Episode 26: The Tang + Zha Jiang Mian

Photo credit: Ben Hon

Photo credit: Ben Hon

Eric Sze, owner of the contemporary Chinese noodle bar, The Tang, talked to us about Chinese noodle culture and one dish in particular: zha jiang mian. Listen to this episode to find out more about this iconic Beijing noodle dish and why he calls zha jiang “the mother sauce.”

As usual, Lynda and Iris start the show by talking about the best things they ate this week. #Thatawkwardmoment when Iris had to clarify that she ate crabs and didn't have crabs this week. Oh, live radio.

We then introduce our guest, Eric Sze, owner of The Tang. Eric tells us how growing up in Taiwan shaped the way he ate, as well as how his passion for food and the lack of good Chinese food options in NYC led him to open The Tang.

Lynda asks Eric what makes a good zha jiang mian, and Eric talks about the importance of good noodles and a sauce with a strong umami flavor. He also talks about how The Tang's zha jiang mian's sauce has become a "mother sauce" for them, like an Italian marinara, and has become their secret weapon whenever a dish needs a more complex umami flavor.

We then switch gears and discuss Chinese street food and Chinese noodle culture, as well as the noodle scene in New York. Eric talks about how there is no sense of competition in the Chinese restaurant industry in NYC, and how all these restaurants are working together to elevate Chinese food as a whole.

26:48  "The thing about the [Chinese] restaurant industry in New York is, it's super friendly. People try to help each other out. There's nothing but love."

You can follow The Tang on Instagram and Facebook, or check out Eric's personal Instagram account.

Just a reminder that there’s only one episode left of this season, and you won’t want to miss it because it’s another installment of our Asian breakfast series!