The Philly Blunt Talks to Han Chiang

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We spoke with Han Chiang of Han Dynasty recently, and it was a really fun interview. Fascinating dude. I’m posting some highlights below. Go here to listen on itunes. Or you can listen to it on our website. And be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

GETTING KICKED OUT OF COLLEGE:

I think getting kicked out of school makes me work harder. People work 40 hours a week. I gotta work 80, just to catch up.

HIS MOM:

Everyone here is afraid of me in my restaurant because people don’t want to screw up. And I’m afraid of my mom when she comes in because like I don’t want to screw up. So she’s like ‘I’m top of the food chain.’”

HOW HE FELL OUT WITH HIS ORIGINAL BUSINESS PARTNERS:

“At the time I didn’t know what I was doing, and they were doing what every Chinese restaurant was doing, which I don’t want to do that. They would always tell me, like, you know, ‘On our menu we don’t have Americanized Chinese food. You must be fucking crazy. You don’t sell General Tso Chicken.’ I’m like, ‘I hate that dish. How can I sell it?” And I’ll be like cursing at customers, like in a humorous way, like joking around, and they’re like, ‘You can’t talk to customers like that. Are you crazy?’ I’m like, ‘They’re loving it. Everyone loves it.’”

WHAT DRIVES HIM

“I’m not in the business to make money. Not really. Growing up, I never had money. But it’s a sense of accomplishment. Of people not looking down on me. That is the goal. Before, I was like the black sheep, I had nowhere to go, nobody would listen to me, and now everybody listens to me, and that is like the greatest feeling in the world.”

WHAT HIS NEXT MOVE IS.

“I’m scouting out DC right now. I think that’s what I want to do. I want to open my first fast casual.”

COMING UP WITH THE NAME HAN DYNASTY.

“When I first thought of the name, it took me a couple of weeks. Like the first names I thought was like China Garden, Great Wall, you know corny shit like that. And then one day I’m taking a shower and I’m like ‘Holy shit! Han Dynasty!’ Because my name is Han, Han Dynasty, I’m big on history, I thought this is the best name I thought of so far. Then I started calling my friends, my family, like ‘I’m gonna name my restaurant Han Dynasty’. And everybody’s like, ‘Eh, I don’t know if you want to do that because you’re like a slacker, you are a black sheep, you’re probably going to fail. Do you really want your name on the business?”

“I was like 90% sure I was going to name it Han Dynasty. But once I realized that it also spelled ‘Handy Nasty’ I was like ‘Shit, that’s 110%.’”

ON HOW HE CAME UP WITH HIS LEGENDARY WU-TANG DINNERS.

For me, every time I do an event it has to be epic. It’s not just one thing, it’s not two things. It’s at least three different things…and me and my friend Dave, he works for Founders. And we were just like super drunk one night, and I had this idea that I just want to do like this crazy dinner. Like 30, 40 courses dinner. And we were thinking about it, like ‘maybe we can spread it out over three restaurants, we do like a breakfast 12 courses, lunch 12 courses, dinner 12 courses.’ 36 chambers. Right, because I’m a big fan of Wu Tang. I still remember, like every day after high school, I would come home after getting bullied, all pissed off, and I would listen to Wu-Tang, and like release all of my stress.” So we decided we’re going to make one dinner, 36 Chambers, 20 dishes, 16 beers, and we work with Dogfish Head and Founders. And we started about 5 years ago. Our first dinner was a big hit. We just did 20 dinners, 16 beers.

JGT: So the first year you were just basically playing Wu-Tang during the dinner?

HAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. The second year we did it, before we started, one guy named G walked in the door, and was like let me speak to the owner. So my hostess asked him, ‘What’s this about?” and they’re like “Oh yeah, I’m the manager of the Wu-Tang. I wanna speak with somebody.” So, you know, somebody told me, I went out there and met him. Super cool guy. So he said, ‘You guys were doing this dinner without getting permissions from us.’ And I was thinking at the time, like, ‘What, mother fucker? Did you ask the Chinese people for permission when you used the name Wu-Tang? (riotous laughter) So I think I have more rights to use it than you guys do, right?’ I didn’t say that of course.

REEF: That makes sense though. You do have a point.

HAN: So I was like, ‘Oh shit, I’m sorry. Like I didn’t know I needed to get permission. I did it because I’m a huge fan, you know. Would you mind staying for dinner?’ Kissing up to him, you know. And he’s like, ‘No, no, it’s not a big problem. The only problem we have is that you serve a lot of pork dishes on the menu. And I’m like ‘OK’. And he’s like, “Yeah, most of the Wu-Tang guys are Muslim so they don’t eat pork, so if you don’t pork on the menu they’ll be cool with it.” So I’m like, ‘OK, that’s easy, I just don’t put pork on a menu.’ So we actually became friends, we started hanging out, ya know, and every time a Wu-Tang guy would come out to Philly to perform he’d call me, be like, ‘Do you want to go to the show?’”

A PHILLY RESTAURANT THAT HE HIGHLY RECOMMENDS.
This one that opened not too long ago, it’s called Sophie’s Kitchen. It’s Cambodian. They used to be Khmer Kitchen and they closed for maybe like 6 months and I was very sad they closed. And now it’s like the same people opening a different restaurant, so check them out, they’re very good…super flavorful.
HIS 1-10 SPICE RANKING.

“We have a spice level from 1 to 10. A 3 is like a tabasco. A 6 is like Sriracha. The difference between our cuisine and a lot of different spicy cuisine is that we have so many different spices in the kitchen, and for a level 10 dish, we’re probably going to require like 6 different spices. Each one of those spices has a different flavor, so when you’re cooking 6 different spices in the same dish, you’re not only going to bring up the spice level, you’re going to have a ton of flavor to back it up. You’re not just going to taste the dish as just spicy, it’s super flavorful. So a level 6 might require four different spices, a level 3 might require only one.”

 

This Week’s Mystery Round

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If you didn’t make it out to the quiz this week and wanna play the mystery round, here it is. There was a little bit of controversy, as there were a few minor “additions” you had to make to get the theme, but there was an unmistakeable theme.

1. This man has been hosting a show on WMMR since 1981.
2. This Wake Forest grad currently plays point guard on the Houston Rockets.
3. Cartoonist Thomas Nast is the artist who gave us the chubby version of what iconic character?
4. This wrestling legend recently announced that he no longer drinks. Whaaaaaaaat?
5. This company used to have the tagline: “Life is Short. Have an Affair.”
6. He hosted the tonight show for 30 years.
7. This 2000 song by Outkast was inspired by Andre 3000s relationship with Erykah Badu’s mother.
8. What is the common theme of the answers for #1-#7?

Continue reading

Weather Looks Awesome for Outdoor Quiz

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Looks like a great day to be outdoors! Hope you’ll join us for quizzo right next to Iron Hill on Saturday (11th and Market) at 4 pm! And yes, the points do count towards the JGTSpI.

Outdoor Quiz Benefitting PAWS Starts Saturday!

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I’m gonna be hosting a weekly quiz in April and May every Saturday at 4 pm, and everyone’s invited! Looks like we’ll have great weather for the first one. It’s at Market East, right next door to Iron Hill Brewery on 11th and Market. And we’ll be doing it for the next 8 weeks. Entry fee is $5, 100% of which goes to PAWS. There will be drink specials from Iron Hill and Chadds Ford Winery, and food specials from District Taco. You can find more info at the event Facebook page. Hope to see you there!  

Question of the Week

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What is the name of the sculpture created by Jim Sanborn that contains 4 encrypted messages and which is located at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia?

Mystery Week This Week

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What does Mystery Week mean? No one knows. Not me, not you, not Boots Boccuti. It is all a mystery. Will there be 12 rounds? 4 total questions? Or just mysterious questions about mysteries? There is no way to know. No way to know, that is, unless you attend. MYSTERY WEEK!

Team Scores Week 2

SIDECAR

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  1. Why Can’t Us
  2. Moana the Dog
  3. Michael B Corey

O’NEALS

  1. Queefer Sutherland

RENDEZVOUS

0-10

  1. My Lovely Lady Mumps
  2. The Ghost of Brittany Murphy
  3. The Whack Jobs

FOUNDING FATHERS

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  1. There’s No I in Vernal Equinox
  2. Wofford Terriers
  3. Marcus Dumb

BARDS

  1. Late
  2. USC Crew Team
  3. Jimbeaux

Pics of Week 1 Winners

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  1. OctoJaney

LOCUST RENDEZVOUS

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  1. Synchronized Trampoline
  2. Single Origin Cherry Bombs
  3. Tram Tim Apple

FOUNDING FATHERS 0-5

  1. Queefer Sutherland
  2. There’s No I in Erin Express
  3. 7th Place

BIRRA

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  1. Aunt Becky

BARDS

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  1. Vindicated USC Rejects
  2. Jimbeau
  3. Tequila O’Neal 93

 

 

Question of the Week

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You’ll find over 300 of what famous feral animals in San Francisco’s Telegrah Hill?

Little League Fundraiser on Sunday

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I’m gonna be hosting a quizzo fundraiser at Field House this Sunday evening as part of a fundraiser for an upcoming field trip they have to Cooperstown. It’s $20 to play, with proceeds going to the Anderson Monarchs. Action starts at Field House at 5 pm, and there will be food and drink specials:

$4 beers $5 mixed drinks and $6 wines
$5 food menu- hummus, kettle chips, and dips

The theme of the quiz will be 2008, the year the Phillies last won a World Series. (Don’t worry, won’t have to know a lot of baseball to do well on the quiz.) Price is $20 with proceeds going to the Monarchs. We’ll then be watching the Phillies Sunday night game after the quiz. Action starts at 5 pm. For more info and to RSVP go to the facebook page. If you wanna buy tickets you can get them here. Hope to see you there!

Question of the Week

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Mad Men‘s Betty Draper grew up on the Main Line and was in a sorority at what college?

This Week is College Week

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And not only that, it will be all questions about college: fictional, non-fictional, and some schools this year’s tourney. Easiest place to get a win right now is O’Neals. Schedule is as follows:

TUESDAY

  • O’Neals 8 pm
  • Sidecar 8 pm

WEDNESDAY

  • Locust Rendezvous 6:15 pm
  • Founding Fathers 8:30 pm

THURSDAY

  • Birra 8 pm
  • Bards 9:30 pm

The Bracket-Tacular Is Back

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Our 15th edition of the Bracket-tacular is this year! And we’ve got some more great prizes; $150 in gift certs to Shibe, a bottle of whiskey from our friends at Manatawney Stillworks, and a $50 gift cert from O’Neals. To sign up, go here, enter your email, and get a 30% off discount code to Shibe Sports! Good luck!

Office vs Parks and Rec Quiz Next Month

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Going to start hosting some themed quizzes at the World Cafe Live next month, and the first one is gonna be big. Parks and Rec vs The Office quiz goes down on April 23rd, and it’s gonna be wild. We’ve already sold over 50 tickets and haven’t even started promoting it yet. There’s gonna be live music, video rounds, basically a Quizzo Bowl style event about two of everyone’s favorite shows. For updates moving forward, be sure to go to the Facebook events page.

So hurry up and get a team together, the tickets are selling fast. How fast? To give you a reference point, somewhere between a snake and a mongoose. And a panther.