Taste the World / Sun Cuisines and Sun Roll
Photo of black rice sushi above by Nancy J. Parisi; all other photos by kc kratt
1989 Niagara Street, Buffalo; 447-0202 or suncuisines.com
Owners: Kevin and Stephanie Lin
Cuisine: Burmese, Thai
In business since: 2010
it's taken Kevin and Stephanie Lin just a few years to grow their business from a grocery store with takeout to an acclaimed Asian eatery with three locations (Niagara Street in Buffalo, Main Street in Williamsville, and a downtown Market Arcade kiosk), but behind those years are decades of training and hard work, including stints in Toyko and Queens.
The Lins have made a distinctive mark on the Buffalo dining scene in two major ways. First is their introduction of Burmese food. When they arrived in the area, in 1997, Western New York's Burmese population was negligible. Between 2002–2015, however, over 12,000 Burmese arrived in Buffalo; this became one of reasons Kevin Lin decided to open the first restaurant serving Burmese dishes such as own no koksware (chicken coconut noodle soup), Burmese chicken curry, and fish cake salad. In addition to Burmese and Thai specialties—and a wide variety of fusion dishes—Sun added a black rice menu in 2013. Black rice is said to be a highly nutritious grain, loaded with protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. At Sun, it is formed into sushi and served in salads. Sun's vegetarian black rice pods and rolls are beloved by those looking for healthy alternatives to what's usually available from the Asian takeout scene.
The black rice menu also allows Kevin Lin to show off his impressive sushi preparation skills, acquired during his years in Tokyo and as a sushi contractor here in Buffalo. The combination of Asian cuisines found at Sun reflect Kevin Lin's ability to adapt to the changing desires of his customers. As he says, "I communicate with customers face to face every day."
Elizabeth Licata is editor of Spree; this article includes material from an earlier Spree report on Sun.