Great food. Excellent service. Warm ambience. These elements are how many of our guests would describe Pacific Rim. But as important as they are to a great dining experience, to us they are still only secondary. When Y.B. and I set out to create Pacific Rim, the driving idea for us was hospitality. How do we create a restaurant that expresses our faith and values in extending genuine hospitality to all?

Hospitality is centered on relationship.
We believe cultivating good relationships is the cornerstone of our restaurant. That means treating our staff with dignity and respect. It means treating our guests with a sense of warmth and welcome, like being invited over for dinner. And most of all it means everyone with whom we interact at pacific rim, whether an employee or guest, leaves with a sense of having been enriched and uplifted.

Hospitality is based on honesty.
This value characterizes the entire process from procuring ingredients in the field to putting food on the table. We search the whole world (literally!) for ingredients that are honest – natural, fresh and wholesome. Then we prepare the food in a way that is authentic and healthy – making things from scratch and avoiding shortcuts. Finally, the process ends with wonderful food served to our guests at a fair and honest price.

Hospitality seeks to serve others.
Our guests are treated with service that is warm, friendly and attentive. But the idea of serving others doesn’t just apply to patrons of the restaurant. We serve our staff by providing an uplifting, caring and respectful working environment. In our daily staff dinners, we sit around a table, serve each other and enjoy good food together. Serving others also extends beyond our walls. We seek to serve our community by supporting and collaborating with local businesses and charities.


Some will remember Pacific Rim’s early incarnation as Kana, a small, family-owned Korean restaurant that opened near the University of Michigan Hospital in 1982. After 12 years of success, Mr. and Mrs. Ko outgrew that location and in 1995 moved their restaurant to its current location in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor.

In 2000, Y.B. Ko took over his parents’ restaurant and decided to expand the menu to include other Asian cuisines. He partnered with graduate school friend Duc Tang to create Pacific Rim by Kana. Duc came with no job experience in a restaurant kitchen and Y.B. had little business management experience. But together they possessed a vision for what they wanted to create. While Y.B. solicited the help of many friends to renovate the hall, Duc started experimenting in the kitchen to create a new menu.

Slowly the menu evolved from the traditional Korean cuisine of Mrs. Ko to a more contemporary pan-Asian cuisine that draws from the best of Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai food. And Pacific Rim evolved from a traditional Asian restaurant serving noodles and stir-fries to an upscale fine-dining establishment serving Duc’s own creations that are firmly rooted in his Asian-American heritage.

Pacific Rim turned a new chapter in 2007 with Y.B.’s departure to Hawaii. Now as sole proprietor, Duc forges ahead in continually striving to make Pacific Rim a place of genuine hospitality and great food.

Chef Bio

Duc was born in Saigon, Vietnam and at the age of eight, his family fled the country on a boat and ended up in refugee camps in Hong Kong and the Philippines. They eventually made it to California in 1980, where he grew up with aspirations of becoming a physician. He graduated from Yale University in Biochemistry. He then did a graduate degree in Theology and Biblical Studies at Regent College in Vancouver. He has worked as an inner-city high school teacher and an outreach social worker to the homeless population in New York City. Duc came to Ann Arbor having never set foot inside a restaurant kitchen and having had no formal culinary training. So how is he the chef at Pacific Rim?

“I am as surprised as anybody that I ended up being a chef,” Duc reflects. “I didn’t grow up wanting to be a chef nor did I enjoy cooking, but I did help my mom in the kitchen a lot.” He credits his background and upbringing in giving him an instinct for Asian food. “Helping my mom in the kitchen taught me a sense of what flavors went well together, and having lived in many places exposed me to a wide range of Asian cuisines. I guess you can say my background gave me the proper vocabulary and intuition for food.” At Pacific Rim, Duc brings together this instinct for good food with his creativity and organizational skill to create a uniquely pan-Asian menu that has garnered rave reviews from the Ann Arbor community.


Pacific Rim’s unique pan-Asian cuisine reflects the chef’s own Asian-American roots. Duc is ethnically Chinese-Vietnamese but considers himself as much American as Asian. Likewise, he doesn’t see his food as a ‘fusion’ of western and asian cuisine, but as distinctly asian and distinctly western. “I don’t like the term fusion because it connotes the idea of blending two disparate elements and forcing them to work together when they shouldn’t be together.” He describes his food as authentically asian in its careful use of traditional ingredients and flavors coupled with the appropriate cooking styles. Yet it is decidedly western in its commitment to using the finest ingredients, its reliance on basic French techniques and its emphasis on freshness and seasonality. The result is a distinctive menu that draws from the best of both worlds.