Take a Tour of Sesame LA, the Homey Superette in L.A.’s Chinatown
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When perfumer Linda Sivrican found the sunny little storefront on N. Hill Street in L.A.’s Chinatown, she imagined it as a temporary site from which to launch a fragrance collaboration with a local chef. But then she expanded her vision. “I thought, Let me do something fun that the community could really embrace,” Sivrican says. “That’s why I turned it into a market.”
Now Sesame LA is a neighborhood superette that doesn’t simply feed the community; it engages it as well. The rotating roster of dishes, such as pickled eggplant and vegan duck noodle soup, is prepared by Asian elders in a kitchen run by Sivrican’s mother, Judy Mai Nguyen. Some dishes are made by Buddhist monks and the proceeds are donated to their temples. A curated selection of Vietnamese candies and snacks line one wall while Asian condiments, both familiar and artisan, line another. Produce is sourced from local regenerative farms.
“I wasn’t expecting our story and my mom’s food to resonate with so many people,” Sivrican says. But it has. “It’s given us an opportunity to celebrate our culture.”