Cooks Mike and Kim Tsao, owners of Lucky Chinese Restaurant, craft their recipes on international flavors building on family traditions of Vietnam, Laos and Taiwan and a world traveling brother-in-law, Thom Lasikeo, of Chicago.
The couple has been in business in Sedalia for 16 years and moved in a newly constructed building on West Broadway Boulevard in the fall of 2012.
Mike is from Taiwan and Kim is from Laos near the Vietnam border. Mike said their food reflects northern Chinese style cooking.
“My wife is from Laos so that’s why we have some combinations,” Mike said. “My special is General’s (chicken) and Mongolian beef, that’s very popular.”
Mike said their food is different because it’s more flavorful than other Asian style restaurants. It’s the food they remember from their homes and the flavor is what brings customers back for more.
“When you’re hungry you want to eat it again, we don’t get tired of it,” he added.
“We have an international taste,” added Lasikeo.
Lasikeo visits during the off-season and helps out at the restaurant. But he is also an international traveler who likes to find new, bigger city recipes and dish ideas to bring back for the Tsao’s to cook locally.
“I work for Chrysler, but I’m just here helping out,” he said.
He has helped the couple each season for many years.
“I travel around the world,” he said. “And I go different places and I see whatever is popular or famous and I bring it back here and Mike fixes it.”
In Canada he has found Vietnamese food ideas and in other travels Indian and Thai curry dishes.
“Some people here haven’t heard of some of the dishes I found,” he added. “Like in Florida, such as Massaman, it’s like a Indian curry dish and also kimchi.”
Kimchi is a spicy fermented Korean side dish made with vegetables, mainly cabbage.
“We have a lot of people that come and ask for kimchi and we sell it,” said America Perez, one of the restaurant’s waitstaff.
Perez said customer menu favorites come from the Pan-Asian section and are Singapore Noodles, Thai Panang Curry, Pad Thai, Vietnamese Summer Rolls and Vietnamese Vermicelli Salad.
“Some people walk in here and they don’t expect to see the variety,” Lasikeo said. “That’s why we make it different.”
Perez also said the Lucky Chicken Spicy Wings on the buffet are great.
“They are really good, you don’t think of chicken wings at a Chinese restaurant,”she added.
The couple adds a variety of Asian spices, including ginger, and everything is fresh and homemade.
“Everything is handmade,” Perez said. “Kim makes the summer rolls with rice noodles, and the vermicelli salad is one of the favorites on the buffet as well.”
Instead of ordering boxes of pre-made foods, Kim makes all the appetizers by hand and usually spends two days a week creating them for the coming week. Mike also breads and fries his chicken instead of offering pre-packed chicken nuggets.
“Kim is from Laos so her food is very, very different,” Perez said. “She makes all the appetizers by hand, the crab Rangoon, the cheese wontons, egg rolls, and pork spring rolls too.”
“I have a summer roll, a summer roll is very healthy and has fresh vegetables” Kim added. “We have many flavorful dishes. Anytime people come they have to have one of these, these are spring rolls and they are made with pork and noodles and you dip it in a peanut sauce.”
Lucky Chinese Restaurant, 2700 W. Broadway Blvd., is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. With a lunch buffet available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday and on Friday nights. During the weeknights family style meals can be ordered off the menu. For more information call 826-8880 or go to luckychinesesedalia.com.