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Unpretentious Palate


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Editor's Note: This story is unlocked for everyone to read courtesy of the CRVA, our partner in nourishing culinary exploration for residents and visitors of the Queen City.

August 5, 2022

Where Chefs Eat: Baku and Yama’s Birdie Yang

The restaurant owner crisscrosses cultures when dining out

Folks in the restaurant industry know good food, so we want to know where they eat when they’re not cooking. In this series, we ask a local chef, bartender, restaurateur, or food artisan to share their favorite restaurants in town and what they order there. 

This week, we interviewed Birdie Yang, owner of Baku in South Park and the Yama Asian Fusion restaurants in South Park and Waverly. Known for his refined palate, not only in food, but wine and sake as well, Yang demonstrates his appreciation for cuisine at all levels when he frequents his favorite area dining spots – and adds one road trip suggestion.

Lam’s Kitchen, Matthews
Authentic Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine
Yang’s order: Live lobster with ginger and scallions, live king crab cooked three ways, dim sum on weekends. “Ask for any special of the week, and you’ll do fine,” Yang says.

Good Food on Montford, Montford Park
Eclectic eatery with an extensive wine list
Yang’s order: Mussels with green curry, cacio e pepe

Cacio e pepe from Good Food on Montford. Kristen Wile/UP

MOA Korean BBQ, Uptown
Modern Korean cuisine in an upscale setting
Yang’s order: Galbitang (short rib soup). “The best Korean restaurant,” Yang says. “Their grill meats are high quality.”

Portofino’s Italian Restaurant, Park Road (also on Eastway)
Casual restaurant with Italian classics and casual fare
Yang’s order: Philly cheesesteaks for lunch

Phở Hoà Noodle Soup, Plaza Midwood
Wide variety of pho and other Vietnamese specialties
Yang’s order: Bò kho (spicy Vietnamese beef stew with egg noodles). “One of my favorite noodle dishes,” Yang says. “The bún bò huế (spicy beef noodle soup) is good here too.”

bb.q Chicken, Arboretum
National chain featuring Korean fried chicken
Yang’s order: Fried whole chicken, Golden Original

Jon G’s Barbecue, Peachland, NC
Texas style BBQ in a small North Carolina town
Yang’s order: BBQ brisket. “They sometimes do pop-ups in Charlotte, but it’s better when you go to the shop in Peachland N.C.,” Yang says.

More from this series:

Julia Simon of PlantJoy
Kyle Gaddas of The Wine Loft, The Vintage

Counter-‘s Sam Hart
Community Matters Cafe’s Ashley Anna Tuttle

Your Farms, Your Table’s Sam Diminich
Para’s Alex Verica

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