With each of Jew’s projects, the chef says he thought about exactly what kind of Chinese restaurant he wanted to evoke or pay homage to. There is, for instance, the picture of a traditional Chinese family restaurant that many Chinese Americans might have in their mind’s eye — the big fish tank, the round tables with lazy Susans. Then there’s the prototypical quick-service dim sum deli, and the old-school Chinese-American takeout joint, with its white takeout cartons, disposable chopsticks, and soy sauce packets.
Mamahuhu aims to strike a happy medium between those two categories of Chinese dining experiences, Jew says. It’s meant, first and foremost, to be a restaurant where customers can sit and enjoy their meal — but with counter service, and a more casual vibe than the kind of place where the waiter ladles your soup out at the table. And unlike at, say, Mister Jiu’s and Moongate Lounge, Jew wants Mamahuhu to be the sort of restaurant where customers can come in just to order takeout.