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2016.037.019 Oral History Interview with Wilson Tang 2015/10/30

Wilson Tang is a second-generation Chinese American restaurateur who was born in 1978 and grew up in Queens, New York. Before Tang was born, his parents decided to move out of Manhattans Chinatown to Queens to have a better family environment. Tang later found his way back to Chinatown when he attended college at nearby Pace University. After college, he went into a finance career, a path his parents strongly encouraged him to pursue. Tang quickly realized that the rat race of the traditional 9-5 job did not hold much appeal for him, and he began to consider entering the restaurant industry as his parents had done when they first immigrated during the early 1970s. Tangs first venture was a bakery opened in a building his father owned on Allen street. The bakery successfully ran from 2004 to 2007; however, success came at a steep price for Tangs personal health and well-being. Tang returned to the finance world in 2007 in order to regain control of his lifestyle and life-work balance. It was during this break from the restaurant world that Tang met his future wife and got engaged. In 2011 the opportunity to take over his uncle’s dim sum restaurant Nam Wah arose. More convinced than ever that the career of restauranteering was his true calling and despite the stress of his previous experience, Tang and his fiance decided to make the leap. The couple did some light renovations and refreshed the menu before opening, attempting to breathe new life into Nam Wah while preserving its historic atmosphere. As Nom Wah was renovated, Tang decided to create a Facebook page to document the long history of the tea parlor. The business received positive coverage from both the Daily News and the New York Times. As a result of this media coverage, business flourished and Nom Wah became a staple of Chinatown. Tang is grateful for the success he has experienced, but notes that the restaurant industry is still an incredibly demanding field. He hopes to use his success as a platform to elevate and support other Chinese American entrepreneurs and Chinatown businesses in NYC.