Ming Tsai has his eye on India, McDonald’s, and making it to home plate



Celebrity chef Ming Tsai hopes to travel to India one day, but his immediate attention is closer to home — Fenway Park, to be exact. On July 7, prior to the opener of a Yankees-Red Sox three-game series, Ming will throw out the first pitch. “I did this like 20 years ago and even though I practiced with my neighbor, I didn’t realize that the [pitcher’s] mound is like a foot off the ground,” he recalled. “It threw me off and yes, the ball hit the ground right before [home plate], I won’t let that happen again.” Tsai, 58, who stars in Netflix’s “Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend,” is not only a huge Red Sox fan, but his MingsBings vegan, gluten-free pockets — a plant-based take on traditional Chinese flatbreads called bings that are often served at dim-sum — are a main staple in the concessions stands at Fenway Park (as well as at TD Garden), with two popular varieties being cheeseburger and sausage and peppers. Tsai closed Blue Dragon, his Asian fusion gastro pub (located in the Four Point Channel area) in March 2020 when the pandemic hit. He now uses the space as MingsBings headquarters. “I want to get MingsBings into McDonald’s,” said the Newport Beach, Calif., native, whose company motto is “Eat Good. Feel Good. Do Good” (a portion of sales proceeds goes to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund, as well as Family Reach, a charity focused on alleviating the financial burden on families of a cancer diagnosis). “That’s my ultimate goal.” We caught up with Tsai, who lives in Natick with his wife, Polly Talbott Tsai — with whom he has two sons, David, 22, and Henry, 19 — and their dog, Buddy, to talk about all things travel.

Favorite vacation destination?

Hawaii. My parents live there and I’ve been over 20 times. [It has] amazing Asian food, spectacular geography — mountains, ocean, and all in between — and golf. And most importantly, the people with their inherent aloha spirit.

Favorite food or drink while vacationing?

I love the local food — from the land and sea. Always love champagne — duh — good tequila on the rocks, and a ton of sparkling water.

Where would you like to travel to but haven’t?

India. I want to go with Madhur Jaffrey [an Indian-American chef, food and travel writer, and actress], an old friend. We have cooked together and she has been on [my show] “Simply Ming.” She has invited me to go to India with her one day … there’s no better person to show me her country — one dish at a time — than Madhur.

One item you can’t leave home without when traveling?

My stainless steel chopsticks kit with a little chopsticks holder and stainless steel straw and MingsBings reusable water bottle — I don’t like using plastic bottles — plus an open mind.

Aisle or window?

It used to always be an aisle so I could get up and down easily, but now the window because of COVID-19.

Favorite childhood travel memory?

Going to Taipei [in Northern Taiwan] to visit my grandparents. We just ate street food every day — simply the best.

Guilty pleasure when traveling?

Fried foods like onion rings. Also, huge breakfasts, as many places have buffets and omelets. But I balance it with my daily AG [athletic greens] shake.

Best travel tip?

Always travel with your passport. You may get asked to go out of the country and you are already traveling. For example, I was in Hawaii and had an opportunity to go to Asia. If I didn’t have my passport with me, I would have had to go back to Boston to get it. Also, if you lose your ID, it’s good to have your passport as backup.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here