Brian Tsao is a driven individual with a strong culinary background. With a mission to globalize Asian cuisine, Brian crafts dishes that not only amplify the tastes of Asia (mainly Korean and Taiwanese flavors), he also cultivates recipes with a familiar American approach. From comfort food like Po’ Boys to decadent entrees such as quality meats and garnishes, Brian works and pursues the dream of bridging the gap between the two foods and cultures.
The culinary wonder, Brian Tsao, dreamed of being a musician (Which he lives out and plays at his restaurant sometimes!) but his time in China and exposure to the culinary diversity led him on a different path. The son of a Chinese father and Korean mother, Brian grew up in Queens, New York before journeying to Beijing at age fifteen to study at the World Youth Academy for six years. Brian also revealed some interesting facts that while he also became a guitarist for the country’s first touring thrashcore band, he also spent time learning about the specialties of each region including Beijing’s dumplings, Guang Dong’s roast goose with plum sauce, Xin Jiang’s lamb kabobs, and more. Now Brian sits with us to tell us more about his culinary experience, latest involvements with New York’s Asian food festival “Taste Asia” and more!
How did you become involved with Taste Asia?
“I wanted to become a part of this (Taste Asia), the Asian community around me, and be an impact on the involvement of its growth in the Western community. I feel I am at the forefront of the change. I was able to meet with others and plan my involvement in this project.”
Tell us about your cooking background and what you’re offering in your work.
“I was born and raised in New York City, with a Korean mom and Taiwanese father, and loved their home-cooked meals but I also loved school lunch because I couldn’t get these American foods at home. As odd as people thought it was, hamburgers, fries, and pizza were just an absolute favorite of mine that I enjoyed eating often. That is what helped inspire me to take the comforting elements of both cuisines and make it popular. Instead of just using regular ingredients, I would form and do a blend of certain tastes, like my favorite sauce of American flavored BBQ and Korean Gochujang. It marries the two cultures in one dish.”
What cuisine do you recommend to others and the audience of “Taste Asia” in New York?
“I saw and really love Nyonya, a popular dish from Malaysia. My wife is Malaysian so the cuisine really interests me, too. I think everyone should take a moment to try all the dishes here today, especially what the chefs make.”
What are your current ventures and plans for the future?
“Right now, I have my Mira Sushi and Izakaya restaurant in the flat iron building in Chelsea, and I will be opening another fusion restaurant in downtown Brooklyn called Kimito Japanese Rooftop Beer Garden, close the Barclay center. I want it to have a Zen Garden’s tranquility but still be a casual atmosphere. It’s peaceful and relaxing for everyone. With that in mind and regards to my cooking, I want to find a dish that is approachable to the western tastes and cultures but still intrigue people with an Asian injection. I want it to be different but not feared as too exotic. That is how I embrace it!”
By fusing Japanese, Chinese, Korean and American cuisines, Brian successfully created an adventurous, delicious menu of Asian foods and inspired dishes that take a traditional concept in an exciting direction. With Brian continuing to be at the forefront of change in American flavors, we hope he continues to excite our sense with more magnificent combinations for future meals.