Suá, pronounced swah, in the Sichuan dialect means, “to play and have fun.” And that’s exactly what Stephanie Hjelmeseth, a local lifestyle content creator and her business partner, chef and food entrepreneur Jing Gao, focused on when creating Suá Superette, the newest food establishment on Larchmont Boulevard. Part take-out, part pantry foods market, and part coffee/tea bar, this divinely Zen space opened on October 11 in the Larchmont Mercantile building.
Stephanie and Jing, long time friends, wanted to bring the traditional flavors of Sichuan cooking to a modern palate and their ready prepared items are a reflection of that. Using only organic ingredients, which they have sourced with commitment and care, there’s a wide range of Sichuan inspired salads, wraps, rice and noodle dishes, and entrees available for purchase. While I was thrilled to learn that 70% of the items are plant based, there’s a good selection that contain either carefully sourced salmon, grass fed beef or organic Mary’s chicken. Most items are gluten free. There’s something for everyone here.
In the pantry area, which lines most of the wall space, one can find Jing’s eponymous line of Szechuan condiments, Fly by Jing, available for purchase. I bought a jar of the Chengdu Crunch the newest version of her infamous chili crisp. I’m not a hot and spicy person by nature but this jar of umami yumminess is totally addicting! Super crunchy with a subtle lingering heat it was delicious simply tossed into cooked rice. You can pick up her entire line of sauces and seasonings along with her cookbook, Sichuan Chili Crisp, for recipes to make at home.
Other unique pantry items include spices and sauces from Korea, India and the Philippines, Rawmyun “cup of noodles” from local Angeleno Joe Seo, coffee beans from Vietnam, a delectable assortment of chocolate bars, more Asian cookbooks along with cooking and serving utensils, and ceremonial matcha, the highest form of matcha that, according to Stephanie, eliminates any grassy bitterness and aftertaste. She treated me to an iced version made with oat milk that was subtly earthy, sweet and silky. I felt calm and connected sipping my drink at the freeform marble coffee counter, taking in the animated activity as locals stopped in to peruse and shop.
Everything about the Suá Superette is welcoming and inviting, from the bright open space to the friendly and knowledgeable service. It’s the kind of space that beckons one to enter and explore. Judging from the success of its opening week, others are in agreement. The entire takeout line sold out within hours this past Saturday. And most other days it’s down to a few items by closing. “It’s a learning curve,” said Stephanie. “Now that we know the high demand for takeaway, we will up production to meet customer expectations.” “Still”, she added with a smile, “come early for the best selection.” For those who want to order takeout online, Doordash should be available by next week.
If you’re looking for a unique shopping and eating experience on the Boulevard, stop in and say hello to Stephanie, Jing and their staff. Shop the goodies that line the wall. Have a hot or iced drink. Take home a yummy prepared meal or sit and eat at the vintage green tables, set with flowers, outside on the sidewalk. Suá Superette is a lovely, serene respite from the craziness of life in LA.
Hours are 8AM to 6 PM Sunday through Saturday.