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When Tannis Ling opened her little brasserie in late 2010, she wanted it to be a sentimental homage to the food she grew up eating—and at the same time she wanted to have some fun with it. And so, instead of dan-dan noodles, you might find “Dan-Dan Dance Revolution” noodles. The room itself is an old Chinatown storefront, with vintage floral wallpaper uncovered during the restoration, decorations found in flea markets, and black-and-white photos of Ling’s own family. Food is served family style and it can be a bit random; it just arrives as it’s done. You might enjoy the vegetable pot stickers or the wok-charred octopus salad, crispy pork belly with pickles, or the shao bing, a sesame flatbread with cumin-scented lamb. Before opening her own place, Ling was bartender at Chambar, so the cocktails are fantastic, and there’s also a good selection of beer and wine. Interestingly, when Bao Bei opened, not much was happening in Chinatown; 4 years later, it’s one of the city’s most exciting neighborhoods, and many credit Bao Bei with leading the transformation.