Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) Launches a New Food Series: MOCAEATS featuring Xi'an Famous Foods and Di Palo Selects

Event: MOCAEATS: Xi'an Famous Foods and Di Palo Selects
Date: Thursday, December 5, 2013
Event Time: 7.00 p.m. - 9.00 p.m.
Location: Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013
Admission: Free
RSVP required:


[New York, NY] November 22, 2013 - The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) will launch its inaugural food series, with a panel talk on food culture and family businesses, on December 5. The program is in conjunction with the Second Annual Marco Polo History Colloquium.


Co-hosted with Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, and moderated by Erika Lesser (Former Executive Director, Slow Food USA), this panel consists of renowned food entrepreneurs Jason Wang (Xi'an Famous Foods) and Lou Di Palo (Di Palo Selects).

At the panel, the entrepreneurs will share insights on their success stories and the stories behind their thriving businesses in New York City's oldest and most famous neighborhoods. This discussion will be followed by a delicious food tasting session.

Di Palo Selects is a 4th generation family business and their specialty store offers authentic Italian foods and hand-selected artisan ingredients in the Little Italy Historic District, New York City. Co-founder Lou Di Palo is personally involved in every facet of his family business.

Xi'an Famous Foods introduced the unique and little-known cuisine of Xi'an to the United States, with signature hand-ripped noodles, secret spice mixes, and Xi'an "burgers" with house-made flatbread. Entrepreneur Jason Wang joined forces with his father to expand their family business, Xi'an Famous Foods.

MOCA's Signature Public Programs series, MOCAEATS mines the rich field of New York's local, regional, and global cuisines through food tours, tastings, and talks with food writers, restaurateurs, and chefs.

This public program is supported by the Harry K. Ligh Memorial Fund and Target.


Jason Wang

Xi'an native Jason Wang grew up in New York City and attended college with plans to pursue a corporate career. When his father, a veteran of Chinese kitchens, opened the first Xi'an Famous Foods to sell dishes based on family recipes, Jason saw the potential of the business and was eager to help the restaurant grow, at one point experimenting with dishes in his dorm room while in college. Following a brief stint in the corporate world after college graduation, Jason decided to fully invest himself in Xi'an Famous Foods, learning every aspect of the business from the ground up. In the past four years, he has expanded the hole-in-the-wall chain to five locations in the New York City area and opened a sister restaurant, Biang!. Through these restaurants, Jason brings a dining experience that appeals to both Chinese families who come to eat expecting authenticity, to everyday Americans looking to explore flavors.

Lou Di Palo

Lou Di Palo, the 4th generation proprietor of Di Palo's, a landmark Italian specialty food store located on Grand Street in New York's Little Italy since 1925. Lou, whose great-grandparents emigrated from Basilicata in 1903, continues to maintain his family's heritage and tradition of cheese making while keeping an eye on today's tastes and trends. In addition to offering his fresh, handmade mozzarella and ricotta, Di Palo's offers an extensive selection of fine imported Italian cheeses, meats, and specialty foods representing every region of Italy. Along with other members of the Di Palo family, Lou explains the traditions and history behind the products, offering tastes to the store's patrons, many of whom have known Di Palo's through the generations. The Zagat Survey has named Di Palo's New York City's #1 cheese store since 1999.

Erika Lesser

Erika Lesser has been working in food and nonprofits for over fifteen years, including a decade with the international nonprofit Slow Food. She is currently the Development Officer for The Sylvia Center, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire children to eat well. By teaching them to cook, TSC helps children to establish independent healthy eating habits - so that they may lead healthy and productive lives. She is also a consultant with Urbane Development, a community development venture that cultivates innovative solutions to build dynamic neighborhoods and positively impact underserved communities, where she focuses on food program development and local food enterprises.

For more information on the event, please visit our website here. All programs in English, unless stated otherwise.

About Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)

MOCA's mission is to celebrate the living history of the Chinese experience in America, to inspire our diverse communities to contribute to America's evolving cultural narrative and civil society, and to empower and bridge our communities across generations, ethnicities and geography through our dynamic stories.

Monday - Closed
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday - 11am-6pm
Thursday - 11am-9pm
Target Free Thursdays: Free gallery admission is through the generosity of Target, with additional support provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

General Admission: $10/ MOCA Members: Free
Seniors (65+ with ID) and Students (w/school ID): $5
Children under 12 in groups less than 8: Free