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Meet Kat Vacharabul of Hangry Belly in Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kat Vacharabul.

Kat, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
It all started as a little girl helping my grandma in her kitchen, my grandma came from Thailand to America in the 80’s she was a chef in Thailand and wanted to provide great food to the community so she opened up her own restaurant she started with Chinese cuisine and slow incorporated Thai dishes and brought authentic Thai cuisine to Long Beach. As a small child, I grew up in the kitchen, my grandmother instilled the passion I have today for the food industry at the young age of eight.

All my life, I wanted to be as passionate as she was and be able to provide great food to the same community. I became a young mother at age 18 and I knew I had to work hard to be able to provide for my son and become a good role model for him. I have worked in a kitchen for 16 years now, I went to college, worked my way up in the kitchen and obtained a lot of knowledge to make it to where I am today. This pandemic was an eye-opener for me after hitting rock bottom with previous endeavors, it helped me push fear aside and take the leap of faith and pursue my goal. Hangry Belly opened up in August 2020 in the middle of this, so far it’s been going good and it’s a blessing to have the amazing support from the community.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has definitely not been a smooth road, as stated previously I became a young mother to my son who is now 12. I had to put my son first before a lot of career paths and choices due to child care restrictions, being a single mom working in restaurants was not the easiest, I had chefs who did not understand and would see it as a weakness and not give me a chance. Another challenge was learning how to balance work, school and my son but I was able to move forward and accomplish goals at my own pace.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Hangry Belly – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
My restaurant is called Hangry Belly, we specialize in gourmet burgers and loaded fries focusing on flavor rather than what can be the next trendy item. Our signature burger is our We Be Jammin Burger which is sweet and savory this burger consists of a 1/3lb beef patty, swiss cheese, onion jam, garlic aioli, Proscuitto, arugula, and tomato on a potato bun. The onion jam and garlic aioli are made in house. What I am most proud of is having a great supportive staff who share and understand my passion for this business. Without them, Hangry Belly would not be what it is.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Right now my main focus is Hangry Belly and pushing thru this pandemic. I want to focus on creating new specials for the community, hopefully in the future open up another location. Other goals I’d like to accomplish is becoming a culinary Instructor part time and continue to work on my cooking.

Contact Info:

  • Instagram: Hangrybellyx

Image Credit:

Monica Pham

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