Simply days after touchdown in Dallas, YouTuber Mike Chen was already posing for selfies together with his subscribers at native eateries. The face of Strictly Dumpling a, a YouTube channel that highlights a broad vary of Asian cuisines and eating places throughout the nation, Chen boasts a following of greater than 3 million subscribers. Now, he’s prepared to show their consideration to what he sees as one of many nation’s best eating scenes, particularly in terms of Vietnamese, Korean, and barbecue.
Chen moved to Dallas two weeks in the past from Seattle, which he used as a house base to journey the globe scoping out its best night time markets, all-you-can-eat buffets, and dishes like water buffalo barbecue in Saigon and ramen in Osaka. He set his sights on Texas again in 2019, when he teamed up with restaurateurs Jason Cho and Moul Kim to start out engaged on Karne, a Korean steakhouse that’s anticipated to open in Houston later this yr.
With Karne within the works, Chen had a giant choice to make: ought to he transfer to Dallas or Houston? After exploring each cities, Dallas gained out, thanks largely to the area’s flourishing scene of Asian eating places. “I do know lots of people right here, they usually rave about how that is changing into an increasing number of of a meals vacation spot,” Chen tells Eater. “There’s a number of trendy takes on conventional dishes right here, and I really like all the pieces about it. It’s fascinating to attempt these dishes which can be conceived in a manner that builds on one thing that’s conventional and already wonderful, and simply including to it.”
After settling down in a spot within the northerly suburb of Allen, Chen hit the bottom operating, visiting DFW eating institutions of all types. He was instantly impressed with town’s Vietnamese eating scene, which he says is among the greatest within the nation. “I’ve had a few of the greatest Vietnamese I’ve had wherever right here,” Chen says. “It’s excellent, particularly in comparison with a metropolis like New York, which I really feel may be very mediocre in terms of Vietnamese meals.”
Equally compelling was the slew of Korean eating places in each of Dallas’s Koreatowns, one in Carrollton and the opposite close to I-35 and Royal Lane. On the former, Chen raved concerning the kimchi-topped patties at LA Burger and, on the latter, feasted on hearty ox bone soup at Doma Seolleongtang. Just about every single day, Chen says that he finds out a few new restaurant that he needs to attempt. That was a bit of bit shocking at first, contemplating how far underneath the radar Dallas’s meals scene usually flies for individuals who aren’t aware of town.
“When folks journey to a metropolis to eat, they’re pondering of Los Angeles or New York or New Orleans, they don’t usually consider Dallas,” he says. “I might be incorrect, however I definitely didn’t know a lot about it and I eat for a dwelling. It wasn’t till I had a few mates who instructed me about what was right here.”
Chen additionally has huge plans to dig deep into town’s smoked meats scene. A barbecue obsessive initially from the Midwest, Chen languished in cities like New York and Seattle, which in his thoughts simply can’t evaluate to the smoked meats in Kansas Metropolis and Dallas. “I really feel like I’m bodily disadvantaged of fine barbecue,” Chen says. “The Rolls Royce proteins of barbecue are brisket and beef ribs, and no one does that higher than Texas.” As such, Strictly Dumpling viewers ought to count on loads of barbecue movies on Chen’s channel within the coming months.
Finally, Chen can have his personal place in Dallas’s eating scene. After Karne Korean Steakhouse opens in Houston, the plan is to convey the restaurant to Dallas, after which different cities in Texas. A location hasn’t been chosen but, and work on the mission doubtless gained’t even start till subsequent yr, however Chen is already excited. “I believe it’s going to be a very cool restaurant, with progressive dishes made out of the standard parts of Korean barbecue,” he says. “It’s going to have a pleasant upscale vibe, and actually nice meats.”
For now, he’s planning to take a while to settle into his new house metropolis, and naturally, eat. “I haven’t been right here lengthy, however to date the perfect, most enjoyable factor to do right here is eat,” Chen says. “There’s a lot rising and flourishing right here and the meals scene is simply ever-expanding, I actually need to be part of that.”