Ming Tsai

Chef & TV Personality

Boston

Ming Tsai is the chef and owner of Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Mass., and Blue Dragon in Boston, and the host of the James Beard and Emmy-nominated public television series, Simply Ming. Tsai began cooking for TV audiences on the Food Network, where he was the 1998 Emmy Award-winning host of East Meets West with Ming Tsai and led the popular cooking adventure series Ming's Quest. In the summer of 2008, he traveled to the Beijing Olympics with NBC's Today Show to provide viewers with insight into the food customs and traditions that define his Chinese heritage. In addition to his TV pursuits, Tsai has also written several cookbooks, including Blue Ginger: East Meets West Cooking with Ming Tsai; Simply Ming; Ming’s Master Recipes; and Simply Ming: One-Pot Meals. He also won the James Beard Award in 2002 for Best Chef: Northeast.

  • On October 19, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What are the best Cape Cod & The Islands food experiences?

    1. For the classic Nantucket fine-dining, it's all about The Pearl.
    2. For a burger and beer at lunch is The Boarding House.
    3. The bar upstairs at Corazon del Mar, I think, is a great little jewel — great everything, great food.
    4. If you happen to know someone who has a boat, go to The Wauwinet. If you want a nice casual, outdoor lunch, The Wauwinet is great.
  • On October 19, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What are the best Cape Cod & The Islands food experiences?

    1. For the classic Nantucket fine-dining, it's all about The Pearl.
    2. For a burger and beer at lunch is The Boarding House.
    3. The bar upstairs at Corazon del Mar, I think, is a great little jewel — great everything, great food.
    4. If you happen to know someone who has a boat, go to The Wauwinet. If you want a nice casual, outdoor lunch, The Wauwinet is great.
  • On October 19, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What are Ming Tsai's favorite restaurants on Cape Cod & The Islands?

    For the classic Nantucket fine-dining, it's all about The Pearl. For a burger and beer at lunch is The Boarding House. The bar upstairs at Corazon del Mar, I think, is a great little jewel — great everything, great food. If you happen to know someone who has a boat, go to The Wauwinet. If you want a nice casual, outdoor lunch, The Wauwinet is great.
  • On October 19, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What are the five best things to see and do in Boston?

    1. Red Sox game. Go to La Verdad, sit outside, have fantastic soft tacos or tortas. Have a couple of margaritas, then go to the game. And of course, if the Red Sox win, you go back; if the Red Sox lose, you go home. And if you don’t want Mexican, go to Game On!, you’re right there. It’s literally part of Fenway and also good bar food and great drinks. By the way, if you can’t get into Fenway, you can go to Bleacher Bar, which kind of gives you a sense that you’re in Fenway. And you always have to stop by the sausage guy after the game. Extra onions and peppers, please.
     
    2. A Celtics or Bruins game. You have to go to the Garden, which is what I still call it. You’ve got to go to the Pallotta sisters, right? Nebo is the same type of thing [as La Verdad] — before for a quick bite and afterward to celebrate. I go for the Celtics and the Bruins equally. But Nebo is fantastic; it’s so convenient because it’s right there. They have a decent gluten-free pizza and I think their pastas are fantastic. When we’re up at the Garden, we’re up on the top floor and the beers are cold and the dogs are hot. You can’t get anything better than that — especially watching the Bruins making it to the Stanley Cup.
     
    3. Chinatown. I probably shouldn’t mention it because it’s getting so busy. But there are two places: China Pearl for dim sum. For me, the don’t-miss is the braised chicken feet, but that’s not going to be a don’t-miss for a lot of people. I love the translucent dumplings filled with pork, garlic, chive and shrimp. They have this dim sum cart with a griddle, so you they cook it tableside. Down the street on Beach Street is Gourmet Dumpling House, which has the best dumplings. One of the house dishes is this sliced fish Szechuan-style and it’s the spiciest thing you’ve ever eaten, but it’s delicious. Then a third place I love is Shabu-Zen — fun, communal place to go. You cook your own food in a hot broth. Get the Korean kimchi broth — it’s the best they have.
     
    4. Canobie Lake Park. It’s fun. My kids love it for the waterpark. That one luge that gets you all wet. It’s the more casual Six Flags. Nothing’s wrong with Six Flags, but for more low key.
     
    5. Museum of Science. We go to it at least four to six times a year, as we do the aquarium. Those are two must-go places if you have kids — or adults. They’re fun, but they’re educational. It’s certainly good to know more about how the world works and it’s certainly important to know how the sea works. I think that’s where the aquarium does an amazing job — they really do educate, in a non-boring way, how important it is to take care of our seas.
  • On October 19, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What are Ming Tsai's favorite things to do in Boston?

    1. Red Sox game. Go to La Verdad, sit outside, have fantastic soft tacos or tortas. Have a couple of margaritas, then go to the game. And of course, if the Red Sox win, you go back; if the Red Sox lose, you go home. And if you don’t want Mexican, go to Game On!, you’re right there. It’s literally part of Fenway and also good bar food and great drinks. By the way, if you can’t get into Fenway, you can go to Bleacher Bar, which kind of gives you a sense that you’re in Fenway. And you always have to stop by the sausage guy after the game. Extra onions and peppers, please.
     
    2. A Celtics or Bruins game. You have to go to the Garden, which is what I still call it. You’ve got to go to the Pallotta sisters, right? Nebo is the same type of thing [as La Verdad] — before for a quick bite and afterward to celebrate. I go for the Celtics and the Bruins equally. But Nebo is fantastic; it’s so convenient because it’s right there. They have a decent gluten-free pizza and I think their pastas are fantastic. When we’re up at the Garden, we’re up on the top floor and the beers are cold and the dogs are hot. You can’t get anything better than that — especially watching the Bruins making it to the Stanley Cup.
     
    3. Chinatown. I probably shouldn’t mention it because it’s getting so busy. But there are two places: China Pearl for dim sum. For me, the don’t-miss is the braised chicken feet, but that’s not going to be a don’t-miss for a lot of people. I love the translucent dumplings filled with pork, garlic, chive and shrimp. They have this dim sum cart with a griddle, so you they cook it tableside. Down the street on Beach Street is Gourmet Dumpling House, which has the best dumplings. One of the house dishes is this sliced fish Szechuan-style and it’s the spiciest thing you’ve ever eaten, but it’s delicious. Then a third place I love is Shabu-Zen — fun, communal place to go. You cook your own food in a hot broth. Get the Korean kimchi broth — it’s the best they have.
     
    4. Canobie Lake Park. It’s fun. My kids love it for the waterpark. That one luge that gets you all wet. It’s the more casual Six Flags. Nothing’s wrong with Six Flags, but for more low key.
     
    5. Museum of Science. We go to it at least four to six times a year, as we do the aquarium. Those are two must-go places if you have kids — or adults. They’re fun, but they’re educational. It’s certainly good to know more about how the world works and it’s certainly important to know how the sea works. I think that’s where the aquarium does an amazing job — they really do educate, in a non-boring way, how important it is to take care of our seas.
  • On October 19, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What are the best places to stay in San Francisco?

    Well it depends who's paying! The most amazing views and crazy bathrooms are at Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco. In the bathrooms, there is a full-length window, so you're essentially washing yourself to the world watching and you're high enough up that no one can see in, I assume. But it is just stunning. It's a Mandarin property, which is awesome. Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco is a superb hotel; it really is one of the best hotels to stay at, anywhere.
  • On October 19, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What are Ming Tsai's favorite hotels in San Francisco?

    Well it depends who's paying! The most amazing views and crazy bathrooms are at Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco. In the bathrooms, there is a full-length window, so you're essentially washing yourself to the world watching and you're high enough up that no one can see in, I assume. But it is just stunning. It's a Mandarin property, which is awesome. Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco is a superb hotel; it really is one of the best hotels to stay at, anywhere.
  • On October 18, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    Why does Ming Tsai love San Francisco?

    Not only did I get married there, but I think it's really one of the best cities in the world to visit and to live. The Bay Area has everything. It has great weather although, yes, we know August is cold. You have within an hour’s drive some of the best wineries in the world, which also means the best produce which translates to the best restaurants. There's a huge influence of Asian so it has a couple Chinatowns now in San Francisco. Not just Chinese but Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian all ethnic cuisines are well represented. You can go skiing within a couple of hours and everything you’d want to do at a beach, so you really have every natural playground. Muir Woods is one of the most amazing woods that you can go in and camp. It's like Disneyland for adults. It has everything you’d want.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What is Ming Tsai's favorite airline?

    I have to admit if I'm flying with family, Jet Blue is a great airline. It's fun. I had a fantastic experience taking Virgin America to L.A. Really, it was just a great experience. The best airline in the world, if you are going to Asia is Singapore Airlines. Oh my God, it's like a Five-Star hotel, the food and everything. Cathay Pacific is a close second. And if you are in South America, Varig Airlines. For me, it's the quality of food. The quality of the food in coach class on Varig rivals food in first class on many other airlines including here’s your glass of wine and cheese course. They do it right.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What are Ming Tsai's favorite restaurants on Cape Cod & The Islands?

    For the classic Nantucket fine-dining, it's all about The Pearl. For a burger and beer at lunch is The Boarding House. The bar upstairs at Corazon del Mar, I think, is a great little jewel — great everything, great food. If you happen to know someone who has a boat, go to The Wauwinet. If you want a nice casual, outdoor lunch, The Wauwinet is great.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What are Ming Tsai's favorite things to do in Boston?

    1. Red Sox game. Go to La Verdad, sit outside, have fantastic soft tacos or tortas. Have a couple of margaritas, then go to the game. And of course, if the Red Sox win, you go back; if the Red Sox lose, you go home. And if you don’t want Mexican, go to Game On!, you’re right there. It’s literally part of Fenway and also good bar food and great drinks. By the way, if you can’t get into Fenway, you can go to Bleacher Bar, which kind of gives you a sense that you’re in Fenway. And you always have to stop by the sausage guy after the game. Extra onions and peppers, please.
     
    2. A Celtics or Bruins game. You have to go to the Garden, which is what I still call it. You’ve got to go to the Pallotta sisters, right? Nebo is the same type of thing [as La Verdad] — before for a quick bite and afterward to celebrate. I go for the Celtics and the Bruins equally. But Nebo is fantastic; it’s so convenient because it’s right there. They have a decent gluten-free pizza and I think their pastas are fantastic. When we’re up at the Garden, we’re up on the top floor and the beers are cold and the dogs are hot. You can’t get anything better than that — especially watching the Bruins making it to the Stanley Cup.
     
    3. Chinatown. I probably shouldn’t mention it because it’s getting so busy. But there are two places: China Pearl for dim sum. For me, the don’t-miss is the braised chicken feet, but that’s not going to be a don’t-miss for a lot of people. I love the translucent dumplings filled with pork, garlic, chive and shrimp. They have this dim sum cart with a griddle, so you they cook it tableside. Down the street on Beach Street is Gourmet Dumpling House, which has the best dumplings. One of the house dishes is this sliced fish Szechuan-style and it’s the spiciest thing you’ve ever eaten, but it’s delicious. Then a third place I love is Shabu-Zen — fun, communal place to go. You cook your own food in a hot broth. Get the Korean kimchi broth — it’s the best they have.
     
    4. Canobie Lake Park. It’s fun. My kids love it for the waterpark. That one luge that gets you all wet. It’s the more casual Six Flags. Nothing’s wrong with Six Flags, but for more low key.
     
    5. Museum of Science. We go to it at least four to six times a year, as we do the aquarium. Those are two must-go places if you have kids — or adults. They’re fun, but they’re educational. It’s certainly good to know more about how the world works and it’s certainly important to know how the sea works. I think that’s where the aquarium does an amazing job — they really do educate, in a non-boring way, how important it is to take care of our seas.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What does Ming Tsai have on his iPad?

    I have a lot of books. I like to bounce around from book to book. I have a lot of videos. I use my iPad mostly like I use my laptop. I have a recipe page; I bust out recipes all the time. My notes are split up by city and there are usually restaurants within those. I have every major city — Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, L.A., Beijing. If it's a country, I'll do “Spain” because I don't necessarily go to just one city in Spain. But it's a good way to remind me.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What does Ming Tsai wear when he travels?

    I always wear something comfortable. I don't not dress up. I don't wear cutoff jeans or anything, but comfort is the most important thing. You know, loose pants, loose shirts. Always dress in layers, because the plane is always going to be hot or cold. 
  • On September 25, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What does Ming Tsai collect when he travels?

    We have been buying little Buddhas and statuettes indigenous to the culture — kind of like the national animal or treasure of each nation, be it a dragon or a Buddha. We have a lot of lucky cats. All over Asia, they have lucky cats. Everywhere has their version of lucky cats. I don't know the tradition behind the lucky cats.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What are Ming Tsai's favorite tapas dishes in Madrid?

    Certainly the cured meats — the Iberico ham, the jamon. The fried potatoes they always serve. They have eggplant that's stuffed and roasted; they really do eggplant amazing. All the small fish— the anchovies, the sardines — are awesome.