Another big-deal Chinese import is heading to Flushing: Massive restaurant chain Xiao Long Kan Hot Pot will plant a 5,000-square-foot location in a glitzy new complex next summer.
The restaurant famous for its spicy Sichuan-style hot pot has over 800 stores around the world, but this will be its first in North America. It’ll be housed within Tangram, a nearly completed 1.2 million-square-foot development made up of retail stores, a hotel, offices, and condos, as well as a food hall and beer garden.
Xiao Long Kan sticks to traditional Sichuan flavors for its soup recipe — which general manager Eason Liu describes as a “tongue-numbing Sichuan pepper and the fragrant oil dish.” In China, the menu offers a split pot with both mala and a non-spicy chicken broth, and pairings include beef tripe, pork meatballs, spicy beef, and fried rice cakes with brown sugar.
The Chengdu-based chain was attracted to Flushing for its growing Asian population, including an already established fanbase of the restaurant, Liu tells Eater over email.
Once a haven for “cheap eats” and Chinese hawker stalls, Flushing has recently attracted more and more big Asian brands, most of which move into fancy new mixed-use buildings from a seemingly endless real estate boom. Wildly popular global hot pot chain HaiDiLao is also moving into a nearby development called Flushing Commons, and previously, Malaysia’s fast-casual company Papparich opened at One Fulton Square.
Chinese hot pot chains in general have been rapidly spreading to NYC: Over in Manhattan’s Chinatown, Da Long Yi recently opened its first U.S. outpost, and other companies such as Little Sheep and Liuyishou Hotpot have also expanded here.
All three of those Flushing developments are backed by F&T Group, whose executive vice president Helen Lee is looking to modernize and bring more variety to Flushing’s dining scene. She previously told Eater that Brazilian steakhouses, French-Moroccan restaurants, and classic Italian joints have also expressed interest in snagging a spot in Tangram, at 39th Avenue and College Point Boulevard.
The high-profile development where Xiao Long Kan has signed a lease will have a 275,000-square-foot multi-level mall with a sky-lit atrium, plus a Renaissance hotel and Regal Cinemas. Xiao Long Kan’s Liu thinks the complex will become a Flushing “landmark.”
The chain wants to expand to L.A. and Houston, too. But its NYC location won’t open for a while, with a debut slated for summer 2020.