Hannah and Marian Cheng, the sisters behind Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings, didn’t always plan to go into the food business. Hannah spent years working in finance and Marian was a part of the fashion industry before they started talking about having their own restaurant. Inspired by their mom’s cooking (the Mimi Cheng dumpling is a family recipe) and their quest to find delicious Taiwanese food in NYC, the duo opened their first location in the East Village in 2014 and a second location in Nolita two years later. We sat down with them to talk food, personal style and what it’s like running a business with your sister!
Dynamic Duo: Mimi Cheng's Dumplings
November 17, 2017
Most valuable thing your mother taught you about cooking?Hannah: Use the best and freshest ingredients you can find.
Marian: No amount of seasoning can transform bad produce.
Your favorite dumpling ingredient?White pepper!
Pan-fried or steamed?Pan-fried.
If it’s your first time eating at Mimi Cheng’s, what should you order?Order the Mimi Cheng Organic Chicken and zucchini dumplings pan-fried, a scallion pancake, our 12-hour organic chicken bone broth, and a side of Taiwanese greens with a garlic soy glaze.
Each month you do a dumpling special, who do you dream about collaborating with?We’ve been extremely fortunate to have collaborated with some of our food favorites like Daniel Humm, Missy Robbins, and Dan Barber. We would love to collaborate with Alinea and Gjelina. Our goal with collaborations is to always provoke the way people think about and what they expect from their food.
One thing Hannah taught me about style...Marian: Test the boundaries.
One thing Marian taught me about style...Hannah: Life is a fashion show.
Describe your personal style…Hannah: I’m more relaxed and comfortable. Marian is more fashionable and on trend.
Marian: I like to mix luxury with more casual styles. I also love to mix different textures, like the striped turtleneck with the leather skirt.
Who would play the two of you in a movie?Olivia Munn and Gal Gadot. We can pretend that Gal is part Asian because we have a major girl crush on her after seeing Wonder Woman.
If I wasn’t running a restaurant, I would be…Hannah: Working at a hedge fund or VC.
Marian: Working with a cool new fashion designer.