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Chinatown in RTP?

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Any word on the Chinatown development going intot eh awful outlet mall over by the airport?

I hear it is going to be pretty huge.


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  1. Beyond the article that was in the N&O over the weekend, there's some information here:


    1. Is it going to be the whole mall? I saw posts about it on twitter and am non plussed. What will they do that won't be something that I can experience at Grand Asia or Li Mings or some other bastion of Asian food? Is it solely Chinese or is going to have Vietnamese and Korean and Malaysian and Thai? Also that website is horrible and doesn't serve the purpose a website should. Really they should have waited until they had something formal and until then just listed the Chinese New Year/Opening and an under construction sign. Just a little rant but I guess time will tell and this Saturday may be an indication.

      5 Replies
      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

        I'm envisioning something akin to Asia Corners shopping center in Charlotte where there are a couple of supermarkets, a restaurant supply store, and several banh mi, Chinese, Hong Kong BBQ, Vietnamese and Korean restaurants. Except Asia Corners is a real dump, the RTP outlet mall is far more attractive.

        1. re: bbqme

          It will be interesting to see how this plays out. It seems the usual approach in the life cycle of a commercial/retail property. Long after the high rent retail tenants have moved on, independent retailers lease space to serve specialized clientele. I'm reminded of Sim City for some reason...

          This Chinatown Mall project has me excited. I love going to Grand Asia and that other big market in South Raleigh. RDU is just closer to me my home in Carrboro.

            1. re: Tom from Raleigh

              This isn't so much a function of a natural life cycle as it is a function of changing shopping patterns coupled with a depressed economy. Situations like this are being faced in many parts of the country.

              I wonder how this will work out, though. The putative Asian mall at Brentwood never took off, barely even got a foothold. Of course, that location was pretty far fom ideal so maybe this will be better.

              1. re: rockycat

                I think the location is excellent given the huge Asian population in the Morrisville area. I do hope that it becomes an Asiatown more so that a Chinatown.

        2. The whole idea seems a little forced. I know the developers looked at the space near Grand Asia first, but the owners weren't selling. For me, the thing that makes China Town districts in other cities interesting and charming is the long history and organic/natural development of the neighborhood. Just plopping a China-centric mall in the middle of a metro region seems odd.

          3 Replies
          1. re: mpjmph

            It does seem a little odd, but I'm behind any effort to bring additional, authentic Chinese food to the area, especially one that will bring new dollars to the area (the backers are from China). When one thinks of Chinatowns in other cities, one thinks of neighborhoods. In the Triangle there are almost *no* ethnic neighborhoods in that sense. This is not one city at the center of a large metro area like San Francisco, New York, or Chicago. The Triangle is a handful of small cities connected by an interstate. It kind of reminds me of Old Chicago, an indoor amusement park in the Chicago area from many years ago, for some reason...

            1. re: mpjmph

              Exactly. It's an anachronism.

              1. re: mpjmph

                We have several of these kinds of things here in Phoenix. Particularly in the East Valley, as it has the fastest growing Asian population in the country.


                And this Asian grocery store sprouted an entire shopping center of Asian restaurants surrounding it.


                I'm hopeful that there are similar places in Raleigh - our new home will be in the Brier Creek area.

              2. My SO is affiliated with a Buddhist temple attended by primarily folks of Chinese decent. This relationship let me discover what long distances people will travel to Raleigh on a regular basis to interact with the area Chinese community and to shop at Grand Asia. People drive in weekly from Va., Tn. & SC.

                This idea could fly. Couple grocery and restaurants with a Chinese pharmacy, travel agent, a Pearl River clone, art gallery, clothing, book/media shop and then add in a community room with Tai Chi classes, lectures, meetings. Even better would be if there were residential units nearby.

                Many of the families I met have difficulties meeting the needs of their elders. Often the adult children are in DC or NY and the aging parent no longer can drive. Couple this with the elders having little English and it is hard. Living close to something like this could be great for them and help create a community/neighborhood feel at the complex.

                1. If anyone goes to the open house today, I can offer a few comments on the food. The location that has the sign "Panini Warehouse" is selling Sichuan combo plates. All the signage is in Chinese but someone sort of translated for me. They have duck (?) wings, hacked chicken on the bone, noodle dish, a beef and lung dish, 1,000 year old eggs, another noodle dish that I believe may be mung bean noodles with a not-too-spicy spicy sauce, and 2 dessert items - one that I described as a kind of Chinese baklava, and another that resembles a bar cookie. I tried all but the wings and all are good. My favorite would be the mung bean noodles Everything is served at room temperature and a plate with a drink is $3.50.

                  Directly opposite under the Sushi sign, we tried the tripe, chicken, and steamed dumplings. The tripe had a vinegar-based sauce which struck me as a little odd at first, but grew on me. I preferred the chicken, which was mildly spicy and tasted noticeably of rice wine. The noodles that came with it were a little overcooked. The dumplings were more like mini buns. The dough was bready and a little short on filling, but still tasty.

                  Everything we tried was more like high-quality home cooking than restaurant cooking. The prices are reasonable enough that you can try a few different things. I definitely recommend the Sichuan food under the Panini sign.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: rockycat


                    Do you know if the open house is going on today as well? It sounds like a great place to hit for lunch today.

                    1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                      According to the flyer, it was only yesterday. We had to go on the earlier end of things, before the entertainment began. I'd be curious to know if anyone went in the evening and how they enjoyed it. I could also see that food was being set up in the "VIP" room, but I have no idea who was providing it or what was offered. Do we have any VIP's in the room?

                    2. re: rockycat

                      "The tripe had a vinegar-based sauce which struck me as a little odd at first, but grew on me."

                      Odd that it was vinegar based, or was there something else unusual about it?

                      1. re: Naco

                        I'm not much of a tripe eater so it may be that this was a usual sauce for tripe, but not one that I've encountered in my admittedly limited experience. I initially thought that the sauce didn't marry too well with the tripe but the more I ate, the more it seemed to work for me. Still, I preferred the veggies in the dish over the tripe. Like I said, I don't eat that much tripe.

                        1. re: rockycat

                          Chitlins are cooked and served in a vinegar and pepper sauce. Also, I've read that the Chinese like pork and vinegar combinations. Our brothers from another mother...

                    3. While visiting Saigon Banh Mi and Bakery in Greensboro I told the owner about the RDU Chinatown. She said she was very interested because she has kids at Duke and UNC and would like to be closer to them. Keep your fingers crossed!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bbqme

                        There are plenty of spaces she could have gone before Chinatown if that were the case but I wouldn't NOT want her to be a part of chinatown.

                      2. Wife was their the other day and said there is NOTHING in those stores at all. The "mall" was having a giant consignment sale of some sort.

                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                            Awesome news! I always wonder about that Chinatown project as I drive past the outlet mall on my way to/from work everyday.

                            1. re: ToothTooth

                              Wouldn't it be great if Peter Chang opened a place in there!


                              1. re: meatn3

                                We have two-three great szechuan places. I'm hoping it is more Golden Mall, Flushing though. Noodle place, ramen place, dim sum a go-go.. We shall see though.

                                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                  You should make a trip to Va. to try his food. I have eaten at the local places you refer to. Chang is on a whole 'nother level.

                                    1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                      I ate at his place in Peter Chang's place in Charlottesville last year. It was good, maybe great, but not mind blowing. I will have to create a reason to go to the spot in Richmond. That menu looks truly awesome.

                                      I would love to see a pan asian restaurant in CH/Carrboro along the lines of Mission St. Chinese


                                      1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                                        Wow! Just the cold apps alone have my mind racing and my stomach growling...thanks for adding another place to my NY eating list.

                                        I found some great suggestions on the Mid-Atlantic board which helped me choose from the menu. I also have had terrific luck with Chang's daily specials which seem to sell out quickly. I have not been back since he opened his Williamsburg location. The Charlottesville spot was rumored to have slid down a notch with the Richmond opening. Hopefully they have gotten their ducks in a row and have each locations strong and consistent.

                            2. re: burgeoningfoodie

                              I got super excited about this and then I looked at the backers webpage: http://www.irmgusa.com/ Um, yikes. Not to be a total Debbie Downer but their fast food court restaurant style look less than stellar or maybe that's just a reflection on their terrible web design? The descriptions of the food sounded very generic American style Chinese / other nationalities (Italian, Japanese, etc.).

                              I eagerly await its opening so I can check it out for myself. I'd be thrilled if we got another Grand Asia or similar market, coming from LA I've learned that there can never be too many Asian supermarkets nearby.

                              1. Sticking my toe into this conversation so that I don't miss any news.

                                12 Replies
                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  Well the water seems lukewarm. On the one hand a potential chinatown and on the other hand, I think someone mentioned that the firm behind the idea hasn't offered any great shakes in its other ventures as far as authenticity or something of that nature.

                                    1. re: meatn3

                                      See Erika Roller Girl post about 5 up from here.

                                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                        Ah - that was so long ago - thought you may have come across something new.

                                        1. re: meatn3

                                          Less than a month ago is not what I would consider old.

                                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                            The investors listed in the N&O article you linked is different than the backer mentioned by Erika Roller Girl. Also the mention of "large Chinese wholesale market Yiwu" visiting in two weeks is intriguing.

                                            1. re: bbqme

                                              Yes the Yiwu part intrigued me too. I would hope it would be a little like.. is it called Golden Mall in NY but nicer. Wonder if a market there would cause issues for Grand Asia.

                                              1. re: bbqme

                                                The founder of IMRG Kelly Yeung is listed as an investor under a different group. Don't know if he is still involved with IMRG, But, I would not drew too many conclusions from the type of places IMRG runs to the goals in this project.

                                      2. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                        After reading the most recent article it sounds like they're going to lead with the food court restaurants but also have upscale restaurants which I doubt will be chain options. I'm especially excited for another Asian supermarket. If we happen to get some truly great restaurants out of this venture, that's just icing on the cake.

                                        1. re: Erika RollerGirl

                                          I am hoping that the food court will be a cleaned up, less crowded version of Golden Mall in Flushing where each booth represents a different regain/specialty of Chinese Cooking and not chain food. Last time I was at Golden Mall I ate at a booth that was making fresh hand pulled noodles, pulling them as people ordered.

                                          1. re: chazzer

                                            Thats what I said.. this area needs a ramen shop and noodle place. I'd also like to see yakitori stall or a place that does nothing but Bahn mi okay just kidding but I know that I've seen talks about people in search of good Bahn Mi and though that is not Chinese it would still be a welcomed addition.

                                            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                              Not sure why the owners would re-pave the parking lot before a major construction project but that's exactly what's happened at the outlet mall recently.

                                    2. I'm going to be visiting the Raleigh area. Does anybody have any updates on this? Thanks!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: wench31

                                        I don't think there has been a peep. Regardless there is more to explore in the way of Asian eats than this place would probably bring.