Yao Ming's parents opened the 100-table Yao Restaurant & Bar in a west Houston strip mall late last month. When the Rockets' All-Star treated his backup Dikembe Mutombo and assistant coach and former Knicks big man Patrick Ewing to lunch, SI's Gene Menez was there.
The three enter and are led to Yao's VIP room, which is customized for tall people. (Yao's mother, Fang Feng Di, is 6'3"; his father, Yao Zhi Yuan, is 6'7".) The doorway is nine feet high, the table and chairs are supersized, and large plush recliners sit opposite a 42-inch flat-screen TV.
EWING: What kind of food do they serve here?
EWING: I know Chinese. But what kind of Chinese? Snake? 'Cuz I don't eat snake.
YAO: No snake. In China, yes, but you're not in China.
EWING: Well, I don't eat pork, duck or chicken either. Only shrimp and fish [and beef].
MUTOMBO: I eat anything.
EWING: [Browsing through the black leather-bound menu] What's the speciality here?
YAO: Uh.... [Looks at menu and shrugs.]