MáLà Project - Zhajiang Noodle
"One of the most famous noodle dishes that define northern cuisine; the savory and sweet flavor is very addicting. “Zhajiang “ means “fried sauce”, and packed with flavor. Put vinegar and cucumber to add a kick." - Amelie
Vegetarian recipe modification available!
CHEF & OWNER AMELIE KANG'S STORY
Ning (Amelie) Kang developed her love for original Chinese home cooking beside her grandmother’s wok stove. Being a firm believer in “find something you love, and never work a day,” Amelie went against the mainstream and chose to turn her passion for food into a profession at Culinary Institute of America. After graduation, Amelie went through every position in restaurant operations, including line-cook at Michelin Star chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurant, bartender at B Flat, and General Manager at China Blue, etc. To her surprise, New York City being the gastronomy heaven has few Chinese restaurants that demonstrate her home cuisine to the fullest. Eager to find originality six thousand miles away from home, she decided to build her own restaurant to define what she’d been searching for. At the age of 24, she opened the first location of MáLà Project in East Village, focusing on reviving the childhood memory of the food and surroundings that her generation had grown up with. She believes in making a change to the society by influencing the way people eat and interact. Besides presenting her hometown cuisine, she is also determined to create a workplace where restaurant workers can build their lives upon. The number one focus for Amelie is employee’s advancement and fulfillment. She prioritizes employee training, culture building, staﬀ advancement. She strives to build restaurants for the staﬀ, then the customers. This philosophy has ensured that the staﬀ retention rate is high above industry average, and among the few employees who did move on, most of them have came back to MáLà Project team.
On February 2018, Amelie and team opened a second location of MáLà Project in midtown, and the first location of Chubby Princess, a chic Chinese bistro focusing on noodles, dumplings and other home-cooking Chinese dishes in Financial District. Recognized for her talent and dedication to the hospitality industry, and for especially being a pioneer whose success story led the most recent wave of new Chinese restaurants in East Village, Amelie is awarded Eater’s Young Guns 2018 alongside two other chef/owners in New York, Forbes 30 Under 30 2020, and Eater New Guard of New York.
Q&A WITH AMELIE KANGStory Plate: What are your top three go to restaurants in your hometown (NYC)?
Amelie Kang: Hometown as in Beijing or New York? If New York it changes all the time but currently: Le crocodile, Kopitiam, King.
SP: What’s a must have or your favorite kitchen item and why?
AK: Spatula; so handy and keeps your station clean.
SP: What is your most favorite thing that you like to cook for yourself at home and why?
AK: Fried rice; it’s simple and comforting; and I can use whatever leftover I have in the fridge to put in the fried rice.
SP: If you didn’t choose to go down this career path, what would plan B have been for you?
AK: A psychologist.
SP: How do you manage stress, what advice can you give your fellow girl bosses?
AK: When we live in a world full of uncertainties, stress is actually something you have full control of. It may be caused by outside factors, but we have complete power to manage it. Sometimes a healthy dose of stress is helpful to keep us on our toes. When it gets overwhelming, break things down into small pieces and tackle each thing one at a time. If it’s really bad, I personally just put everything down and take a super lazy day and try to reset the next day.