NPR

Starry Kitchen Cookbook: The Rocky Journey Of A Famed Underground Restaurant

Nguyen and Thi Tran started Starry Kitchen out of desperation. Now the couple has a new book with their best recipes and stories of their adventures in the culinary world.
One of Starry Kitchen's signature dishes is Singaporean chili crab, which is served with beer buttermilk beignets to sop up the spicy sauce. Source: Ari Shapiro/NPR

A decade ago, Nguyen Tran ran a small private company producing independent films, while his wife Thi Tran worked in advertising. When the economy crashed in 2008, Nguyen's projects began to run dry and Thi lost her job the following year. Out of desperation, they started an illegal underground restaurant in their North Hollywood apartment. They called it "Starry Kitchen," named after Thi's favorite Cantonese cooking show from Hong Kong.

Eight years and many iterations later, the underground restaurant no longer exists. But

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