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our story


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our story


Junzi Kitchen makes bings and noodles. We add in braised meats, Chinese vegetables, pickles, garnish, sauce. Everything’s prepared in front of you in about a minute.

Night Lunch is our late-night menu featuring Chinese street foods, as well as experimental dishes from our crew and guest chefs.

Chun bing, knife noodle bowl, smashed cucumber, and gunpowder rose tea.

Chun bing, knife noodle bowl, smashed cucumber, and gunpowder rose tea.

getting started

Our founders Yong, Wanting, and Ming met during their graduate studies at Yale. They missed the flavors of their hometowns in Northern China and started  developed their idea of a new type of Chinese restaurant during a fellowship at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute. The first Junzi Kitchen opened at Yale's campus in October of 2015.

A taste test at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, where our co-founders Yong, Wanting, and Ming developed the idea for Junzi Kitchen.

A taste test at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, where our co-founders Yong, Wanting, and Ming developed the idea for Junzi Kitchen.

Outside the first Junzi Kitchen at Yale University.

Outside the first Junzi Kitchen at Yale University.

northern chinese Bings And Noodles

Because rice historically hasn’t grown well in Northern China, where our founders grew up, wheat has been the focal grain. After being grounded and mixed into water it forms the dough for bing. At Junzi Kitchen, we focus on two types of Northern bing — chun bing and noodles.

Horsemen relied on tough bings made of roughly crushed grains. At camps, they broke up the disks and cooked them in lamb broth. In the cities, royal chefs folded bing into oil and sugar to make pastries. Bing stuffed with meat and vegetables became dumplings. Eventually, people shaved strands of bing dough into boiling water. We now call those strands of flour “noodles.”

Chun bing (“spring” bing) is a thin flour bing pressed and used to wrap meats and vegetables. The chun bing is traditionally eaten to celebrate the arrival of spring. The chun bing is the first bite into spring.

Noodles were originally flat, wide strands of bing dough shaved directly into boiling water. Later, during celebrations and festivals, cooks began stretching the noodle dough to produce longer, thinner strands as a symbol for long life. At Junzi we serve both types, spring noodles and knife noodles.

During his undergraduate years in Beijing, our co-founder Yong Zhao ate little more than chun bings. They were good snacks between classes and they were good as full meals. Growing up, Yong heard stories about his great grandfather's bings: “He’d stand over a giant wok making bings while Grandma worked the bellows and fed firewood into the stove. The kids stood around and watched, mouths watering from the smell. The ingredients were simple — shredded cabbage, bamboo shoots, some meat — but the chun bings were unforgettable.”

Rolling out bing dough.

Rolling out bing dough.

Bing and noodles.

Bing and noodles.

chef lucas sin

Our chef Lucas Sin opened his first restaurant when he was 16, in the wine cellar of an abandoned newspaper factory in his hometown of Hong Kong. And during his undergraduate years at Yale, Lucas ran eight student-staffed restaurants. Each semester there was a new team of unskilled yet eager students to train. It always began with the basics — how to clean dishes, tie an apron, hold a knife, stand straight. Quick learners were given the opportunity to design a dish for the restaurant. By the end of a semester, students that initially couldn’t chop garlic were braising pork belly for 150 guests a night.

The training system that Lucas started at Yale continues to develop at Junzi Kitchen. Night Lunch, the Junzi Kitchen late-night menu, often features experimental dishes from guest chefs and ambitious Junzi crew members.  Many crewmembers choose to build upon a dish they grew up with, whether it’s Filipino lumpia, Cajun gumbo, or Korean pajeon. With the help of chef Lucas, crewmembers turn their childhood dishes into exciting late-night eats. It provides crewmembers with a space for experimentation, and eaters with an evolving menu. 

A three-course dinner with Junzi crewmember Ernie featuring oxtail stew and fried chicken.

A three-course dinner with Junzi crewmember Ernie featuring oxtail stew and fried chicken.

Working the line at the first Junzi Kitchen at Yale University.

Working the line at the first Junzi Kitchen at Yale University.

A dinner with Lucas Sin exploring the history of Chinese restaurants in New York.

A dinner with Lucas Sin exploring the history of Chinese restaurants in New York.

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junzi team


junzi team


Yong Zhao, co-founder: Yong grew up in Liaoning, received a BS at Peking University, and then received a MESc and deferred his doctoral program in environmental science at Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. He takes most of the photos for Junzi Kitchen.

Yong Zhao, co-founder: Yong grew up in Liaoning, received a BS at Peking University, and then received a MESc and deferred his doctoral program in environmental science at Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. He takes most of the photos for Junzi Kitchen.

Reed Immer, events and communications: Reed grew up in Connecticut, received a BA at UConn, and sits on the New Haven Cultural Commission.                

Reed Immer, events and communications: Reed grew up in Connecticut, received a BA at UConn, and sits on the New Haven Cultural Commission.                

Andrew Chu, operations: Andrew grew up in Connecticut, managed a snowboard shop for eight years, and received a BA and MBA at Southern Connecticut State University

Andrew Chu, operations: Andrew grew up in Connecticut, managed a snowboard shop for eight years, and received a BA and MBA at Southern Connecticut State University

Wanting Zhang, co-founder: Wanting grew up in Beijing, received a BA at Peking University, an LLM at the Boston University School of Law, and then an MESc at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.                                                                                                                       

Wanting Zhang, co-founder: Wanting grew up in Beijing, received a BA at Peking University, an LLM at the Boston University School of Law, and then an MESc at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.                                                                                                                       

Lucas Sin, culinary: Lucas grew up in Hong Kong, apprenticed in kitchens in Japan, Hong Kong and the US; opened nine student-run restaurants; and received a BA at Yale. He’s recently written for Lucky Peach, Cleaver Quarterly, and China Hands.

Lucas Sin, culinary: Lucas grew up in Hong Kong, apprenticed in kitchens in Japan, Hong Kong and the US; opened nine student-run restaurants; and received a BA at Yale. He’s recently written for Lucky Peach, Cleaver Quarterly, and China Hands.

Eva Zhang, culinary: Eva grew up in Liaoning, ran a tiny lunch restaurant, received a BA at Shenyang Normal University, and then received an MBA at Fort Hays University

Eva Zhang, culinary: Eva grew up in Liaoning, ran a tiny lunch restaurant, received a BA at Shenyang Normal University, and then received an MBA at Fort Hays University

Ming Bai, co-founder: Ming grew up in Harbin, received a BA and MA at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, and then received an MFA at the Yale School of Art. One of her projects was recently purchased by the MOMA Library.                                             

Ming Bai, co-founder: Ming grew up in Harbin, received a BA and MA at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, and then received an MFA at the Yale School of Art. One of her projects was recently purchased by the MOMA Library.                                             

Xuhui Zhang, architectural design: Xuhui grew up in Beijing, received a B.Arch at Tsinghua University, and then received a M.Arch at Cornell.                                                                                             

Xuhui Zhang, architectural design: Xuhui grew up in Beijing, received a B.Arch at Tsinghua University, and then received a M.Arch at Cornell.