France and China are coming closer together… in the kitchen. A restaurant in Washington, D.C. is offering a mouth-watering mix of both French and Chinese cultures.
CGTN’s Frances Kuo reports on the Chinese-American at the helm, and the inspiration behind his creation.
The best chefs said opening any restaurant, of any concept, will always be scary. But Chef Tim Ma turned his fear into fame, propelling his restaurant Kyirisan to the top ranks in the U.S. capital.
“The best kind of feedback that we get is when they say, ‘This is not like anything we’ve seen before.’”
A TASTE OF KYIRISAN
Crème Fraiche Wings| Gochujang| Sudachi| Oyster Sauces
Chicken & Foie Liver Mousseline| Coffee Agrodolce| Persimmon Apple Terrine
PEI Mussels| Asian Sofrito| Saffron Coconut| Thai Basil Salad| Pork Belly| Thai Chili| Foccacia
Mapo Gnocchi| Tofu Gnocchi| Mapo Sauce| Cauliflower| Mapo Sauce
Ma is whipping up a blend of the best of both French and Chinese cuisines. It’s no easy task. He says the two are polar opposites, right down to cooking styles.
“One is very hot, fire, sizzling… everything’s one pan. French cooking is a go low and slow, and build flavors in the pan,” he explained.
One of Ma’s signature dishes is mussels – traditional French bistro fare – with a Chinese flair. The chef mastered French cooking by training at New York’s French Culinary Institute; Chinese cooking, from exposure early on.
“All I ate was what my mom cooked.”
For Chef Ma, opening this restaurant was more than a culinary experience. It led to a deeper discovery about his roots.
“My parents owned a restaurant… my uncle was a famous chef of his time,” according to Ma. “It’s an ode to them. And learning the stories behind those dishes is great, like we’re capturing all the history of my parents’ generation so I can pass it down.”
His family has been supportive, though the fusion concept isn’t always so easy to swallow. They don’t always understand what he’s doing to the food, he said, but “that’s where the challenge is. To try to change people’s perceptions of what they’re used to.”
It’s a life lesson he hopes to impart to his three children, to whom the restaurant is named.
“The past few years of this restaurant has been a very personal journey. The restaurant is super personal to me.”