Newly Opened Restaurant MAKfam Is a Love Letter To Asian Cuisine and Culture

Cold weather’s arrival brings a longing for comforting and warm food. Steaming soups and hot noodles are ideal for fighting off the freeze and getting comfortable again. Thankfully, a new food stall turned brick-and-mortar restaurant has just opened, helping to bring new filling dishes that are perfect for the wintertime. MAKfam, run by husband and wife team chef Kenneth Wan and Doris Yuen, seeks to give guests Asian-inspired dishes with a contemporary twist, resulting in a completely unique dining experience.

Chef Kenneth Wan and Doris Yeun, photo courtesy of Jeff Fierberg

“We see MAKfam, especially with the opening of our brick-and-mortar location on South Broadway, as the evolution of META Asian Kitchen that showcases our culinary journey growing up as American-born Chinese (ABC’s),” said Doris Yuen, co-owner of MAKfam. “The ‘fam’ portion of the name is a nod to family because, for us, food is inspired by family.” The menu consists of dishes that derive from Cantonese and Chinese culture while incorporating a more modern take. The couple doesn’t claim to offer ‘authentic’ or ‘traditional’ food as they put their own spin on family dishes.

READ: Meta Asian Kitchen Opens in Avanti with Cantonese Street Food

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Every aspect of MAKfam is intricately thought out to provide visitors with an all-encapsulating experience. The fine casual restaurant is relaxed and homey, made to feel like you are a part of the owner’s immersive cultural journey. Inspiration is drawn from places such as Hong Kong and NYC Chinatown’s dumpling shops. Everything is tied to Asian culture, from the lucky green color scheme to the Kung Fu movies playing behind the bar.

“We wanted to create a space that was comfortable and fun. But at the same time hoped that ABCs would recognize and appreciate the nostalgia such as the HONG KONG pop stars’ table stanchions, neon signs, old-school hip hop and Chinese movies. We’re just trying to be unapologetically Chinese American,” Yuen described. 

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To pair with the food, the team has also come up with original drinks that reflect their heritage. In the spirit of amplifying Asian voices and flavors, they began looking for niche beers to serve that were from AANHPI breweries and found them at Japas Cervejaria, a Japanese Brazilian brewery based out of São Paulo, and Young Master beers from Hong Kong.

The cocktails are based on nostalgic flavors familiar to Cantonese Americans, such as grass jelly and red bean, which are featured in desserts and VLT Lemon juice boxes that are very popular with Cantonese children, in the same way that Capri Suns are with Americans. The team married these ingredients together to create a play on a Long Island Iced Tea called the HKIT (Hong Kong Iced Tea). An MSGin Martini is also available, highlighting MSG’s versatility and umami flavor. 

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It is clear that MAKfam is providing delicious Asian fare that is unlike any other. Its playful and wholehearted approach has resulted in delicacies that warm the soul and stomach. When visiting, make sure to try the Fancy Wun Tun Tong, which is a variation of a traditional chicken and shrimp wonton soup served in a creamy broth, bursting with flavor. Or the Sizzling Spicy Noodles, which are thick and chewy wheat noodles tossed in a housemade málà seasoning and Uncle Tony’s chili oil. Made for adventurous eaters, this tangy dish is sure to delight, especially when the 24-hour braised pork belly is added.

No matter what you try, MAKfam is here to welcome guests to a familiar yet wholly distinctive cuisine, along with an unforgettable evening that cannot be replicated. 

MAKfam is located at 39 W 1st Ave, Denver, CO, and is open Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11 a.m. – 8:45 p.m. and on Friday & Saturday from 11 a.m. – 9:45 p.m. and is closed on Tuesdays.