5301-F E. Independence Blvd.
Fu Lin Asian Cuisine
Owner: Francis Lin
Francis Lin, owner of Fu Lin Asian Cuisine, helps his customers carry boxes of food to their cars.
Because of the lunch take-out traffic, the air around the Independence Boulevard restaurant is filled with spicy aromas from the Asian- and Indian-inspired cuisine.
With one couple getting enough food for the entire office, this place must be good.
Lin’s parents, who moved to India from China, ran a restaurant in Calcutta. It is an exact copy of what customers get in Charlotte. Americans would call this style of food “fusion cuisine,” but for Lin, it’s all he knows.
Lin says he’s been serving the mix of Indo-Chinese cuisine most of his life.
“It’s spicy Chinese food with an Indian taste,” says Lin, who uses more ginger and garlic than the average Chinese restaurant. His customers – many are of Indian descent – favor the flavorful, spicier fare.
“I can see that after people eat here,” Lin says. “They are sort of amazed because we have a totally different taste than most Chinese food.”
Fu Lin’s signature dish, Chilli Paneer, is a vegetarian delight with a recipe he protects from his “very smart Indian customers.” The spicy dish is a great choice for a people skeptical about vegetarian fare and features an Indian cheese similar to ricotta. After the cheese is fried, the meal could easily pass for chicken.
It only takes minutes to see the rapport he builds with his regular customers and newcomers alike.
Lin also regularly gets requests from Indian transplants living in Charlotte to make dishes they remember from home and tries to oblige as many of those as he can.
Menu items at Fu Lin range from $1.50 to $13.95, and features vegetarian.
– Profile written by Mike McCray