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Published: 2022-05-17 15:37:00
Updated: 2022-05-18 09:02:27
Posted May 17, 2022 3:37 p.m. EDT
Updated May 18, 2022 9:02 a.m. EDT
By Renee Chou, WRAL anchor/reporter
— MOFU Shoppe proudly takes cultural ingredients and creates unique cuisine that its owner, Sunny Lin, likes to call “authentically untraditional.”
One of their signature items is a mac and cheese made of Korean rice cakes called tteokbokki, baked in a spicy Thai paste.
Also on the menu: steamed mussels in a green curry sauce served with Chinese “yo tiao” or fried dough sticks. These are just a few of the creative creations you’ll find at MOFU.
The name comes from the Chinese word for fortune, “fu.” Lin said MOFU stands for “more fun, more fortune, more food.”
MOFU shoppe in downtown Raleigh
The restaurant first started in 2014 from a food truck that served dumplings and pho.
Lin said her friend Sophia Woo came up with the idea and asked her to join after graduating from NC State.
“I felt it was a great way to marry everything I loved — my culture, business and food,” she said.
The two created the “Pho Nomenal Dumpling Truck” with funds raised from a Kickstarter campaign.
After a tough first year, their food truck gained national attention in 2015 from the Food Network.
Lin and Woo won — the first all-female team to win the food truck competition — and used their prize winnings and momentum from the exposure to start MOFU Shoppe at 321 South Blount Street in Raleigh.
“You have a dumpling in every culture,” Lin said. “You’ve got perogies, you’ve got ravioli… any culture has some kind of meat wrapped in a dumpling.”
Lin said the dumplings are an easy conversation starter.
MOFU shoppe in downtown Raleigh
“It helps invite people even if you’re not familiar with any Asian cuisine,” she said. “It’s still such an approachable dish that people can come together and share.”
The recipe for the dumplings was inspired by dumplings they ate in their childhood, but modernized and re-imagined. In fact, MOFU’s entire menu is catered around creativity.
“It’s really just what we grew up eating,” says Darany Samountry, who started out helping to make dumplings and is now the current general manager. “We just like to bring those fun and unique flavors to the masses in a way that’s fun and accessible, but at the same time still lends to the authenticity of what Asian food is.”
Samountry was born and raised in Raleigh by her Laotian mother and Thai father.

“Growing up in the South, as an Asian American, my identity was very… I struggled with that,” she said.
But over the past 10 to 15 years, it’s been easier to accept who she is. Her parents had owned a restaurant, and showed her that food is a great way to introduce things to people and bring people together.
“It allows us to be able to still be authentic and be who we are and introduce these new things to new people,” Samountry said.
Lin came to Raleigh as an undergrad at NC State in 2006. She says she’s able to do what she loves, thanks to the support and sacrifices of her Taiwanese parents.
“I’m living the American dream. When my parents came here, we were literally saving quarters that my mom made as tips from being a waitress,” Lin said. “It’s a unique position to be a second generation American, and loving both cultures equally, and being advocates for both.”
Lin’s original restaurant partner, Sophia Woo, left MOFU in 2020 to pursue her passion in nonprofit work.
Ingredients to MOFU’s success also include co-owner Matt Kenner, and executive chef Matt Greiner. Lin said the menu is always changing, as a reflection of the family they’ve built at the restaurant.
“That was kind of our inspiration, to keep inviting people,” Lin said. “No matter who you are, you have a place at the table to share these conversations and food.”
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