Faint to Night 2!
We look forward to closing the summer out with you, so if you haven’t gotten your tix, do so HERE. And look out for our own special contribution to the music festival once you step inside.. more info forthcoming on that…
The Hundreds is pleased to introduce the New Era Adam Keychain, a unique addition to your accessories collection… and a fun way to guarantee that you’ll (hopefully) never lose your keys again. It’s a win-win situation. Check out the photo below!
The New Era Adam Keychain will be available this Thursday at The Hundreds flagship stores and next Monday, August 27th, through The Hundreds Online Shop and at local The Hundreds accounts.
We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you this very important announcement from Natalia Brutalia.
The Hundreds socks are currently available in our Online Shop.
all photography by Natalia Mantini
The time has come for the second delivery of The Hundreds Fall 2012 collection to make its way into stores worldwide, and into your closet! We’re coming at you with a ton of brand new styles, designs, and graphics this season. It’s tough to show you all the cool stuff in one post so we decided to handpick a few highlighted tees and hats for your viewing pleasure. The line will be available for purchase tomorrow, August 22nd at The Hundreds flagship stores as well as authorized retailers, and through theOnline Shopon Monday, August 27th. Check it out!
Photos by Julian Berman
This past weekend saw the opening of artist and designer Steven Harrington‘s diverse solo exhibition, “Inside Out,” at Known Gallery on Fairfax (open until September 1st). The multi-faceted artisan debuted prints, paintings, sculptures, and installations all reflecting — and indicative of — his uniquely Californian upbringing. The Hundreds was onhand for Steven’s setup, buildup, buildout, and blowout…
photography by Julian Berman and Zachary Marshall
videography by Zachary Marshall
What is Born X Raised?
Los Angeles, in the Summer of 2012, this was the question on most street-culturally literate minds. From Fairfax to downtown, Silver Lake to the coast, the Born X Raised flag flew high, strong and proud across the backs of family, friends, and crew.
I first met Spanto way back in the day at The Hundreds’ early stomping grounds, Brooklyn Projects. But it wasn’t until recently that we crossed paths again, this time to discuss the inevitable and obvious rise of the Born X Raised brand.
Rising from the anarchic, embattled dust and eventual gentrified stucco of Venice, California, Spanto (with the help of 2Tone and Merf) has modeled Born X Raised along his own life narrative. Brotherhood, camaraderie, and loyalty are preeminent themes from someone who has seen his neighborhood turned upside down by yuppies, from someone with a storied gang life, from someone of Native American heritage. Born X Raised begins there and fragments into notions of rarity, brand exclusivity, and old-school Streetwear philosophy.
The first time I saw Born X Raised’s “Snooty Fox” t-shirt, I was already hooked. These particular Old English letters, in the style reminiscent of early b-boy crews and gang sweatshirt iron-ons, were what lured me. I knew that whoever implemented them into their designs wasn’t relying on a downloaded font (and I knew this because I had to build that exact lettering set myself for some of our own graphics). It’s this subtle nuance of a design choice that separates the go-getters from the no-getters. You must consider the deliberation and patience invested into this brand, to do it accurately, to see that Born X Raised is here to stay.
Explain the concept of Born X Raised.
Where you come from molds you into what you are. You should be proud of that place, whether it’s a slum or suburb. I was born and raised in Venice and I’m extremely proud of that, to say the least. We grew up with rules, morals, there was a hierarchy and pecking order, we all had close family ties, everyone knew everyone, from kindergarten to the end… everyone knew everything everyone did. If you fucked up, or whatever, it was on blast the next morning and you were dealing with it by night. I miss it, I miss being in the mix like that.
Most people that grew up in Venice took extreme pride in coming up in such a beautifully diverse, colorful, dangerous city. We closely monitored who actually was and wasn’t from Venice. People from where we were from were exposed to a great deal of violence and had to live by the rules that were passed down from earlier generations. With the crush of gentrification, and when the “new” Venice residents started to move in and run around shouting, “Hey bro, Im from Venice!” it was like they were slapping us in the face.
What was it like growing up in Venice in the 80′s and 90′s? And what’s it like today?
Venice in the 80′s and 90′s was amazing. Venice was immersed in culture, from the skaters and surfers, to the gang members, artists, lowriders, punk rockers, and even just normal residents. It was a low-income neighborhood when I was growing up so it was very different from how it is now. Not a lot of people wanted to come to Venice back then and we liked it that way.
We had a Locals Only attitude back then (and still do). It was like a big playground for us from the neighborhood to the beach and it belonged to us. We had everything we needed and everything everyone else wanted. Waves, girls, drugs, parties, sunshine, it was the never ending summer. A lot of people admired our lifestyle and tried to buy it and duplcate it but it never really worked unless you were from there.
The new residents moved in, tore down most of our landmarks and changed everything in the name of progress and safety, kicked out most of the people that built Venice into what it was. Venice was the most radical place on Earth and now it’s gone. Corporate has moved in and pushed out most of the mom-and-pop local run businesses and now it just kind of looks like every other coastal city with big money surrounding it. Money ruins everything.
You’re taking a very exclusive and deliberate approach with the branding and sales strategy. Sometimes I feel like the old school streetwear philosophy of staying pure and limited is lost on the new generation of kids. Would you agree?
Yeah, for the most part. There’re still some brands out there flying the flag though. With Born X Raised it’s more about the message and the art of the thing, the creativity of the project. This is a business, but there is more than one way to get things done. Which is to say, our ultimate goal isn’t just pushing units. We want to make stuff that the people connect to, and we want them to grow to trust us in what we do. I’m really happy making Born X Raised, I wanna give it all away to my people (which I probably do too much of anyways). We’re excited about making good stuff that we want to wear, and it’s not about booking crazy orders with chain stores and pushing crazy units for us. This is a thing I’ve wanted to do for a long time and it means a lot to us.
You’ve served time, you have a pretty colorful past with your organization… But your brand doesn’t necessarily reflect that lifestyle or mentality. Is it important for you to not portray the image everyone expects of you? And to stay unpredictable?
Yeah I had to serve a year a ways back and that’s really where I decided I wanted to go full throttle with Born X Raised. The notebook I bought from commissary is still the one I bring to meetings now.
It’s not about me not wanting to portray that certain image, I just feel I have more to offer. I think most people expect me to make a bunch of “predictable” product. When everyone expects me to go left I’m going to make a hard right.
You’ve mentioned a goal to enter Japan with distribution and also be closely tied with Japan. Why is Japan so important to you and BXR?
I feel like Japan is a place where you can flourish with a specialty brand, and where they are very concerned with the end product, with the craftmenship, and with the story of your brand. I don’t know this firsthand, not having done business there, but when I see the brands that have come out of Japan into the U.S., its seems like they are really serious about what they make. Something about Japan appeals to me, and I can’t really place what it is exactly.
If you didn’t have BXR, what would you be doing?
Man that’s a damn good question. I’d be in the mix somehow, I’d be doing something really good or really bad.
answered by Spanto
The Mesa Pack is almost here and we’re really excited to share it with you! The pack consists of hats, socks, and wovens featuring the brand new custom The Hundreds Mesa Print. All items in The Mesa Pack will be available for purchase on Thursday, August 23rd at The Hundreds flagship stores as well as authorized retailers, and through theOnline Shopon Monday, August 27th.
The Pretend Woven
Featuring The Hundreds’ team rider Carlos Zarazua:
The second delivery of our Fall 2012 collection is almost here, and we wanted to give you a heads up about another themed pack we incorporated into this season – the Digi Camo Pack.
The Digi Camo Pack consists of tees, hats, and jackets that are met with our custom designed Digi Camo print, a print created with both militaristic and technological undertones. Scroll down and take a look…
The Rivers M65 Jacket
Words by Chelsea Green
Photos courtesy of Nicole Fung
I’ll start this Chronicle off by saying that I’M STARVING! This interview made me hungry, Nicole Fung’s blog That Food Cray !!! makes me hungry. I feel the sudden urge to go to McDonalds and buy a McFlurry and an apple pie, then grab a slice of pizza or some fried chicken, and snack on some strawberry flavored Pocky (in no particular order). I’m in a food k-hole, my eyes are bigger than my stomach, and I’m not complaining. That’s basically what That Food Cray !!! will do to you, so thanks Nicole… diet starts Monday. But seriously, the minute her blog pops up on your computer screen, your taste buds will immediately begin melting down in the best possible way. Currently located in Hong Kong, Fung ventures to all the best spots to taste test mouthwatering cuisines, and it doesn’t stop there. She travels all over the world with her camera in tow, and I’m still wondering how she doesn’t weigh a bajillion pounds. Either way, That Food Cray !!! rules – it offers an inside look at cool new restaurants, exotic meals, and all-around amazing looking food for people who may not otherwise have access. Oh, and she also churns out rad DIY recipes that I’ve definitely tried at home. Hello… an avocado with an egg in the middle, anyone?? Read on to learn more about That Food Cray !!! and see how Nicole Fung eats like a queen. This is for the foody in all of us.
What was the initial inspiration behind your site? Did you wake up one day and just decide that you had to start it?
I guess my inspiration is sort of obvious – food, food and food! I love eating and I love discovering new spots to eat at or new food to try. I actually became sort of an accidental food blogger. I started on Instagram, and subconsciously the majority of my photographs were of food. People just assumed I was a food blogger. I’ve always been passionate about two things, food and travel. My dream is to be able to eat and travel for a living. So naturally, I thought it was time to dig deeper in the world wide web on a more official platform where I could share my food experiences.
I’ve always been passionate about two things, food and travel. My dream is to be able to eat and travel for a living.
You have quite a history with food, your parents owned a restaurant growing up. Tell us more about that and how it’s brought you to where you are today with That Food Cray.
Half my childhood was spent in my parents’ restaurant. At first I thought it was super boring because my parents wouldn’t trust me to do anything. As I got older, they started giving me a little more responsibility including helping out with simple prepping tasks in the kitchen. This is where I learned to fold dumplings, roll spring rolls and wrap wontons. I guess that was when my interest with food all started. When I moved to Hong Kong, I fell in love with food all over again. I was eating at so many good spots with such good food. I felt like I needed to create some sort of food journal where I could document everything for personal reference, yet be able to share those experiences with friends/family back home. That’s how That Food Cray !!! all started.
What is it like living in Hong Kong? How long have you been there?
I’ve been in Hong Kong for two years now. I sort of have a love/hate relationship with Hong Kong. More so on the love side, but it can get a little crazy here sharing an island with seven million other people. Hong Kong’s food is amazing, the shopping is awesome, and there’s always something to do, but there are just way too many friggin’ people. It can get really irritating when you have to wait over an hour for a table, especially when you’re starving! All that aside, the food options here are endless. There’s always a new restaurant popping up or a new creative menu chefs cook up. You can essentially find anything in Hong Kong from Chinese Islamic food, to Michelin-starred restaurants, to pick your own seafood spots. It’s one of the best places in the world for food!
Do you have a favorite food or cuisine? If so, what is it?
Hmm, that’s a hard question! I love almost all things raw, which leads me down a path of favorites such as sushi & sashimi, steak tartare (especially the Korean yukhoe version) and anything with a runny yolk (like eggs benedict or Japanese onsen eggs). My favorite cuisine is Japanese food! The Japanese are super meticulous about everything and it’s definitely reflected in their food.
My favorite cuisine is Japanese food! The Japanese are super meticulous about everything and it’s definitely reflected in their food.
Do you enjoy cooking yourself? Any signature dish that you’re a pro at making?
I love cooking, but I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been slacking since moving to Hong Kong. There are just so many places to eat here that we usually feel like going out to eat after a long day of working. It’s a bit depressing when you’re cooking in a kitchen the size of a closet. I wouldn’t say I have a signature dish really. There’s so much diversity in food out there that I find myself trying to make things based on cravings. Since I don’t cook as much as I’d like to, they are few and far between in terms of consistently reproduced dishes. If I’m in a hurry on the weekend, I usually make baked avocados with an egg in the middle.
What are you up to when you’re not scoping out the best meals and restaurants?
I may or may not watch a lot of vampire-based TV shows, small stakes gambling playing Big 2, trying to burn off some of those excess calories via the gym or planning out what to do next with That Food Cray !!!
Do you have any dietary restrictions? Would you ever go vegan or vegetarian?
I’ve been trying this new “diet” that my fiance put me on where I eat clean on the weekdays and eat whatever I want on the weekends. I’m sure some people could definitely abuse this policy, but generally I’m pretty good about not going overboard on the weekends and overeating. By eating clean, I mean avoiding carbs and sugar, not ordering dessert, and no snacking. That way, on the weekends, I can go HAM on whatever without feeling super guilty or having to work my ass off in the gym. I could never go vegan or vegetarian. Humans surely didn’t evolve eating plant-based diets. I love beef and eggs way to much to be giving it up. I’m one of those crazy people that like my meat super bloody too and I love raw beef.
You can essentially find anything in Hong Kong from Chinese Islamic food, to Michelin-starred restaurants, to pick your own seafood spots. It’s one of the best places in the world for food!
Is there a food that you absolutely despise?
Celery, baked beans, licorice, liver (except for p¢t© and foie gras), and bitter melon. Everything else is fair game. I recently tried turkey testicles and bull penis for the first time at a restaurant in New York called Kenka, but I was not feelin it at all. The testicles tasted like mushy liver stuffed in a chewy rubbery sac. The penis was kind of bland and the texture was similar to tendon, but the urethra really creeped me out. I’m going to have to pass on the cock and balls next time.
You’ve traveled quite a bit, and it shows on your blog. Is there a certain city that you believe has the best food?
Tokyo’s food is amazing. While Hong Kong’s local food is both cheap and delicious, I feel that the consistency isn’t across the board. Once you leave the lower echelons, it can sometimes be hit or miss when you eat up a few levels in Hong Kong. But in Tokyo, the general respect and appreciation for food means whether you’re eating Japanese fare or a Japanese-rendition of foreign food, you’re very likely to get something super on point.
How do you hear about the places you eat? Is there a specific person you really trust with recommendations?
Most of the places that I go to is through word of mouth (especially when traveling), people I follow or other “more official” blogs that do it as a business. The HK professional blogs are obviously up-to-date on new openings, so they’re a good gauge. There is one particular person who I’m confident in his recommendations, Chris aka Crizzarito. He’s such a #hater that IF by chance he likes something, you KNOW that it’s most likely good. Another person I trust is Christina K. She’s a food editor so she goes out to a lot of tastings and generally knows what’s up working directly in the industry. I remember when we were looking for brunch options, she must have sent over like 5-6 spots from e-mails she got in her inbox.
What direction would you like to see That Food Cray go in?
To be honest, my goal at the start was to just document my food experiences. I did get invited to a few tastings within the first month, but I was VERY new to the blogging world and from there I came to realize quickly that free food is never really free food. So, unless you want to come across as the asshole that always shows up to tastings and events to get free food without giving back, you have to be selective. While it’s cool to grow traffic and numbers, at the end of the day I got into this for my own interests rather than that of anybody else. Whether only a handful of people read it, or a ton of people read it, I just want to keep it as something fun and enjoyable. There’s a lot of value in doing something you enjoy, regardless of any money thrown in. I do feel that food is something that is increasingly democratic and universal, and it would be fun to do some random things like t-shirts, hats and collabo sneakers down the line, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.