Dzung Lewis: Newport Beach Vision
All Photos Courtesy of Dzung Lewis

The culinary creative force behind Honeysuckle, Dzung Lewis, sits down with Interior Monologue to share her top picks for Newport Beach dining and living. I have been a long time fan of Dzung and her Honeysuckle recipes. Her creativity in the kitchen is endless and she is a genius at crafting meals that feel inventive and accessible. A mother herself, Dzung’s recipes offer options the whole family will find delicious, parents and kids alike. Not only do I love her recipes, her candid approach to her YouTube channel adds an authenticity to her online presence that is so rare and refreshing.

The Honeysuckle food and lifestyle YouTube channel has over 1.25 million subscribers. With her down to earth approach to sharing a huge breadth of recipes, Dzung has created a culinary YouTube empire. Read on for her insider tips for visiting Newport Beach, and pull a few of my favorite Honeysuckle recipes along the way.

Tell us a bit about yourself. What is the genesis story of Honeysuckle? What brought you to Newport Beach? 

DZUNG LEWIS: I’m Dzung, a Youtuber, cookbook author, and a mom of two. I started Honeysuckle with my husband back in 2009 when we were two bored souls, dissatisfied with our jobs, wanting a creative outlet. I was working in Finance and he was exploring his architectural background. He’s always known that he wanted to be his own boss and while I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, cooking was a huge passion, so I dabbled in catering, event planning, and anything fun that would separate my brain from my miserable 9-5 job. That’s when we discovered the power of Youtube and started filming for fun.

Newport Beach was a move we never planned on – we stayed in Dana Point for a month with plans to go back to LA, loved it so much and haven’t left the area since. I love being by the beach and it’s just a slower pace of life that I think our family really needed.

What are some of your favorite spots for dining in Newport Beach? 

DZUNG LEWIS: Some of my favorites include Trenta, Boil & Bake, Tableau, and Cucina Alessa. We’re also really close to Little Saigon, so anytime the family is in town, we make sure to head to Brodard for the best Vietnamese food. 

Photo Courtesy of Brodard Restaurant

Do you have any recommendations for great boutiques in your neighborhoods? 

DZUNG LEWIS: I love exploring Lido Marina Village great shopping. I recently discovered Trovata in the area and love their designs. Every dress has pockets and their clothes are elevated comfy casual. It fits my current lifestyle. 

Photo Courtesy of Lido Marina Village

What are your recommendations for experiencing the unique Newport Beach culture? Local secrets, beautiful hotels, historic finds?

DZUNG LEWIS: Take a day to explore the town, and head to Balboa Island to transport yourself back in time. I love the island because it has a small-town feel with a main strip of old mom-and-pop shops plus there’s a harbor as your backdrop. It’s beautiful! Get yourself a frozen banana while you’re there, take the ferry across to the peninsula, and spend a day at the beach.

Photos Courtesy of Visit Newport Beach

Let’s talk about food and cooking! Where do you draw inspiration for recipes? Is there an ethos that guides you as you create content?

DZUNG LEWIS: I love creating modern asian dishes that appeal to a wide audience. Taking a classic and making it approachable with new ingredients. I just create what I’m inspired by or flavors I think would go together. 

What aspect of Honeysuckle brings you the most joy?

DZUNG LEWIS: The freedom to create what I want and to connect with my audience on things outside of just food like motherhood, clothes, and life. Food brings us together but we connect on other things and it’s really rewarding to have that especially since my work is pretty isolating. 

Do you have any upcoming or recently completed project(s) you are excited to talk about??

DZUNG LEWIS: I just wrapped up an interview series with Chefs and Restauranteurs to celebrate AAPI Month at South Coast Plaza. It was really fun to get to know that part of the industry and celebrate the different cultures. I’m excited to be collaborating with some of them on some fun videos on my channel, including a cooking competition against 2 Michelin Bib Gourmand Chefs. I hope I don’t embarrass myself. lol! 

Check out the Honeysuckle YouTube Channel!

What is next for you?

DZUNG LEWIS: We’re continuing to evolve our channel from a cooking channel to a food entertainment channel, telling stories and challenging ourselves to think outside the box. Our own Food Network if you will! The goal is to have my own show one day on there. 🙂 We’ll see, but that’s always been the dream. 

Lastly, is there a recipe you and your family are particularly enjoying right now?

DZUNG LEWIS: My kids love pasta or noodles, so I feel like I’m always making some kind of variation of the dish. My lasagna has been a family favorite so I’m always trying to figure out how to make it a little different, sneaking veggies in each time. Otherwise, we can’t go wrong with my classic Shaking Beef recipe with Garlic Noodles. The recipes are both in my cookbook, The Honeysuckle Cookbook!