40 min

Han Chiang: Philly’s Most Outrageous Restaurant Owner Talks Being Bullied, Mob Boss Ambitions, and Going to Strip Clubs with the Wu-Tang. The Philly Blunt: The Podcast That Celebrates Philly

    • Personal Journals

He may be Philadelphia’s most notorious chef. Legend has it that he’s yelled at customers for ordering dishes such as Sweet and Sour Chicken, and even kicked out diners. He came to the US from Taiwan at the age of 13. As the only Asian in his school, he was often bullied. He’s lived in his restaurants, gone three years without a day off, and somehow became friends with the Wu Tang Clan. He’s got restaurants in Philly and New York, has aspirations to open 100 restaurants and to be a mob boss. He is Han Chiang. At age 26, Han Chiang had nothing going for him; he was a college dropout with no steady job or job prospects, and he was spending most days getting high on his mom’s couch. At a friend’s wedding, he realized that if he wanted to have a decent life, he needed to go all in on something. Problem was, he didn’t know much. But he felt like the Philly Chinese restaurants were serving the same boring stuff on repeat, and he thought that a restaurant that served authentic Chinese dishes could succeed. He borrowed some money and opened Han Dynasty in Exton, and after that one found some success he moved on to Royersford, Philadelphia, and eventually New York City. We talked to him about the difference between diners in the city and the suburbs (“The suburbs locations are generally less spicy than the city”), about what drives him (“I’m not in the business to make money. Not really.”), and his favorite Wu Tang Clan memory. (“When Raekwon took me to a strip club for my birthday.”) It’s a remarkable story that’s both universal and uniquely Philadelphian. Han Dynasty/Facebook

He may be Philadelphia’s most notorious chef. Legend has it that he’s yelled at customers for ordering dishes such as Sweet and Sour Chicken, and even kicked out diners. He came to the US from Taiwan at the age of 13. As the only Asian in his school, he was often bullied. He’s lived in his restaurants, gone three years without a day off, and somehow became friends with the Wu Tang Clan. He’s got restaurants in Philly and New York, has aspirations to open 100 restaurants and to be a mob boss. He is Han Chiang. At age 26, Han Chiang had nothing going for him; he was a college dropout with no steady job or job prospects, and he was spending most days getting high on his mom’s couch. At a friend’s wedding, he realized that if he wanted to have a decent life, he needed to go all in on something. Problem was, he didn’t know much. But he felt like the Philly Chinese restaurants were serving the same boring stuff on repeat, and he thought that a restaurant that served authentic Chinese dishes could succeed. He borrowed some money and opened Han Dynasty in Exton, and after that one found some success he moved on to Royersford, Philadelphia, and eventually New York City. We talked to him about the difference between diners in the city and the suburbs (“The suburbs locations are generally less spicy than the city”), about what drives him (“I’m not in the business to make money. Not really.”), and his favorite Wu Tang Clan memory. (“When Raekwon took me to a strip club for my birthday.”) It’s a remarkable story that’s both universal and uniquely Philadelphian. Han Dynasty/Facebook

40 min

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