Meet Mike Chen, the YouTube food stuff star who just moved to this Dallas suburb

“You get hungry each day, so you might as nicely movie it.”

Which is the mindset of Mike Chen, whose total-time career is to write-up videos on YouTube from his meals adventures all over the globe. His movies — a lot of that eclipse 1 million sights every single — will emphasize Dallas-spot organization far more than ever, now that Chen has relocated from Seattle to the Dallas suburb of Allen.

Mike Chen records a video as Luke Smithson presents his cut of steak at BAR-Ranch Steak Company on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, in Plano.
Mike Chen data a online video as Luke Smithson presents his slice of steak at BAR-Ranch Steak Enterprise on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, in Plano. (Smiley N. Pool / Staff Photographer)

Chen moved to Texas in aspect due to the fact he observed an apartment that was fifty percent the value of his spot in Washington state. But also, he’s working on opening a Korean steakhouse named Carne in Houston. Inevitably, Chen hopes Carne will broaden to many areas in Texas, including in Dallas.

Chen states Houston is a great food stuff city and he viewed as going there, but he doesn’t like the climate. “I concern humidity,” he suggests in his make a difference-of-reality way. It is a trait his 5 million YouTube subscribers undoubtedly like.

“I really do not like the idea of going for walks outdoors and feeling like I’m in a steam tub. I figured Dallas would be the far better solution.

“And here I am.”

Foodies might stumble upon YouTuber Mike Chen filming videos at restaurants in Dallas and its suburbs. Here, he visits BAR-Ranch Steak Company in Plano.
Foodies may well stumble upon YouTuber Mike Chen filming films at eating places in Dallas and its suburbs. Below, he visits BAR-Ranch Steak Organization in Plano.(Smiley N. Pool / Team Photographer)

Chen was born in Xi’an, China, then moved to the United States when he was 8 several years aged. They lived all more than the U.S., mostly in the Midwest, as his dad and mom opened and shut Chinese buffets.

“I was doing the job [in restaurants] because I was ready to hold a plate with no breaking it,” he suggests. “My whole life was expended in restaurants. Rising up all over a buffet, I think that’s what assisted build up my appetite.”

And it’s a serious urge for food, y’all: He has two most important YouTube channels, Strictly Dumpling and MikeyChenX, and he posts about four video clips a 7 days.

Here’s an edited chat with Chen about his move to Dallas and his like for foods:

We know you are a experienced eater. Do you cook, way too?

Mike Chen sold almost everything he owned and moved from Seattle to Allen. "My entire life boiled down to a couple thousand dollars of stuff. I fit everything in my car and drove all the way here," he says.
Mike Chen bought just about everything he owned and moved from Seattle to Allen. “My full existence boiled down to a couple thousand dollars of stuff. I in shape almost everything in my car and drove all the way below,” he suggests.(Smiley N. Pool / Workers Photographer)

Mike Chen: I contemplate myself a incredibly very good prepare dinner. With the caveat remaining, the meals I cook dinner will by no means appear very good. But I assure it will taste good! … I could never ever be on, like, Chopped or a thing, for the reason that they are likely to reject my plate proper absent. … But I like creating factors from scratch. My greatest dish proper now is my handmade noodles, which I believe is cafe quality.

I do have a cooking show that I want to concentrate a lot more of my notice on. [Find it on YouTube — it’s called Cook with Mikey.]

1 factor I enjoy to feature is various cultural recipes. … The finest way to experience a various culture is, definitely, to consider a bite out of it.

How do you make your mind up which restaurants to stop by and feature on YouTube?

It is really random. I never know what men and women do for enjoyable, but I’m sort of a food items nerd, so when I’m not accomplishing just about anything else, I’m on Google, searching around for foods. … I want to discover these gap-in-the-wall spots. This is a suggestion I have for people: You can basically Google “hole-in-the-wall.” Or Google the expression “hidden gems.” Typically men and women don’t Google terms like that, they Google “best steak” or something.

I do get a large amount of restaurants messaging me, asking me to come in. It is tough to get to most people.

Do your videos deliver a lot more enterprise to the places to eat featured?

I unquestionably know that it assists … I remember eventually likely out [during the pandemic, to a place called Northern Dumpling in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland]. I went to a dumpling position and was ingesting on the hood of my car or truck. I commenced a collection known as Having on the Hood. … A 7 days later on, the operator messaged me and explained, “Thank you so considerably, my wife was expecting and we had been about to shut down the cafe.”

I often realized these movies help cafe owners, but in particular now, it could be a lifeline between survival or possibly owning to shut a business enterprise.

Do you tell restaurants just before you display up for a video clip?

No, I never. And the explanation I do not is simply because I really don’t want any unique therapy. I do not want them to do some thing distinct. I want to experience what any person would usually knowledge in a cafe.

I definitely never want anybody making a fuss above me. I just want to be a standard, having to pay customer.

What did you do just before you had been a YouTube vlogger?

When I graduated from college, I was functioning at a non-income. I was definitely keen on supporting provide consciousness to human rights violations taking place inside of China. … That’s a little something I’m seriously passionate about. But I was not creating any income. So I was filming weddings to make finishes meet, for $200 a day or anything … dwelling in a basement in Brooklyn.

Which is why I know a good deal of the low-cost eats in New York I did not actually have any income. How can I stretch $5 into a entire day’s food?

I have only been listed here for a couple of weeks, so I’m nevertheless just scratching the surface area. I’m really wanting to test out more Tex-Mex.

There is a big Korean group right here, a enormous Vietnamese group below. I had Pho Pasteur [in Carrollton] and assume they have the greatest broth I could have ever had.

What is your most unforgettable YouTube video clip?

I really like the movie I filmed in Japan. … I went [to a ramen shop] and waited for 5 hrs. … I dwell for that things. I really don’t treatment how prolonged the hold out is: If it is excellent, I want to hold out and expertise all of it. That video clip was tremendously memorable for the reason that it is in a town identified as Chiba, 40 minutes outdoors of Tokyo. I bought there at 7 or 8 a.m. … The complete mealtime lasted, like, 15 minutes. The chef is very: Eat your foods and get out.

All you hear is slurping. It’s so fantastic that no 1 would like to talk. But I had to converse [for the YouTube video], so I’m seeking to speak without remaining disruptive. It was just mind-blowingly excellent.

For additional food items information, stick to Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.

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