Traditional Asian cuisines meet modern twists

Traditional Asian cuisines meet modern twists

Traditional Asian cuisines meet modern twists
June 09
19:43 2017

Michael Vu | Staff Writer

Asian food can be quite the staple on the dinner table no matter the time of year. Something about the exotic yet familiar tangy and spicy taste of a plate of General Tso’s Chicken or a regular bowl of fried rice can be found in the simplest chain restaurants or the most unique places.

Here in Denton, Asian cuisine showcases the multiple opportunities that local chefs have taken to experiment with taste, quality and tradition.

“I think that the people in Denton have a very wide palate, [so they are] wiling to try different things on the menu,” Mr. Chopsticks server Mark Martinez said.

Over the years, the more culinary experienced food lovers out there set to add a bit more to classic dishes. Like a DJ remixing an classic 80s track, these chefs and restaurant owners add their own sense of flair and uniqueness to those dishes not only for them to enjoy, but for their customers who starve for something new.

In just a two mile radius near UNT and the Square, there are eight restaurants alone, each delivering something that’s varied enough for them to stand out.

Two restaurants in particular are creating two variations of the word fusion. One is a one-stop shop for Asian dishes of many types, whether it’s Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese or more, while the other takes unique and artful spins, adding non-Asian ingredients to traditional items, giving them an extra kick or flair to them.

Fresh opportunities

One of the older and more recognizable restaurants in the Denton area, right on Jagoe Street, is the longstanding Mr. Chopsticks.

Mr. Chopsticks has been a to-go restaurant for students and locals alike since its start in 1985. With its robust menu of items ranging from Japanese tempura dishes to Vietnamese pho soups, the restaurant is a one-stop shop for any sort of Asian dishes with their own unique twist.

“I think what makes Denton a great place to open a fusion restaurant is that since Denton is such a small community, there’s a small number that always return frequently,” Martinez said.

Martinez, who has been a server at the restaurant for over four years, also mentions the down-to-earth and rustic environment as a place where people can come and hang out while eating. That way, patrons are able to try and taste dishes from all across Asia without having to go to various restaurants to get.

Just a little over a mile away at the Square, slightly hidden away at an alley across from the Oak Street Drafthouse, is one of the newer Asian fusion venues that takes the term “fusion” to a whole other level — Komodo Loco.

Walking inside, the first thing that stands out, besides the food, is the blend of contemporary neon signs on the full bar to the left with the traditional Asian decor throughout the warmly lit restaurant. Despite the different direction from Mr. Chopsticks, the feel of the restaurant was just as welcoming and inviting as the previous one.

Since Komodo Loco opened its doors last November, it has introduced its customers with Asian dishes, ranging from traditional bowls of ramen with shoyu broth, to sushi rolls with fajita steak and chipotle aioli.

“My [co-owners] and I are all food lovers,” Komodo Loco owner Kyle Krueger said. “Our menu is always evolving. We [are] always trying new recipes and dishes, especially whenever there’s a new food craze on the rise.”

Krueger also said since there are two universities in Denton, there’s a very diverse group of people living in Denton at any time of the year. They try to create a very easy going and casual atmosphere where you can have birthday parties at the restaurant with a crowd or just to bring a date for some one-on-one time. It’s perfect for any occasion.

“Not to mention that we have a full bar, so that helps,” Krueger said.

For computer engineering junior Mitchell Clarke, the variety that the Asian restaurants around Denton bring provides for options outside of pizza or burgers – especially on a college budget.

“I think there’s a good variety here, from Vietnamese food, Thai food and Chinese buffets,” Clarke said. “The buffets make it really easy for college students to just chow down whenever.”

While competition among businesses is usually common, Asian-inspired restaurants around Denton show people just what it means to own a unique, traditional business.

Featured Image: Komodo Loco has Asian-fusion foods in Denton, located off Oakland street, across from Oak Street Draft-house. Amber Nasser

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Michael Vu

Michael Vu

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