Faces of the Industry: Chao Wang & Dong Lu

Faces of the Industry: Chao Wang & Dong Lu

Chef Chao Wang and Dong Lu from Hunan Slurp joined us in Episode 54: The Boom of Chinatown North. Since we last spoke, the team has nabbed 2-stars from the New York Times.

Hunan Slurp is Chao Wang and Dong Lu’s first restaurant venture. Dong and Chao met each other through a mutual friend and bonded over their love for great food.

Chef Chao was born in Hengyang, Hunan, a southern province in China that is famous for its epicurean traditions. For people in Hengyang, food is a significant manifestation and pride of the local community’s identity and heritage. Wang remembers, “We wake up to the slurping sound from rice noodle shops in little alleyways, and go to bed with warm rice noodle soup in our stomachs after night-longs of drinking and chatting. This custom defines us, the people of Hunan.” Wang’s family also cherished the ethnic practice of food and has been running family restaurants since his grandparents’ generation. Wang’s cooking artistry is heavily influenced by his grandmother, and even to this day he still consults with her on all things related to Hunan Cuisine. Besides his culinary passions, Wang is also a distinguished painter. He actually trained as an artist, graduating from China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts and the New York Academy of Art. Each dish at the restaurant is designed by the artistically minded Chao, who seeks to cure his homesickness through cooking.

Dong Lu by Chao Wang

While half of Hunan Slurp founding members come from an art or art-related background, Dong has been dealing with numbers for quite a long time. Dong has a bachelor degree in Mathematics and is now pursuing a master degree in Computer Science. Dong has always been puzzled by the discrepancy between Chinese food in the West and in China since he left for the UK when he was 15. Hunan Slurp is his very effort to challenge the status quo and narrow that gap. Along with other young Chinese restaurateurs, Dong wants to spark a change the current Chinese cuisine landscape in the states. At Hunan Slurp, his approach is to set a more welcoming environment, provide better services and plate more beautiful dishes, while keeping flavors less compromised.

CHAO WANG

When eating out, what neighborhood do you end up in the most?
Flushing

What is your favorite dish to cook?
Fish filet

What would be your last meal on earth?
My grandmother’s cooking. Even the ordinary things become amazing.

DONG LU

When eating out, what neighborhood do you end up in the most?
East Village

What’s your favorite restaurant in NYC right now?
Le CouCou, picked by my wife.

What is your favorite dish to cook?
I don’t usually cook, but I love my wife’s stir-fry cabbage.

Favorite drink to pair with that?
A nice cold glass of beer. Mostly Tsingtao.

What would be your last meal on earth?
My mom’s cooking.

Faces of the Industry: Eric Sze

Faces of the Industry: Eric Sze