To prepare the popular dish, Talde stirs seasoned ground beef, pork, cinnamon, garlic, scallions, and fish sauce into his famous pho broth, before clarifying the stuff into gelatinous cubes. He stuffs these cubes inside rounds of house-made dough, twists them off at the top, and steams them to order -- which ultimately returns the broth to its original soupy form. Finally, he tops each dumpling with basil, shaved red onion, and pickled chili, before arranging them on a traditional bamboo serving platter.
While Talde’s menu is often tagged as Asian fusion, he resents the term. “My parents are from the Philippines, I grew up in Chicago, and now I live in Brooklyn,” he claims “It’s like, I can’t get any more fusion than that.” Rather than borrow from the best of separate cuisines and meld them together, Talde argues he’s far more interested in finding a respectful way to honor the glorious tradition of shared meals, without diminishing or overriding any one set of cultural flavors. “We’re in Chinatown -- one of the oldest neighborhoods in New York City,” he explains. “And we’re trying to say that Chinatown isn’t just $5 plate lunches and knock off Louis Vuitton bags -- it’s a premier neighborhood. Just like Chelsea, just like Meatpacking, just like Gramercy: We are a destination in New York City that is premier.”