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The Cambodian Refugee Behind LA’s Amazing Donut Scene Gets a Documentary

Plus, the scene in Huntington Beach and Neighborhood BBQ’s Halloween special

Ted Ngoy holds a rack of donuts in LA
Ted Ngoy holds a rack of donuts in LA
The Donut King documentary [Official photo]
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

You might not realize, but the primary reason LA has such an amazing doughnut scene is because of Ted Ngoy, the Cambodian refugee who will the primary focus of an upcoming documentary called the Donut King. The rags-to-riches story comes after Ngoy helped sponsor hundreds of visas for Cambodian refugees and helped set many of them up with donut businesses across the Southland. At one point in the 1990s, more than 80% of donut shops in the LA area were owned by Cambodians. It sounds like the epitome of the American Dream until things go downhill for Ngoy, who got caught up in gambling and eventually lost most of the donut empire. The trailer is below, with the full documentary premiering on streaming on October 30.

In other news:

  • The LA Times has the story on Huntington Beach’s restaurant scene, where places are dealing with servers who are barely making any tips, patrons who refuse to wear masks, and a general slump in business due to lower tourist traffic.
  • West Hollywood is trying to provide a boost to its restaurant industry with a tourism board-promoted Eat and Drink Week starting today and going until November 1, with various options for dining in and taking out. See the list of participating restaurants here.
  • Gale’s Restaurant in Pasadena is raising funds to support the Mount Wilson Observatory with a free lunch or dinner for a $500 donation, which will be matched by Jerry and Gale Kohl, up to $50,000. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 626-432-5705.
  • Burger pop-up Heavy Handed will be teaming with Off the Menu for a Halloween special at Yamashiro on October 26 from 4 to 10 p.m. with short rib smash burgers and beef fat fries.
  • Popular cookie bakery Fleurs et Sel from Lara Adekoya is coming to the Grove this weekend from noon to 4 p.m. [LA Mag]
  • Anthony Carron, who helped open 800 Degrees and is charge of the culinary at Top Round, is working on a new restaurant in Solvang.
  • Finally, Neighborhood BBQ is doing a Halloween special with pulled pork and smoked beef sliders with cheese. The $48 takeout pack feeds up to four and should make for an easy, picnic-style dinner next week (there’s a big Zombie cocktail to-go too).