Years later, the city has changed, in no part, thanks to a breed of entrepreneurs like Chung and her business partner Billy Pham. Their restaurant group, Bao Family, went on to open four more restaurants.

Today, Paris’ iconic streets are lined with hip new spots that span the gamut of the Chinese gastronomic universe. There are Sichuan hot pot specialists, bubble tea kiosks and window-facing eateries where dexterous cooks knead, stretch and pull noodles a la minute. Look hard enough and you can even find egg tarts and milk tea reminiscent of Hong Kong’s cha chaan tengs.

It’s a remarkable development for a culinarily conservative city known more for baguettes and macarons.

“Asian food has become trendy,” explained Davina Chang, founder of Hong Kong cafe Bingsutt on Rue Beranger in the third arrondissement. “That’s a broad category but it started with Japanese food which has always had a presence here. Then the Korean wave came and that helped — people have become more open to try new things.”


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