Slideshow

[chinatown][slideshow]

I Want to Make American Chinese Food Relevant Again

I want to put integrity back into Chinese food.
That thick batter coating your sweet and sour pork, the greasiness, the excessive sweetness—that is not the Chinese food that I grew up eating as a first-generation Chinese-American. The stuff that I grew up on, mostly cooked by my grandmother, made you feel good after eating it, and this kind of feel-good, super-tasty Chinese food is what I will be focusing on when I open my Chinese restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown next year.
Being a former fat kid who loves to eat, I understand that it will not be easy to change the old perception of quantity over quality—cheap and greasy Chinese food. You know, the kind where you will always have leftovers after your meal, no matter how much food you eat? I am just hoping that the community will embrace my deeper approach to Chinese cooking since it will be a little different than a lot of the stuff that the other old-school restaurants around me are doing.
What’s happening in San Francisco’s Chinatown is that a lot of Chinese traditions are dying because of the scarce restaurant real estate here. There are simply not that many places here that can occupy large parties for traditional celebrations like Chinese red egg parties (a food-based celebration of your child when they turn two years old, because that’s the age when you knew your kid wasn’t going to die anymore), or even huge Chinese wedding banquets. I grew up going to these and am hoping to keep these traditions alive since I was lucky enough to lease a.......