Every three months or so, Buddakan's co–executive chef Yang Huang leads his staff on a tour of Chinatown. It's not just his fellow kitchen workers who make the trek — the tours are designed to familiarize front-of-house staffers with the neighborhood. ("I've never been off of Canal street!" one server confessed to us. "But don't tell chef.") While Buddakan's menu skews more pan-Asian than the traditional comfort foods of Mott Street, Huang believes the excursions serve a purpose: "It's good for them to get out here and see what [Buddakan's] food was inspired by," he said. "It makes them smarter servers." We tagged along on Huang's most recent excursion earlier this week — check out the slideshow to see the chef's favorite places to pick up noodles, tofu, banana flowers, beef jerky, and more.
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