Chinatown -Asian inspired street food, comforting, bold, spicy.
Comforting, bold, and spicy are just a few of the ways I could classify Chinese food. It’s there for you when you’ve had a long day at the office and want something filling for dinner, and it’s there for you when you’re looking for something to comfort your taste buds. At Chinatown, Ronald Cheng does just that, and he has been in the restaurant business in Austin for over 30 years.
I literally have grown up eating at Chinatown, they’re synonymous with Chinese food in Austin and a big part of my childhood memories. But Cheng’s history is what has led him to this success, and it started with a lot of hard work and determination.
His mother immigrated the family to Austin in the 70s and with the little money she had, she opened the first Chinatown. That was when Ronald began to help his mother in the kitchen, and learned all her recipes, which sparked a passion in Ronald to continue to explore food and to challenge the way it is created.
Being one of the first to really begin fusion cuisine in Austin, he introduced a Chinese- Mexican restaurant in the 90’s that was a little before our city’s time. Now fast forward almost 20 years and he’s at it again.
He recently reopened Chinatown Westlake. That’s where I met Ronald, and tried some of his recent creations. His Executive Sushi Chef Jorge Garcia has worked and trained with Morimoto in Hawaii. Cheng is working on a new concept called Street by Chinatown, which will offer Asian inspired street food and will be in the same building as the Mopac Chinatown.
You can tell that Cheng and his team have a great deal of dedication to their craft. It’s more than just a meal, it’s about the experience that Cheng wants you to have when you enjoy his food. And I think he’s probably the best Dinner Host I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Sharing stories and motivations made for such a memorable meal.
Some of our favorites from the night were the Dim Sum and a Pho which will be served at the new Street by Chinatown restaurant. The noodles were made in-house, and the broth had a lot of rich flavor to it. He’s also going to feature scallion pancakes stuffed with beef, onions and cilantro making which were so savory and easy to hold in your hand, it’s going to be food that you can choose to eat on the go, or hangout and snack with your friends.
We heard it’s opening sometime in the Spring, and will of course keep you posted so you can go check the new concept out. In the meantime, know that you can get your Chinatown fix any time you want off Mopac, Downtown and in Westlake. PS: They offer Dim Sum service Saturdays and Sundays and they take reservations.