In NewsWhistle’s weekly question-and-answer series, Clara Morgan speaks with some of the world’s top beauty and style influencers and finds out more about their lives and careers
This week, Clara speaks with restaurateur Dorothea Wu, founder of Manhattan eatery China Fun. The restaurant has cemented its reputation as one of the top neighborhood Chinese restaurants on the exclusive Upper East Side of New York City. Regulars at China Fun are greeted with a wide array of options, as its wide-ranging menu offers cuisines from each of the various regions of China.
At the restaurant which has been under the direction of Dorothea and Felix Wu since its opening in 1991, guests can be sure that each meal will be great, each and every time.
For more information on China Fun www.chinafun-ny.com
1. Why did you move from Taiwan to New York City?
When I moved to New York in 1970, I wanted to experience the excitement of being in a foreign city and I moved to the United States because I enjoy the adventure of it. At the time, Taipei was a very provincial city, not like today, and the opportunity to be somewhere that everyone always spoke of with awe was very thrilling.
2. What led to you joining the hospitality industry with the launch of China Fun?
My mother and step-father were in the restaurant business when I arrived in the U.S. So by default, I started to work for them. Then my husband and son joined me in New York, and we had to survive as a family. My husband learned how to cook, and in due time, with some money saved, we started China Fun.
3. If you could meet anyone in the world, who do you want to meet? And why?
I would love to meet my birth father. He passed away when I was very young. He was in the Nationalist Air Force and the plane he was piloting was shot down by the enemy.
4. Who influences your personal style?
My great-aunt, Madame Chiang Kai-shek. She was the one who gave me my English name and I guess her sense of fashion also rubbed off on me as well. Madame Chiang Kai-shek was able to stop by China Fun once, and frequently had our steamed vegetables delivered to her.
5. Proudest career moment?
When we opened China Fun on 65th Street and Second Avenue in 1991 and seeing all the happy customers.
6. If you were not a leading figure in the hospitality field, what would you want to be?
I would enjoy being a fashion editor at Vogue, I read every issue.
7. What is your favorite dish on the menu at China Fun? What are your favorite soup dumplings in the world?
I’m the proudest of our dim sum, the soup dumplings especially, because they are my grandchildren’s favorite, and to watch them enjoy the food to me is heaven. Outside of China Fun, I think Din Tai Fong in Taipei makes some of the best soup dumplings in the world.
8. Any advice for others entering your profession?
You have to have a lot of belief and love for what you do because otherwise you will not survive the long hours and tough environment.
9. Best international dining experience you’ve ever had?
Arpege in Paris, I love their vegetarian tasting menu!
10. Favorite vacation spot and hotel?
Paris. Hotel de Crillon. I enjoy the history of the hotel, and I think it’s very grand.
11. Three items that can always be found in your purse?
Vitamins, pocket-mirror, iPhone.
12. What song can you listen to on repeat?
I love Beijing opera. “Story of the White Snake” is my favorite.
Lead-In Photo Courtesy of Dorothea Wu