MIDTOWN — A Nobu-trained chef has taken his kitchen skills to the streets.
Yunlin Wang's Shanghai Sogo, a green-hued "mobile bistro" has been serving up authentic Chinese street staples with a slight Japanese twist since earlier this month, including "Asian Tapas" like Zong Zi, slow-cooked sticky-rice with vegetables wrapped in bamboo leaves, plus spring rolls, noodles, dumplings, salads and sesame sandwiches.
As the weather cools, soups will also make their way onto the menu, Wang said, and on Wednesday morning, he was serving fresh duck braised in 23 spices.
"Everything, I start from scratch. Nothing is served from overnight. I'm very particular about food quality. If I won't eat it, I won't serve it," said Zi, "This was a living, breathing animal just 24 hours ago."
Presentation is also just as important: Not only does every dish come with a sauce, Wang said, but "every sauce must come on the side. If you put food in sauce for two or three minutes, it spoils the flavor, don't you think?"
Wang was born in Fujian and moved with his family to Sunset Park when he was 16. He soon started working in his family's Chinese restaurant and became a chef just two years later, he said. He went on to work at a range of Japanese, Chinese and Asian fusion restaurants, including Nobu, the star-studded Japanese restaurant with locations in TriBeCa and Midtown, and Morimoto in Chelsea.
He opened the Shanghai Sogo truck in late September, a venture, he said, that presents "a great culinary opportunity," one perhaps leading to his ultimate goal of opening a vegan Asian bistro.
"Everything's got to be natural, organic," Wang said. "People don't treat themselves so well. We're trying to bring something healthy."