Chi Fan Le or 吃饭了 means "time to eat" in Mandarin. It was a phrase my mom would shout across the house to let everyone know dinner was ready and hearing the phrase always sparks joy.
I moved from New York to Detroit a couple years ago, and one of the first things I missed was the taste of home. The “taste” can be summarized as Chinese cuisine but broken down into so many different cuisines.
My mom is from Wuxi, which is known for adding a lot of sugar to all their dishes. Wuxi cuisine is part of the wider Jiangsu cuisine, known for its elegance in presentation and softness in texture. My dad is from Weihai, often categorized as “the north” and part of Shandong cuisine, which is filled with seafood, garlic, and wheat-based foods like dumplings and baozi. I also grew up mostly in New York and frequented Chinatown and Flushing with restaurant owners from Guangdong, Hunan, Sichuan and other areas of China, all with their own distinct flavors.
Food has always been a way that my mom (and extended family) expressed their love. Chi Fan Le came from my hopes to share with the community the taste of the love, care, and diversity of the nutritious Chinese food I grew up eating. Thank you so much to everyone that's helped make Chi Fan Le what it is today, and we can't wait to continue sharing our journey ❤️.
(The picture is the table spread we had on Lunar New Year in Weihai in 2020 right when the pandemic was starting 🥲).
We pop up at different venues in Detroit to serve Chinese food and organize food making experiences. Check out our events page to see our upcoming events! Interested in having Chi Fan Le pop up at your business? Check out our booking section.
We collaborate with organizations in Detroit to share recipes and cooking techniques! Maya Angelou said it best, “When you learn, teach, when you get, give.” Please contact us if you are interested in collaborating on an event.
We believe the best experiences come from uplifting and collaborating with others!
We are also continuously looking for ways to better care for the environment. Right now we use all compostable utensils and plateware and composting at every pop-up, but are working to collaborate more with community gardens and local famers for the produce on the menu.
We know there is endless room to do more in all these areas. So, we are constantly learning and looking to improve. We hope to continue creating a space open to curiosity, questions, and feedback!