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How Bourdain Helped Xi’an Famous Foods’s Immigrant Owners Live the American Dream

The restaurant’s CEO, Jason Wang, remembers Anthony Bourdain

Of all the restaurants in New York City, Xi’an Famous Foods may have benefited the most from an Anthony Bourdain endorsement. David Shi made his hand-pulled cumin lamb noodles from a small stand in Flushing, and after a No Reservations visit, it rose in popularity. With the business savvy of Shi’s son Jason Wang, the restaurant now has a dozen locations — with more coming. In light of Bourdain’s death today at 61 years old, Wang writes a remembrance.

Today’s a day of extreme sadness for us here at Xi’an Famous Foods. I’ve lost a dear friend today, and we mourn with the rest of the world. I remember the time in 2007 when Tony first visited our basement food stall in Flushing for Travel Channel’s No Reservations while I was still in college (even though I didn’t know who he was at the time). I remember my father preparing interesting off-menu dishes to get his opinion on when he visited our store.

I remember years later in 2015, after interviewing together for an article, I approached Tony and told him, while he may have no idea what he has done for our family and business by simply saying he enjoyed the food, I wanted him to know it helped bring our family out from living in one room in Flushing to living the American dream. We were able to grow our business and provide great food for our guests, and opportunities for our employees. I looked at him in the eyes and said, this is something we will always be thankful for, Tony. And he simply replied, “I’m just calling out good food like it is, that’s all.”

In honor of his memory and all of those dear people who left us all too early, and in taking whatever action we can to prevent suicide in the U.S., Xi’an Famous Foods will be donating 100 percent of our net sales on today, Friday, June 8, 2018, from all of our stores, to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 Please cherish all of our lives and help those who may be struggling. Rest in peace, Tony, and the most sincere condolences to Tony’s beloved family.

— Jason Wang

If you or anyone you know is considering suicide or self-harm or is anxious, depressed, upset, or needs to talk, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. For international resources, here is a good place to begin.

Xi'an Famous Foods

81 Saint Marks Place, Manhattan, NY 10003 Visit Website