New York’s top Chinese restaurant describes its recipe for success

China 24

There are more than 41,000 Chinese food restaurants in the United States. That’s more than McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut and Burger King — combined. Many are serving up an American version of Chinese food. Others are keeping it authentic. But in between, there’s a new type of Chinese food being created.

CGTN’s Han Peng visited Decoy, the number one Chinese restaurant in New York to find out its secret for success. Turns out: it’s all about creativity and trying something new.

The top-rated Chinese restaurant in New York is mixing things up. Decoy is known for its Peking duck, with some unique twists. From the incredibly crispy skin to the duck juice reduction that’s drizzled on the meat — even the cranberry sauce served on the side — the popular food guide Zagat says Decoy is doing Chinese food better than any other restaurant in New York.

But, the Operating Partner is not Chinese. He’s a white man in his mid-60s and grew up in New York City.

“If you were an American Jewish New York person who came from the background that many of my peers did growing up, when our families went out to eat, a French restaurant would be very expensive and luxurious,” said Decoy’s Operating Partner, Ed Schoenfeld. “But a Chinese restaurant was a very normal place to go when we wanted something different. It was a whole different food system, but was easy to like.”

Schoenfeld knows Chinese food better than some Chinese chefs. In fact, Decoy is one of two restaurants Schoenfeld owns in the same building.

The other, Red Farm, specializes in dumplings. It was number one for years, but Decoy beat it.

He credits much of the success to his partner Joe Ng. The Hong Kong-born chef says he created every dish by combining Chinese and Western cuisines. He’s the Chef Partner.

“We work with a lot of different ingredients, which is different kind of Western vegetables,” Ng said. “Different kinds of taste. Different kind of flavor. And just change the original ingredient to a different ingredient. Sometimes with the same skill of cooking, but a different ingredient. Chinese food has changed from 50 years ago. Now, it’s like totally different.”

One of Ng’s dishes starts with a traditional shrimp dumpling. It’s topped with a pan seared scallop, and finished with watercress sauce, a fried wonton skin and caviar.

Another dish looks like a traditional egg roll, but it is actually filled with Jewish pastrami and cabbage.

Ng says beyond the flavors of his food, the style is different. He says in Chinese kitchens, the goal has been to put out a lot of food to make sure everyone is full. He wants to shift the focus.

“That’s what I want to change right now,” Ng said. “That’s what I want to talk to all the Chinese chefs in the world, we have to change our portion. Smaller. Small plate. So people can try more different things.”

When asked whether sticking to tradition or catering to local tastes is more important, Schoenfeld had a simple answer: be real.

“The answer to your question is that there’s room for both,” Schoenfeld said. “What I think is the most important, whether you’re making traditional or non-traditional food, trying to cater to your customer or being more authentic — what you do is genuine. That it’s made with good ingredients. That it’s made with sound culinary understanding and technique. And I know that my partner Joe and I, before anything else, we want our food to be delicious.”

How do you cook shrimp dumplings with pan seared scallops? Executive Chef Joe Ng from New York’s Decoy restaurant shows you in this 1 minute video.

Michelin star dim sum eatery comes to US

New York just welcomed another much-anticipated eatery from Hong Kong.

The Micheline star Dim Sum chain called Tim Ho Wa has opens its first restaurant in North America.

CGTN’s Karina Huber reports.

The restaurant serves dim sum from morning to night and prides itself on the fact that everything is made fresh to order.

The most expensive items cost $5.50. Despite high rents, general manager Tony Chan says they won’t be raising prices anytime soon.

Tim Ho Wan is a chain that first opened in Hong Kong in 2009. It now has 45 branches worldwide including this one and its first North American outpost. It’s unique in many ways and only seats 60 – much less than other dim sum restaurants in the city – and the chain has been awarded a Michelin star an honor traditionally given to higher end restaurants.

The distinction, which is based entirely on the quality and consistency of an establishment’s food, was first given to one of the Hong Kong branches in 2010. At that time, it became the world’s cheapest Michelin rated restaurant. In 2015, three more of its Hong Kong eateries received the honor.

Tim Ho Wan seems to be a success in New York. On weekends the wait time to get in can be up to three hours.

Jiayang Fan talks about Chinese cuisine developing overseas

To discuss Chinese cuisine developing overseas and the Eight Culinary Traditions of China, CGTN’s Asieh Namdar spoke to Jiayang Fan, staff writer at the New Yorker.