An Asian street food counter with roots on the east coast will soon be setting up shop inside LoHi’s Avanti Food & Beverage food hall and restaurant incubator.
On Thursday, Avanti announced it will welcome Meta Asian Kitchen to the counter space currently occupied by fried chicken sandwich favorite Chicken Rebel in mid-October. Chicken Rebel, which popped up at Avanti in June, will open as a full restaurant within the building belonging to LoHi’s Mythology Distillery later this month.
Chef Kenneth Wan and his wife, Doris, started Meta Asian Kitchen as a pop-up operation that would show up at various food markets and events around New Jersey and New York.
Kenneth is the son of Asian immigrants from Hong Kong who owned a Chinese take-out restaurant in Boston. He graduated from the French Culinary Institute in New York and then decided to pursue his passion for Asian cooking, ultimately spending the next 10 years working in several Asian restaurants in New York.
Now he’s channeling those diverse experiences into Meta, which seeks to offer creative and modern versions of classic Asian street food items such as dumplings and rice cakes. The counter’s signature item will be the Mama Wan’s, a rice bowl topped with braised pork belly and pickled vegetables.
The menu (all items are $15 and under) will also feature “shareable bites” such as the bao buns and homemade chicken dumplings. Meta will also serve Hong Kong street cakes (sweet, crisp and eggy cakes that are similar to waffles) along with popcorn chicken for the kids. A brunch noodle bowl will also be offered on weekends.
Kenneth, who says his decade working in Asian restaurants taught him the virtues of starting slow and growing organically, is hoping to build up a strong following within Avanti before hopefully expanding the business into brick-and-mortar locations.
Meta Asian Kitchen will open at 11 a.m. daily and stay open until 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and later on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays (an exact closing time for those days has not been determined). On the weekends, the counter will also feature a changing late night menu that will include such items as spicy edamame, scallion pancakes, and fried calamari.
Meta Asian Kitchen will join Bistro Georgette, Brava! Pizzeria Della Strada, The Rotary, Quiero Arepas, QuickFish Poke Bar and Street Feud as the current restaurants inside Avanti.
- All previous Eater coverage of Avanti Food & Beverage [EDEN]
- Meta Asian Kitchen [Official]