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Feb 6, 2012 07:35 AM

Chinatown in RTP?

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...