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Peter Chang’s newest restaurant, Mama Chang, will feature homestyle cooking.
Does Peter Chang cook at home? “No, he doesn’t,” says Lydia Chang, his 30-year-old daughter.
But that’s the point. Lydia says Mama Chang is not about the famous Peter Chang, but about his wife, Lisa Chang, who is a pastry chef who “doesn’t get the recognition.” Her mom, Lydia says, is actually the creator of many of Peter’s signature dishes, such as the scallion bubble pancake and the spicy, silky tofu skins.
The name of the restaurant is also a reference to Peter’s mom, who helped to raise—and feed—Lydia. But it’s also about returning to Fairfax.
“Fairfax is home to us. We’re back to our home base,” says Lydia, who is in charge of business operations for the Chang’s many restaurants, including one planned for Baltimore next year. This is where Peter first cooked and became the known-entity he is today, and some of China Star’s most famous dishes will make an appearance on the menu.
Different from Peter’s other restaurants, Mama Chang, set to open this winter, will showcase cooking from Hubei province, where Peter is from, with dishes not saturated in peppercorns, like the Szechuan cooking Peter is best known for.
Instead, there will be an emphasis on cured meats and fish, with a Chinese-style charcuterie plate possibly featuring wild game; sourcing is still being worked out, says Lydia. There will also be a salad display case (chili oil mushrooms, shredded tofu skin), plus plenty of homestyle stir fries, says Lydia, because that’s the dish of home cooks: “All they need is a burner and a wok.” // Opening winter 2018/2019; Mama Chang: 3251 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax