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 September 25, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What are Ming Tsai's favorite restaurants in Boston?

    Certainly Uni and Clio — that's one of the reasons to stay at The Eliot Hotel. Clio if you want to just be loud; Uni for the best sashimi. Oishii Boston — chef Ting [San] is probably the best sushi chef bar none. He does a smoked hamachi that comes smoking tableside that’s just awesome.

    Across the street, I love Myers+Chang — just great casual Asian food. Tiger’s Tears is awesome here — you really do cry. I think Stella is a great bar scene. Great food and it’s always busy. Toro is fantastic. You’ve got to get a porron and drink the champagne right from the porron. I love Via Matta. It’s got great Italian food.  The chicken liver crostini is awesome.

    And the best burger in town — if not the country — is the burger at Radius. And if you want New England, go to Summer Shack. Another great pizza — and food — is the lobster pizza at Scampo.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What’s another place that Ming Tsai would like to go back to?

    Spain is the epicenter of new cuisine these days. You can't go to it anymore because it's closed; but El Bulli was the king of all kings. Madrid is the hottest city that I've seen in Spain. It's got fantastic restaurants and art. Madrid is really to Spain what Shanghai is to China; it's just the hot city. In Madrid, you just take an afternoon and you just bop from tapas to tapas to tapas restaurant. There's no better way to eat food than going from one tapas restaurant to the next.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What are Ming Tsai's favorite markets in Beijing?

    There was this huge 20-level indoor market that everyone goes to. The U.S. basketball team went there and they had five suits made for $150 a piece. Great bargains. You can get everything from jade — I got a jade necklace there — to custom suits. Everything made in China because guess what — everything is made in China.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What are Ming Tsai's favorite restaurants in Beijing?

    Go to where there are only Chinese people; don't go to places where there are only tourists. I've heard people come back from China and say the food was no good and I’m like, "Well where did you eat?" and they say,  "Oh we ate with the tour group here, here and here." You have to break out. I know people aren't all going to eat street food, but that's some of the best food. And as a side note: if you do travel the world, take probiotics.

    A must-go restaurant in Beijing is Made in China in Grand Hyatt Beijing — really good Peking duck, good pot stickers and sizzling lamb. A second restaurant that has really known for Peking duck is Da Dong. They go through a couple hundred a day — they're known for their Peking duck.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What does Ming Tsai love about Beijing?

    I think Beijing is hot. Last time I was there, it was during the Olympics so that was really unique. It is one of the most fascinating cities. You don't need to be Chinese to appreciate the Chinese civilization. The Great Wall is exactly that — a great wall — you can't believe that someone built that over hundreds of years and thousands of miles. It's just mind-boggling how they did that. You walk through the Imperial Palace and it's just this magnitude inside; impressive what they did. All of the art, not just the Ming vases but the just the amazing carving and paintings, and structures and sculptures are just mind-boggling. Then of course, there’s the food.
  • On September 25, 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 September 25, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    Are there any restaurants in San Francisco that have Ming Tsai psyched right now?

    There's a great little Korean restaurant called Namu, which is just delicious. Order anything off of their barbecue. Other favorites that I go to often are Tommy's Tequila, which has the best margarita and Yucatan-style food. The best dim sum is at Ton Kiang (order the pea shoot dumpling) and you have to go to The Slanted Door. Another place is NoPa (North of the Panhandle). It's really great California cuisine.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What are Ming Tsai's favorite restaurants in Napa Valley?

    All I can say is, it's The French Laundry and everything that comes close to The French Laundry. But The French Laundry is, of course, amazing. A good secret one — not secret, but not as known as The French Laundry — is Redd. [Richard] Reddington, the great chef. Martini House is also quite good. [Michael] Chiarello's new place, Bottega, is excellent — really good.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What are Ming Tsai's favorite wineries in Northern California?

    Cain Five has always been one of my favorites. Chris Howell, the winemaker, has been there since the beginning. He's way up in the mountains; the views he has are just unparallel, as is his wine. As a sidenote, I just shot three episodes of Simply Ming — with my parents — so it's an old, old relationship.
    But there are so many; wines in California are as amazing as anywhere else now.
  • On September 25, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What are Ming Tsai's favorite cities?

    I love, in this country, 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 very cold; but in general, the weather is spectacular. You have, within an hour's drive, some of the best wineries in the world, which also means the best produce, which translates to best restaurants. 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 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 parks there that you can go in and camp. It's like Disneyland for adults: it has everything you'd want.
  • On August 23, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What does Ming Tsai love about Beijing?

    I think Beijing is hot. Last time I was there, it was during the Olympics so that was really unique. It is one of the most fascinating cities. You don’t need to be Chinese to appreciate the Chinese civilization. The Great Wall is exactly that — a great wall — you can’t believe that someone built that over hundreds of years and thousands of miles. It’s just mind-boggling how they did that. You walk through the Imperial Palace and it’s just this magnitude inside; impressive what they did. All of the art, not just the Ming vases but the structures and sculptures are just mind-boggling. Then of course, there’s the food.
  • On August 23, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    What does Ming Tsai love about Beijing?

    I think Beijing is hot. Last time I was there, it was during the Olympics so that was really unique. It is one of the most fascinating cities. You don’t need to be Chinese to appreciate the Chinese civilization. The Great Wall is exactly that — a great wall — you can’t believe that someone built that over hundreds of years and thousands of miles. It’s just mind-boggling how they did that. You walk through the Imperial Palace and it’s just this magnitude inside; impressive what they did. All of the art, not just the Ming vases but the structures and sculptures are just mind-boggling. Then of course, there’s the food.
  • On August 23, 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 are at Mandarin Oriental. 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, I assume. But it is just stunning. It’s a Mandarin property, which are awesome. Four Seasons is a superb hotel; it really is one of the best hotels to stay at, anywhere.
  • On August 23, 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 are at Mandarin Oriental. 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, I assume. But it is just stunning. It’s a Mandarin property, which are awesome. Four Seasons is a superb hotel; it really is one of the best hotels to stay at, anywhere.
  • On August 23, 2012
    Ming Tsai answered the question: Ming Tsai

    Are there any restaurants in San Francisco that have Ming Tsai psyched right now?

    There’s a great little Korean restaurant called Namu, which is just delicious. Order anything off of their barbeque. Other favorites that I go to often are Tommy’s Tequila, which has the best margarita and Yucatan-style food, the best dim sum is at Tonkiang (order the pishu dumpling) and you have to go to The Slanted Door. Another place is NoPa. It’s really great California cuisine.