Gabriel Foo of Suga
Give our readers a little background information about where you're from.
I grew up in Philly in the restaurant business. My parents opened their first restaurant Hunan in 1979 in Philly. It was just your average chinese restaurant. Over the next 10 years my mom strove to improve and innovate the cuisine culminating in the opening of Susanna Foo Chinese Cuisine in 1987 which was almost immediately critically acclaimed and very successful. It was one of the first Asian Fusion restaurants in the country.
I read that you previously worked in the medical field as a doctor. When did you know that you wanted work in the restaurant industry?
As a child I saw how hard my parents worked so I wanted to do something else so I became a doctor and worked just as hard as they did. Then they opened a restaurant in the Borgata and it was so exciting I decided I wanted to join them.
What are your thoughts on Philadelphia's Asian food scene?
I think the Philly Asian scene is improving. There are some really good restaurants. But it’s not where the LA or NYC scene is.
In your opinion, how does SUGA stand out from other Chinese restaurants in Philly and the surrounding area?
Coming from a high end French influenced fusion cuisine back to our Chinese roots, I think we bring a unique approach to Chinese cuisine. We use higher quality ingredients than your average Chinese restaurant and our food is lighter and more delicate.
Was it easy brainstorming a menu for SUGA?
It was fun coming up with new ideas. We are always putting new things on the menu.
Are you able to accommodate people with food allergies?
These days a large percentage of our guests have food allergies or restricted diets so we do our best to accommodate most of them.
What factors came into play for choosing Rittenhouse as the location for SUGA?
What are some of your personal favorite dishes on the menu?
My current obsession is with the MaLa beef tongue. It’s a re imagination of a classic Szechuan chinese dish that is both spicy and mouth numbing but without the heavy oiliness of the classic dish.
SUGA also offers brunch, tell our readers a little about it.
We have brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. We have dumplings, egg fu young, bento boxes and lots if other good food. And $6 mimosas and bloody marys!
Name one thing that you and your mother, Susanna Foo, love most about SUGA.
Providing good food and good times to our friends and guests!
For information about Suga, visit www.sugabyfoo.com