Food

Why this beef stew has a huge cult following

This is not your average beef stew.

In this episode of Hot Dish, we dig into the pot-au-feu at Los Angeles's Cassia restaurant — a dish so exceptional that it now has a major cult following, not to mention rave reviews from the two toughest restaurant critics in the country who call it "brilliant" and "remarkable."

So what makes this beef stew so special? Anyone can throw beef, veggies, potatoes and broth in a pot and call it beef stew, aka French pot-au-feu, right? But when Cassia chef Bryant Ng reinvented the dish with Southeast Asian flavors, the entire food world took notice.

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"I grew up eating Vietnamese pho," Bryant said. "I thought about an amazing classic French pot-au-feu dish I had tasted in the past and the idea popped into my head to create an updated Vietnamese take on the dish using pho broth."

Bryant traveled to Vietnam just to learn how to make the perfect pho broth that he uses to braise tender short ribs and vegetables and transform into his famous pot-au-feu.

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"It's a very thoughtful cross-pollination dish that's a combination of Southeast Asian and French food," Bryant said.

But it's so much more than that. As TODAY editor Brooke Sassman put it, "I'm a very picky eater, and it's one of the best things I've ever tasted in my life."

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