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I find it rather curious that the author interviewed Jason Wang from NYC - he's the son of the founder of Xi'an Famous Foods.  His father started with a stall in a  mall foodcourt in Flushing, NY (which has a large Chinese population) and his son has expanded it all over the city with even broader distribution goals.

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1 minute ago, KennethT said:

I find it rather curious that the author interviewed Jason Wang from NYC - he's the son of the founder of Xi'an Famous Foods.  His father started with a stall in a  mall foodcourt in Flushing, NY (which has a large Chinese population) and his son has expanded it all over the city with even broader distribution goals.

 

Yes, the article also mentions the father.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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11 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

Yes, the article also mentions the father.

Right - but sorry, I wasn't clear.  I thought it weird that the author, when talking about the history of this dish coming from Xi'an, interviews a guy from NYC to talk about the writing character rather than talking to a food authority or historian in Xi'an, the place in question.

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1 hour ago, KennethT said:

Right - but sorry, I wasn't clear.  I thought it weird that the author, when talking about the history of this dish coming from Xi'an, interviews a guy from NYC to talk about the writing character rather than talking to a food authority or historian in Xi'an, the place in question.

 

Yes.  I thought the same. I guess the author is in New York. The US BBC office is in NY, I believe.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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3 hours ago, KennethT said:

.......and his son has expanded it all over the city with even broader distribution goals.

 

They were smart to franchise.  The Bourdain visit gave them a nice little boost.  I guess I was spoiled having experienced the original Golden mall location several times because the offshoots sucked. 

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5 minutes ago, Eatmywords said:

 

They were smart to franchise.  The Bourdain visit gave them a nice little boost.  I guess I was spoiled having experienced the original Golden mall location several times because the offshoots sucked. 

I didn't realize that they franchised - I thought they expanded on their own.  I used to go to the 34th St one once a month or so - it was usually consistent and good, although I never had the original before... but I did see Jason in there from time to time especially in the first year or so after it opened.

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On 4/14/2021 at 3:01 PM, KennethT said:

I didn't realize that they franchised - I thought they expanded on their own.  I used to go to the 34th St one once a month or so - it was usually consistent and good, although I never had the original before... but I did see Jason in there from time to time especially in the first year or so after it opened.

Your probably right, Ken, expanded privately.  But the result is the same.   It got dumbed down to simplify and standardize execution for volume   I went several times to the midtown locations and other than the name was nothing like the original.    

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I remember going downstairs at Golden Mall to the 1st place, listening to his father try to communicate how proud he was of Bourdain’s visit, yelling “Bourdain, Bourdain” to any non-Asian passing by & pointing to Bourdain’s review, hanging on the stall wall. The notoriety allowed them to afford another stall at a now defunct mall 10 or so blocks away, staffed by his wife.  Then his son joined the business with marketing skills & away they went.

 

As an aside, the original “Dumpling Lady” stall was right around the corner at another stall in Golden Mall, offering a large variety of fillings.  She also got famous, and a large restaurant & well reviewed cookbook resulted (Helen You: Dumpling Galaxy).  That mall was great.  Dirty but great.

Edited by Steve R. (log)
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Wasn't the first Xi'an (in Manhattan) in a little spot under-ish at the Manhattan Bridge? Or across the street from the bridge? I remember going there a long time ago, and having my face almost explode. I think it was before Bourdain?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Yes.  That was the 1st place the son opened outside the 2 Flushing mall spots.  I went to the opening.  Well after Bourdain though.

Edited by Steve R. (log)
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11 hours ago, Steve R. said:

Yes.  That was the 1st place the son opened outside the 2 Flushing mall spots.  I went to the opening.  Well after Bourdain though.

 

Ahhh, makes senses. Bourdain must've been to the OG a long time ago.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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So, I checked their website and Jason says that they opened the Golden Mall stall a little over 15 years ago.  I know that Bourdain followed shortly thereafter and that I went (with Dave Cook, pre-"Eating in Translation" blog) a month or two after Jason’s father hung up Bourdain's picture (I think that I mis-posted above that it was a review - my memory now tells me that it was AB's picture).  That makes it a long time ago.  

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On 4/14/2021 at 11:35 PM, liuzhou said:

 I wonder how it compares with Xi'an food in Xi'an.

Me too... one day I'll make my way to Xi'an and let you know!

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I thought it was an interesting business choice that during the pandemic, they decided to close all of their stores - because you'd think a place like that would be very conducive to take out/delivery.  They cited that the quality would degrade too much during the transit - which makes sense because I remember them, years ago, with signs on the wall saying that they didn't recommend getting their food for takeout - and especially if you've never had it before in the restaurant minutes after it was made, they didn't want you to take it out. Even now, when practically everyone does takeout/delivery, the only thing they have is meal kits so you pull the dough yourself, boil and dress...

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