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North America

Asian restaurants in US serve up a feast of fast-casual

Build-your-own dining takes hold, but not every launch is a sure-fire winner

Junzi Kitchen offers a fast casual interpretation of northern Chinese noodle dishes and chun bing wraps . (Photo by Elisabeth Rosen)

NEW YORK -- With its shallow cardboard bowls of food, modern-looking white-tiled walls and smooth wooden tables Junzi Kitchen could easily pass for a branch of Chipotle, a chain of Mexican restaurants that has popularized the fast-casual business model across the U.S.

Like Chipotle, Junzi Kitchen combines the no-frills efficiency of a fast-food franchise and the quality promise of a sit-down restaurant. But instead of burritos, customers at this restaurant near New York's Columbia University line up for northern Chinese wraps called chun bing and knife-cut noodles flavored with bean sprouts and chili oil.

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