For my very first piece, my plan was to share the origin story of House of Nanking. I wanted to take us all the way back to 1988. It would have been a fantastic way to kick off my brand new Fangalicious newsletter. But the world had different plans.
This morning I woke up to my husband, shoving his Iphone in my face. He just like every other kid or adult who was alive in the late 90's has been long awaiting the 4th installment of the Matrix Series, myself included. And this morning, the highly anticipated trailer was finally released. We watched it in bed with my two kids, Ava and Neo. Yes that's correct, my son's name is Neo, named after The One from The Matrix.
You're now probably wondering the following:
1. Why would I name my son after Neo in The Matrix
2. How does this have anything to do with my newsletter which is suppose to be about food and my life being a chef, restaurant owner...
3. Why on earth is this your first piece?!
Let's bring you back to February 2020 so you can understand why I'm so thrilled to see The Matrix 4 Trailer, in anticipation for the movie release in December 2021. For those of you who live in San Francisco, you may remember all the excitement back in Feb 2020, when people were spotting Keanu Reeves all throughout the city filming The Matrix. Fans were following film crews and camping out like stalkers, many even skipping work to try to catch a glimpse of the beloved Keanu Reeves aka Neo aka John Wick. Then came a flood of articles sharing photos of Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss outside of House of Nanking, our restaurant. My phone was exploding with messages, is House of Nanking going to be in The Matrix?! Did Keanu Reeves eat at House of Nanking?! OMG, tell me what's going on? Did you see him when he was there?
My lips were sealed until now. This morning I watched the trailer and saw our little restaurant in one of the scenes and my heart exploded. I may have shedded a few tears. Never in a million years would I or my family ever think that our restaurant could be in a movie. I mean we've shot with various networks before, such as Food Network, CNN, and ABC but in a movie?!? A high profile Hollywood movie with my all time favorite actor/star ever AND for it to be part of one of the most famous movie series of all time?!? I'm speechless.
I'm so proud of my parents for building such an institution and truly blessed to be a part of it now and help grow it. I'm humbled by the producers, directors, and everyone else who made it happen and selected us for this particular scene. As you know, there are more Chinese Restaurants in San Francisco than in most cities across the country and for them to choose us out of the millions of shops is just such an honor.
So for my very first piece on Fangalicious, I thought what better way to open up my newsletter than with the perfect example of how food has made both my family's life and mine such a unique and beautiful one. We've taken our life passion, turned it into a career, turned it into something that is deeply ingrained into our personal lives and it's grown so many branches of experiences and opportunities that we never imagined it can bring. Now is the time to share this with everyone else who is interested in our journey. Now go watch the trailer and see if you can spot our restaurant in once of the scenes. And it goes without saying that the movie itself will have more:)
The day of the shoot with Keanu Reeves, my dad and I. Not looking my best as I was extremely pregnant at the time.
I was 38 weeks pregnant at the time of the shoot. Our son was suppose to be named Hawk and then this amazing opportunity happened. My husband who started out as a computer hacker thought was it was fate to have The Matrix shoot at House of Nanking while I was pregnant with our son. It would make for a great story on how Neo's name came to be. So we changed our son's name that day to Neo.
Keanu Reeves is one of the nicest celebrities/actors I've ever met and so humbling. We got to chat with him between his shots. I can also add Food Stylist on a movie set to my resume now:)
5:30am call time...I'll wake up anytime for this.
Saving the best for last. That's me when I was in middle school, with Keanu Reeves aka my heartthrob/crush waiting in line at House of Nanking. This photo still sits on our wall in House of Nanking. If you go to there to eat, you will find this photo hanging on the wall by the window seats. The film crew was so nice they surprised me with a new and better one. They made a clearer version for me to hang on the wall so it could stay there for many more years to come.
And if you're wondering why we got selected, well this photo provides a hint. Keanu along with the directors, creators of The Matrix and the crew have all been long time fans of House of Nanking. They are some of our O.G. customers. Now how's that for a first post!?