After working in the computer hardware industry in Beijing for 13 years, James Kyle returned to Portland with a serious craving for regional Chinese food. “Beijing should be the food capital of China,” he says. It’s the seat of the Chinese government, which results in a melting pot of Chinese cuisines designed to please the palates of regional politicians. After long workdays, Kyle would unwind with American and Chinese colleagues and friends eating tricolored jiaozi (dumplings) and dredging crispy fried ribs through spiced salt.
With these flavors in mind, Kyle teamed up with experienced Portland chef Kyo Koo (Bluehour, Mugaritz), and after eight months of testing recipes and pop-ups, all those plates will reappear in the form of Danwei Canting on January 4. The 49-seat, fast-casual, counter-service restaurant is located at SE Stark and Sandy (right across from The Slammer), and comes with an outdoor patio with views of downtown.
Kyle says using Northwest ingredients has altered the plates slightly but the goal is to keep them as accurate as possible. This involved multiple research trips to China with Koo and a series of test dinners among Kyle’s friends in the Portland Chinese community.
If you want to get inside this week, prepare for lunch: Danwei Canting will only be soft open Wednesday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The restaurant will then close for the weekend, and lunch will resume January 9 through January 14, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The grand opening is Monday, January 16, when Danwei will roll out dinner. Stay tuned for a closer look at the menu, as well as photos revealing the restaurant’s Portland-by-Beijing style.