An assortment of multicolored playing tiles are inlayed in the countertops and walls of Mah-Jong Chinese Kitchen in Plano.
As its name suggests, the playing tiles are from the world-famous Chinese game mahjong.
“Mahjong is kind of a popular [game] in China, especially in [the] south area, like Hong Kong and Shang-jen,” restaurant owner Michael Liu said. “They play mahjong all the time. It’s quite famous, and a lot of American people … play it as well.”
The restaurant opened under a previous owner in 2015 at a shopping center southwest of the intersection of Preston Road and Spring Creek Parkway. Liu took over as the owner of the restaurant at the beginning of 2018.
Liu first moved to Collin County in 2007 to live in Allen with his cousin. He later began waiting tables, which became his introduction to the food industry, he said.
He continued to establish himself in the local community, taking classes at Collin College and eventually meeting his wife. Mah-Jong Chinese Kitchen is now the third restaurant Liu has owned.
For customers new to Mah-Jong, Liu said he recommends the pan-seared duck breast from Maple Leaf Farms.
“I read an article that the Maple Leaf duck breast is like the steak from a bird, and also the way we cook it is … like that,” Liu said. “We cook it medium rare, so it’s pink inside and crispy on the outside—very tender.”
In order to ensure the restaurant carries the freshest ingredients, Liu personally hand-picks many of the produce items that are used in his dishes.
“I go to shop at the grocery store,” Liu said. “[I] buy fresh materials all the time. Maybe three, four, five times a week. Almost every day. … Especially the veggies [are] hand-picked.”
Since taking over, Liu said his customer base is largely regular customers.
“Most of my customers are repeating customers—they just like this place,” Liu said.