In 2017, VOX Kitchen opened in the heart of Little Saigon, bringing the ‘Chifa’ culinary movement —a fusion of Chinese and Peruvian cuisines—to Orange County. The award-winning restaurant enters into the new year with an expanded kitchen and dining room, new menu offerings, and second location set to open in late 2024. The expansion allows Founder and Executive Chef Viet Ngyuen to dig deeper into the culinary ethos of VOX Kitchen and explore Chifa cuisine through the lens of seafood, a staple in Peru.
VOX Kitchen is one of nearly a dozen pan-Asian fusion restaurants under the KEI Concepts umbrella, a trailblazing culinary group helmed by Nguyen. As the group’s founder, CEO, and executive chef, Nguyen is passionate about connecting diverse communities through the universal language of food – an ethos evident across all his concepts. Nguyen sees each restaurant as a canvas for this mission, where the culinary creations are not just dishes but cultural ambassadors.
Today, Nguyen unveils an enhanced VOX Kitchen—a testament to his unwavering commitment to the brand’s innovative ethos. The enlarged dining room, boasting an additional 60 seats, elevates the restaurant’s capacity to 120, creating a more immersive dining experience. This expanded space serves as a canvas for Nguyen to not only diversify his menu offerings but also to introduce an open-concept kitchen. This deliberate design choice not only enhances the dining experience but also fosters a deeper connection between guests and the inclusive spirit of Chifa.
New additions to the menu include shareable starters like citrus-forward Ceviche and fried Calamari with Peruvian aji sauce. Dishes like stir-fried Seafood Chifa Fried Rice and Seafood Saltado, a twist on the Peruvian classic Lomo Saltado, boast a medley of seasoned calamari, scallops, basa, octopus, and shrimp; while shellfish takes center stage in dishes like Garlic Butter Prawns seasoned with gochugaru. Guests can continue to enjoy signature dishes that blend Peruvian and pan-Asian cuisines like Vox’s signature Garlic Noodles, parmesan-dusted Elote, and Saltado Shaken Fries with steak. Playful desserts like the new Tajin-dusted Mangonada juxtapose lychee and chamoy, while the Caramel Crunch Sundae toys with cancha, Peruvian corn nuts, as a topping. Seasonal additions to the beverage menu include a soul-warming Spiced Apple Green Tea served with whipped caramel apple butter, pumpkin spice, and cinnamon.
“Culinary creativity is a borderless concept,” comments Nguyen. “Culture and cuisine are powerful connectors, giving people a sense of pride and identity. With all our restaurants, our mission is to celebrate culture while bridging diverse communities through the universal language of food.”
Nguyen opened his first restaurant, Súp Noodle Bar, in 2014 and since has grown the KEI Concepts roster to include, VOX Kitchen, Gem Dining, Nep Café, ROL Hand Roll Bar, Kin Izakaya, and INI Ristorante, all of which offer distinct interpretations of pan-Asian dining experiences pulling global influence from Italian, French, and Japanese cuisines. In 2024, the innovative restaurant group continues to expand adding three new concepts to its roster, Kei Coffee House, SEA Dim Sum & Seafood, and The Sugarcane Press, a cold-pressed cane sugar juice bar. A second VOX Kitchen is slated to open at South Coast Plaza in late 2024.