SCRIPT: MaLa Project: Interview with Amelie Kang [April 27, 2020]

  • This week's video is about the founder of a Sichuan-style restaurant that is taking New York City by storm.
  • If you need extra help with this week's story, you can read the script.
Doris Wai |

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[1] Amelie Kang: You have your thick noodles. The sauce is made with pork, garlic shoots, and sweet bean sauce. There’s like a perfect balance of savoury and sweet.  

[2] Amelie Kang: My name is Amelie. I’m the owner and founder of MaLa Project. The dish that we’re making today is called zhajiang noodles or zhajiangmian. It is one of the dishes that I grew up eating. My grandma is the only person in the family that would make it. This dish is very special to me because it’s one of the dishes that’s only reserved for special occasions, dinners where everybody is coming.

[3] Amelie Kang: You sautee the pork because you want some fatty parts and you want some lean parts. And then you sautee the garlic shoots, and then pour the sweet bean sauce on top of it and let it simmer for a little bit. 

[4] Amelie Kang: There are also garnishes, shredded cucumber, carrots. After they make the sauce, they go on top of the noodles. There’s like a perfect balance of savoury and sweet in the dish.

[5] Amelie Kang: Originally, I’m from Tangshan, which is a northern city two hours from Beijing. I came to New York to go to the Culinary Institute of America, I wanted to practice my cooking skills here in New York first before moving back. And after really living in New York City, I just fell in love with the city.

[6] Amelie Kang: When we found the space, it had the original brick walls and brick floors. To me, that was kind of perfect, it’s kind of like the old pingfang, like country house. I grew up in one of these houses. It’s designed to bring you back to your childhood.

[7] Amelie Kang: We specialise in something called mala dry pot. It’s kind of like hot pot, where you pick all the ingredients but instead of cooking it in front of you everything is already prepared in the kitchen with 24 different spices, so there’s a lot of flavour to it.

[8] Amelie Kang: Before, we had this big wave of American Chinese food. Now, we have this new wave of Chinese food where it’s much more regional. To me, I think good food is good food is good food. Chinese food has its own uniqueness. It’s greasy, but at the same time, you don’t feel bad after eating it. It’s very, very comforting. it’s very fulfilling and satisfying.