Talking with Han Chiang

Han_Chiang-marquee-by-MICHAEL-PERSICOIn this month’s edition of Philadelphia magazine, I talk with Han Chiang about Szechuan food, weed, his upbringing, his early days as a restaurant owner, New York City, his plans for the future (next stop: Beverly Hills) and what to do when you find an unconscious food writer in your bed on opening night.

Han Dynasty owner Han Chiang is taking over [Philadelphia Magazine]

Han’s Dynasty

Han Dynasty's Han Chiang

Photograph by Michael Persico

In any serious food city in America, there exists a cadre of chefs and restaurateurs who are the Big Dogs. The guys (because, yeah, it’s almost always guys) who, by the weight of their presence on the scene, tend to define the scene—particularly to those from outside the scene, who don’t live and breathe the scene, who, maybe, just eat out a few times a month and don’t track, with OCD fanaticism, the movements of every chef and investor within the scene.

Think about Charlie Trotter in Chicago (RIP) and the upstarts who’ve been siphoning off his ink for the past decade. Think about New Orleans, with its deep reverence for tradition, age and Emeril Lagasse; Denver, with its magnetic pull on the young and wickedly talented; or Seattle, where they worship at the altar of the farm-to-table movement but still flock to the restaurants of Tom Douglas, who, with 15 spots in a city genetically opposed to chain restaurants, is like a mini-chain-emperor unto himself.

In Philly, we have Stephen Starr, Marc Vetri and Jose Garces—our culinary trinity, each of them big for different reasons, each of them representing an aspect of ourselves. There are chefs in town who have more restaurants than Vetri, but no one who has brought such high-gloss glory to our Italian roots. Jose Garces isn’t the most critically beloved of Philadelphia chefs, but he’s on TV. He’s Iron Chef Garces, and with his ever-expanding roster of addresses both here and elsewhere, he speaks to something in our immigrant hearts with his Cuban sandwiches, Irish whiskey, Spanish tapas, tacos, dumplings, noodles and Chicago deep-dish pizzas. And Starr? He’s got money. And connections. With his older places, he’s feeding tourists and rubes, keeping the flame of wasabi mashed potatoes alive in the hearts of the culinarily backward. And with his newer locations, he’s become our most brilliant producer—bringing in major talent, giving them a place to work, then sitting back and watching them go. He’s the Phil Spector of the Philadelphia restaurant scene, only, you know, without the crazy Afro and the murder.
Read more »

Where We’re Eating: Han Dynasty

han-dynasty-old-city-940

Han Chiang has graduated, shutting down his beloved (if small) Han Dynasty in Old City and moving the Szechuan restaurant across the street into the enormous, opulent 180-seat space formerly occupied by Reserve steakhouse (among other operations). The bar manager from the University City location has come over to craft a cocktail program for the new space. The menu is roughly the same burn-your-face-off-spicy Chinese food that’s served at all of Chiang’s other locations (at the same price point, despite the upgraded digs), but he’s added a late-night menu inspired by Taiwanese street food, served fast and cheap across a small second bar on the main floor. Highlights include the dry pepper fried chicken wings and the pork belly buns, but be on the lookout for frequent changes as Chiang tinkers with the new board.

Han Dynasty [Foobooz]

First appeared in the December, 2013 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

Prime Stache and Han Dynasty Are Hosting a Collaboration Dinner

han-dynasty-prime-stache-flyer

On Monday, August 12th Han Dynasty in Old City and its neighbor, Prime Stache are combining for a collaborative dinner.

The seven course dinner will feature three courses from each restaurant plus a fusion course. The $50 per person dinner also includes collaborative cocktails featuring Tito’s vodka.

$10 of the dinner price goes to charity and there will be two seatings. The first will be at 6 p.m. at Prime Stache and the second will be at 9 p.m. at Han Dynasty Old City. Han Chiang will be hosting both dinners, so it is sure to be an entertains night.

Tickets are on sale now at both restaurants and over the phone. Han Dynasty’s charity is the Ronald McDonald House of Philadelphia and Prime Stache’s will be Brent Celek’s Take Flight Foundation.

Han Dynasty [Official Site]
Prime Stache [Official Site]

Han Dynasty Expanding In A Big Way

handynasty_yum

Okay, so first there was the news that Han Dynasty owner, Han Chiang, was looking for an “apprentice” who, among other things, would learn Chiang’s way of doing business and make millions of dollars. And now more info on Chiang’s plans are coming down via Eater, which is reporting that the local Szechuan impresario is making some serious moves toward total world domination.

Read more »

« Older Posts