Nearly a half-century ago, Jose Choi's parents emigrated across the globe from China to Barranquilla, Colombia. There, they opened a restaurant called Jardines de Confucio and taught their son everything involved in running the operation—from searing vegetables to perfection in a wok to masterfully folding napkins into medically accurate swan replicas.
A grownup Jose eventually moved to South Florida, bringing along his love for food as well as his extensive experience in the kitchen in order to create his own branch of the family eatery. At the resulting Confucio Express in Brickell, his clan’s brand of Latin-influenced Chinese cuisine introduces diners to dishes of shrimp tossed with jalapeño, deemed "perfectly cooked" on the Miami New Times blog. The menu, whose contents range from classic beef lo mein to enhanced chicken-and-shrimp fried rice, was also honored with the Best Chinese Take-Out distinction in 2012.