Marshall student opening authentic Chinese restaurant Tuesday

Danite Belay
Marshall student Yangbo Song stands in front of his restaurant, Shangri-La, which opens to the public Tuesday.

Marshall University is not only home to sons and daughters of Marshall, but young entrepreneurs as well.

​A native of southeast China, Yangbo Song came to the United States through Marshall University’s INTO program. He graduated from Marshall in May as a computer science major and is now pursuing a double master’s in business administration and computer science.

​What sets Song apart from most Marshall students is his business dream that has now become a reality. Song will soon be opening his first business, Shangri-La Chinese Restaurant.

​Shangri-La is the name of a fictional Chinese city, known for its paradise-like landscape and beautiful scenery. Song said he immediately knew he wanted to name the restaurant something that was different, showed culture but was not too hard for non-Chinese people to pronounce.

​“It’s kind of paradise in our culture. It’s a pretty place. I want people to feel like they are in paradise when they come to the restaurant,” Song said.

​Song said he wants to bring his culture to the area and thinks the best way to do it is by connecting people through food. The Marshall student also said there aren’t any authentic Chinese restaurants in the area and believes his restaurant may change the “food environment” of Huntington.

“We need food,” Song said. “I’ve asked a lot of people what they are looking for and they said they want original Chinese food.”

Although many people may say they have tasted Chinese food throughout their lives, Song said he plans to bring a different take on Chinese food to Huntington that will leave customers coming back for more.

“It’s not like another restaurant, Song said. “Others are really American style. It’s called Chinese food, but it’s not.”

The style of his food, Song said, will be Sichuan, a spicy, hot style of cooking. Song said he tries to make it 100 percent authentic but will probably make small changes to make the taste for palatable for American customers.

The opening menu consists of cold plates, hot plates, soups and griddle dishes. The restaurant will not have a buffet, but will offer authentic Szechuan Chinese dishes like pork tripe with sauce, pakchoi and griddle chicken giblets. The menu also has American style Chinese food, like pot stickers and General Tso’s chicken.

​“Anything on the menu, I highly recommend,” Song said. “I didn’t pick anything that’s just ‘normal.’ Everything on the menu is our best.”

​Shangri-La Chinese Restaurant, located at 322 10th St, will be open to the public Tuesday, Dec. 12.

Danite Belay can be contacted at [email protected]