“Do something that you want to do, even though it might be a big challenge and whole new area for you.”
If I have to point out one thing that inspires me to open my restaurant, it is my love to my city and rice noodle. We call Yunnan rice noodle as Mi Xian. We are very serious about our Mi Xian, for example we do not call Vietnam Pho as Mi Xian, and also don’t call rice noodle from other province of China as Mi Xian. In addition, I have seen so many Vietnam Pho restaurants, Si Chuan restaurants, Italian restaurants in New York City, so I always want to open a Yunnan restaurant in the city to bring the local taste of Mi Xian to NYC. It is the biggest inspiration for me to open this restaurant.”
Before opening his first restaurant, The Rice Noodle, Yao Tang was a business analyst in an investment bank and lived in Kunming Yunnan for 18 years. Kunming is the capital city of Yunnan province and is famous for it’s beautiful weather, which is why the natives call it “Spring City”. According to Yao, Kunming is a very diversified city, with more than 30 groups of minorities who live there. People in Kunming love rice noodle, and usually eat it for breakfast, or as a meal.
To share the love of Mi Xian noodles and love of his country, Yao’s curated a menu of 6 different noodles from hot and spicy noodle soups to cold and dry noodle bowls like the popular “Mrs. Tang,” a seasoned pork meat sauce on dry wheat noodles topped with sriracha. This tasty dish is a tribute to his ex-wife who made it for him before they were married. It impressed him so much that he told her he would put it on the menu if he ever decided to open a restaurant, in which he did. Yao also plans to add new items to the menu that showcase other traditional local Yunan flavors, but struggles to find certain ingredients like Er Kuai, a type of rice cake particular to his country.
With all of the success and challenges in his life, Yao still says, “I don’t think I have achieved many things in my life so far. I love my life, which includes all the challenges and struggles, and I have families who love me support me, I think that is the greatest achievement in my life.” And that’s all that matters Mr. Tang.
Come taste the traditional Mi Xian Noodles of Yunnan, China at The Rice Noodle located at 190 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012.