NEW YORK (PIX11) — They certainly come in handy when you’re hungry but too tired to cook or head out to a restaurant. Food delivery apps have become one of life’s conveniences we’ve grown accustomed to, delivering delicious meals to your door with a few clicks of your phone.
There’s now an app growing in popularity because of the type of food it specializes in – Asian cuisine. Fantuan was a start-up launched in Canada that’s now making waves in New York City.
Although you can order any type of food on Fantuan, its expertise is in delivering food from authentic Asian restaurants. In 2014, Yao Fei Feng was a rising star at Amazon headquarters in Seattle. The software engineer decided to quit his job and move to Vancouver to join his friend Randy Wu, who was still a college student at the time but had an idea to create a food delivery app targeting fans of Asian cuisine. Many Americans love the variety of Asian cuisines. Eight years later, the app’s reach is worldwide.
“It’s available in four countries and more than 50 cities,” Feng said. “When people think of Chinese food, Asian food, Asia fusion, Fantuan becomes their first choice because we provide the most variety choice to ordering the particular cuisine.”
Feng said traditional restaurant owners had to get accustomed to an app that pairs them with the demand from customers. Both the merchant and users pay a fee. The name of the app is from two words “fan,” which means “rice,” and “tuan,” which means “ball.”
“We have this logo exactly like a rice ball and [it] also means united, food, family together,” said Feng.
Popular spot Jiang Nan recently opened its fourth location at 103 Bowery in Chinatown. It’s been using the Fantuan app since it became available in the U.S. in 2019, introducing foodies to their restaurant which specializes in Szechuan and Huaiyang cuisines. Peking duck and seafood dishes are popular items on their menu.
The restaurant gained users, like Summer Lin, during the height of the pandemic when many people felt safer staying home,
“Fantuan is built by the Asian community. As you can see, I’m Asian, so I want to support the community,” said Lin. “I order from them like five times per week!”
In the greater New York City area, Fantuan has now partnered with nearly 2,000 restaurants, and this is only the beginning. They plan on expanding the business into other areas. In addition to delivering food, the goal is to make Fantuan a one-stop service platform that can also run errands for you, deliver parcels or packages, and deliver groceries from Chinese supermarkets to your front door. For homebound Asian seniors, it could be a huge help.
“We are more focusing on Asian cuisine, you can get authentic Asian food because if you’re thinking of Chinese food, it’s not only Panda Express,” Feng said. “Asia food, it’s magic!”