At Unit 120, “LA’s Culinary Incubator” from chef Alvin Cailan in Chinatown’s Far East Plaza, plenty of talented people pass through the kitchen each day. This month, pastry chef Isa Fabro started popping up at a table next to the fast casual Amboy window on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to sell malas, donuts inspired by Hawaii and the Philippines.
Chef Fabro, who most recently worked for Josef Centeno at DTLA restaurants like Orsa & Winston, found inspiration in Hawaiian malasadas and Filipino carioca, glutinous rice flour ballas that are typically skewered. At Unit 120, Fabro creates fluffy Malas (3 for $2 or 12 for $10) with double-proofed dough. Long proofing time “creates an intricate network with the yeast.” Each ball is fried in a canola/soybean oil blend and drizzled with latik – coconut milk caramel – before Fabro finishes each order with Maldon sea salt and toasted coconut.
Chef Fabro is currently between gigs, meaning her malas are only available for a limited time. Score as many malas as you can, as soon as you can, since they’re fantastic.