Chinese Restaurants in America by Michael Chen

March 10, 2015

Speaker: Michael Chen

Michael Chen

Michael Chen is President of the Pittsburgh Chinese Restaurant Association. Mr. Chen is a well-established local restaurateur who owns 10 restaurant including “China Palace” , “My Thai”, “Sushi Two” and the Squirrel Hill restaurant ” Everything Noodles”

From Post-Gazette August 11, 2013

At Everyday Noodles in Squirrel Hill, meals come with a show.

Tables are positioned so diners can watch the action behind a plate glass window, where a cook transforms a muscle of dough into noodles.

With his hands on thick ends, he kneads by throwing the limb overhead, letting the center bow with its weight. Then he forms a loop, twirling strands together, and stretches the dough again. At the finish, he drops it like a barbell that thwacks against the counter. He repeats the process for a few minutes until dough is soft and pliant. After he divides this dough into sections, he pulls the ends of a baton past his torso in opposite directions. He finishes the sequence with a fold-twist maneuver at lightning speed, using his fingers to separate, as dough laces into noodles with his rhythm.

These cooks have been brought to Pittsburgh from Taiwan for their expertise through the efforts of Mike Chen, the restaurateur behind China Palace in Wexford and Monroeville as well as Sushi Too in Shadyside.

Mr. Chen and his son Allen, owner of Tamari in Lawrenceville and Warrendale, have carved a niche by opening accessible Asian restaurants with menus that court fusion cuisine and offer lively dining rooms for cocktail drinking and people watching.

Everyday Noodles is different from their other concepts. It was inspired by Mr. Chen’s trip to Toronto three years ago, when a dining experience motivated him to bring authentic Chinese cuisine to Pittsburgh.

Since then, he has worked with the Taiwanese government to bring cooks here to train his employees. Several trips to Taipei led him to cherry-pick the trio he will host for the next six months, after which they will return home to be replaced by three new visitors with different skills.

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