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Tony Koo, restaurant owner

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Tony Koo has spent much of the last 20 years working his way across the United States. From L.A. to New York, he has bounced around until he found a city and a restaurant that was just right. "I came here from Malaysia. My family needed help. First I worked in L.A. I didn't like it. It was too dry. Then I went to New York; there it was too busy with too many people. Then I came here. The air is fresh, and you can live well here, so I stayed." With his decision to live in Charlotte, he opened Dragon Court Chinese Restaurant in the Asian Corner Mall on North Tryon.

Creative Loafing: What is it about Dragon Court that sets it apart from other Asian restaurants in Charlotte?

We do authentic Chinese food. We use authentic vegetables, fresh shrimp, fish, and lobster, and our cooking styles here are very old ... We do offer some Americanized Chinese dishes as well. But we try to be authentic. I go to other restaurants and say I want an authentic dish, and they don't have it!

What made you decide to open Dragon Court?

When I first moved here I was a partner in a restaurant called Dim Sum. I left there because the flavors were too strong. You had to be very experienced in Asian cuisine to know how to properly eat and order it. If you weren't Asian or from a big city, you didn't know what to do with it ... When I left Dim Sum I wanted a place in the middle. In 1999 I opened Dragon Court. We have authentic Asian and Americanized Asian on this menu. Everybody is happy.

What are some of the most popular dishes on this menu?

Oh, there are so many; we have sizzling beef and chicken, beef chow fun, salt and pepper squid. So many dishes. Too many to choose from. Too hard.

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