Chef/owner of Shing Wang, Sing Kelly, moved to Miami from Taiwain 36 years ago. She operated a Chinese restaurant here for 18 years, was out of the business for the past 15 years, and returned to open Shing Wang (meaning "lucky" in Chinese) a month ago.
1. Why did you decide to get into the restaurant business?
I went to restaurants here and saw the food is not what I like. It's not like original Taiwan. They add water and all this corn starch to everything. In Taiwan, you don't add water — it's straight cooking, like stir-fries. The vegetables are nice and crispy. This is how I cook them. People don't like soft vegetables.
2. Why vegetarian?
After the first restaurant, I went back to school, but I think I'm getting too old. I was eating meat then, and I had a heart problem. I started eating vegetables and that's how I got healthy. It saved my life. So when I decided to open this new restaurant, I wanted it to be 100 percent vegetarian Chinese.
3. In what other ways does the food here differ from that found at traditional American-Chinese restaurants?
In the old restaurant, food would be left over. Now I don't have food from yesterday. It's all fresh, like the original. I cook with no MSG and in a very careful way with salt. I care about my customers' health. My customers know me; they trust me. And my prices are very reasonable. If you charge too much, it's no good. I just want people to enjoy the food. It doesn't have to be so expensive.
4. What do you eat at Shing Wang?
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I eat noodles ... like udon noodles and mixed vegetables, and sometimes beef. The beef is the best — it's like the real thing.
5. The restaurant looks very franchiseable. Any plans for more Shing Wangs?
No. I have only myself to do the cooking.