One of the pleasures of being a restaurant expediter is the privilege of seeing the emotions of a Chef when his dishes go on the hot line. Some chefs serve up their craft with an aura of pride while some maintain a lingering gaze as their dish goes out, yearning for affirmation. The expression of Che Li's multi-award-winning Chef Wang can be best described as 'in deep thought,' as he reminisces his initial daring decision to make a road less traveled like Jiangzhe cuisine into a highway that leads straight into the hearts (and stomachs) of many New Yorkers. Some may say that this has been a two-year act of leading the Big Apple into unfamiliar territory, but whether it's through a piece of Crispy Eel or Smoked Fish, Che Li's mission is to simply share a piece of their home.
The region described as Jiangzhe envelops some well-known Chinese provinces including Zhejiang, Jiangsu and most notably, Shanghai. With over a millennia of history pre-dating the Tang Dynasty, it's surprising that Jiangzhe cuisine's popularity does not match its age. However, it has gained notoriety due to its diverse palate, extensive variety and refined style. Crafted together by many regions, profiles of light flavors and freshness are prioritized. Textures of crispiness and tenderness are no slouches, married with flavors from shallots, vinegar, garlic, and cooking wine. Signature dishes at Che Li such as their hand-peeled Long-Jing Shrimp, Braised Pork Belly, and 'Squirrel' Fish are perfect, delectable examples.
Che Li's East Village location highlights an old style, bustling Chinese market filled with fragrant, delicious dishes, where locals spend their first earnings after a successful venture to the pawn shop. One can say that it's just like how we all have that one spot where we must have lunch/dinner at on pay day. Che Li's Flushing, Queens location mimics a pavilion-ridden riverside dining experience commonly found in Eastern China. Whether on this side of the Earth or the other, it is a perfect, timeless spot to spend an evening or an afternoon during a well-earned weekend.
Whether it is in 2023 or 1023, people generally share the same pleasures in life with fond memories shared time and time again over a spread of their favorite foods. Che Li embodies three of the most important principles in Chinese hospitality
If you have something wonderful, you must share it with others.
If you can do something wonderful, you must do it for others.
If you enter our home hungry, you must leave satisfied.