Chef’s secrets: Sushi, cycles and Taco Supremes

Alan Wong ’00 (Philosophy) 

Alan Wong says doing business in China is a roller coaster ride. But the Sacramento native has taken a steady climb to become one of the most influential restaura­teurs in the burgeon­ing Chinese market.

Wong owns six successful restaurants in Beijing, including the renowned Hatsune, and four more in Shanghai. He remains involved in day-to-day operations at his eateries, but also thinks long-term about the businesses.

“My job is making sure the quality is maintained, meeting with staff to discuss issues and future planning, and coming up with new ways of impressing customers, whether it’s new dishes or new concepts,” Wong explains.

Known for bringing California-style sushi to China, Wong is hoping another trend will catch on soon. He is part of a small group of restaurant owners investing in sustainable, local food-sourcing.

“We’re banding together to create an organic farm, ensuring that at least our produce is under our control,” says Wong, who worked at Tokyo Sushi in Folsom before moving to China in 2002. “But this project is still a year or so away from being able to supply us."

He believes these relationships can position the restaurant as more desirable in customers’ eyes. “The bonds you form by promoting local farmers can create a stronger sense of trust in their product and you can get more specialized products not normally found in supermarkets,” he says.

Wong’s restaurants have had no trouble attracting customers. His unique menu was immediately popular with tourists and expa­triates living abroad, but since he opened Hatsune in 2002, his clientele has shifted.

“It used to be the foreigners [American, European, Japanese] living in China were the ones frequenting my places,” Wong says. “Now it’s mostly Chinese because it’s become almost unaffordable for the average person. And the Chinese are the ones with the most money here.”

Wong employs more than 500 people at his 10 restaurants and he said wages have increased eight-fold since he started in the business. Food costs have also increased dramatically, but his restaurants have thrived thanks to their lively atmospheres and origi­nal, delicious dishes.

Wong is almost always on the go. In 2011, he was featured in a print ad for Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1, using the computer while sitting atop his parked motorcycle along a picturesque roadway. The photo was a true-to-life portrait of the young entrepreneur.

“When I’m not in the restaurant you’ll find me on the track,” Wong says. “I’m a race bike fanatic. I have nine bikes, from custom café racers to Ducati superbikes.”

Wong can also be found in Sacramento several times a year. He owns a home in town and enjoys the area’s atmosphere. Though his favorite restaurant in town is The Kitchen, he confesses that Taco Bell is a must-have when he visits the U.S.

“I eat at award-winning restaurants all over the world, but I gotta say every time I come home to Sac my first stop is always Taco Bell!” he confesses. “I could eat 12 Taco Supremes in one sitting, no problem.” 

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This is a standard paragraph created using the text editor. It has a strong tag, an em tag and a strikethrough which is actually just the del element. There are a few more inline elements which are not in the WordPress admin but we should check for incase your users get busy with the copy and paste. These include citations, abbr, bits of code and variables, inline quotations, inserted text, text that is no longer accurate or something so important you might want to mark it. We can also style subscript and superscript characters like C02, here is our 2nd example. If they are feeling non-semantic they might even use bold, italic, big or small elements too. Incidentally, these HTML4.01 tags have been given new life and semantic meaning in HTML5, you may be interested in reading this article by Harry Roberts which gives a nice excuse to test a link.  It is also worth noting in the "kitchen sink" view you can also add underline styling and set text color with pesky inline CSS.

Finally, you also have the option of an indented paragraph. Aenean eu leo quam. Pellentesque ornare sem lacinia quam venenatis vestibulum. Cras mattis consectetur purus sit amet fermentum.