Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Get Your Halloween Spirit ON by Trying the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory's Pumpkin Ice Cream!

One visit to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory and you'll see that it's not hard to believe that the Chinese are indeed the inventors of ice cream. The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory has been around for almost three decades and is often referred to as an "unofficial landmark of Chinatown". Locals and tourists alike rave exotic flavors such as lychee, red bean and green tea ice cream. Its accolades include the Zagat Award of Distincition and The Best Ice Cream in NYC by Citysearch, along with many others.

What to Try: the Thanksgiving cakes at this shop have been a local tradition for many Chinese families as well as other New Yorkers.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Places to Visit in Chinatown

CHATHAM SQUARE (off Bowery and Worth Street), also known as Kim Lau Square is the site of the Kim Lau Memorial Arch found in the middle of the square. It was erected in 1962 in memory of the Chinese Americans who died during WWII. East of the square on Division Street is Confucius Plaza, where a statue of the philosopher stands.
FIRST SHEARITH ISRAEL CEMETARY is just south of Chatham Square. It is the oldest cemetery and artifact in New York City, dating back to 1683.
FUJIANESE EAST BROADWAY is the heart of the new Fujianese community. In this three-block area around the Manhattan Bridge there are Fujianese rice-noodle shops, herbal medicine shops, fresh markets and hair salons.
DOYERS STREET is a picturesque narrow elbow-shaped street just north of Chatham Square. It has been featured in numerous movies and TV shows.
MOTT STREET is where visitors can truly feel the hustle and bustle of Chinatown. A plethora of banners and signs with Chinese writing, some of Chinatown’s most popular restaurants and shops, and the rhythms of Mandarin and Cantonese dialects fill this narrow street. The oldest street in Chinatown inhabited by the Chinese, it is also the site of the Chinese Community Center and the Eastern States Buddhist Temple of America. The street is also home to 32 Mott Street (where the oldest shop in Chinatown used to stand – established in 1891), and 41 Mott Street (the only building that remains with a wooden pagoda roof).
FIVE POINTS (at the intersection of Mosco, Worth and Baxter Streets), it was named for the intersection of the five streets that converged at the south end of what is now Columbus Park. It is was also the site of the city’s first tenements built to accommodate immigrants from Germany and Ireland.
MUSEUM OF CHINESE IN THE AMERICAS offers special exhibitions on the history of the Chinese in the U.S. Exhibits feature personal stories, photographs, mementos, and poetry.
COLUMBUS PARK, situated just half a block south of the museum, is Chinatown’s major park. Created by Jacob Riis, a social reformer in the late 1890s, the public space is used by groups practicing tai chi, mahjong players, children and elderly men and their pet birds. On some weekends fortunetellers can be found here as well.
PELL STREET is nicknamed “Haircut Street” because of a multitude of barber and beauty shops found here. The headquarters of the Hip Sing Business Association is located on this street and a Buddhist Temple is just a stone’s throw away. This temple is mainly for visitors; worshipping Chinese opt for more secluded and quieter temples.
EDWARD MOONEY HOUSE is the oldest residence in New York and is found on at the corner of Bowery and Pell Street. Built in 1785 by Edward Mooney, an amateur butcher, today it houses the Summit Mortgage Bank.
CHURCH OF THE TRANSFIGURATION was erected in 1801 by the English Lutheran Church and sold to the Roman Catholic Church of the Transfiguration in 1853. It served as a place for new immigrants to become adjusted to their new lives and today offers services in Cantonese, Mandarin, and English.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


The People of Chinatown

Chinatown is a surprisingly diverse neighborhood. Since the 1800’s the area today called Chinatown has been home to the highest number of immigrants in New York, representing a variety of ethnic groups. In the mid-1800’s, the Irish, Germans, and freed slaves resided here and by the late 1880’s and into early 1900’s the next wave of immigrants brought Eastern European Jews, Chinese, and Italians. Today, the majority of Chinatown's inhabitants are from the Guangdong, Toisan and Fujian Providences in China as well as Hong Kong. The Cantonese community today is well established in this area whereas the Fujianese people, who come from Fujian Province on the southern coast of mainland China, are considered the “new immigrants”. The neighborhood is also home to Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Burmese, Vietnamese, Filipinos and West Africans, among others.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Chinatown New York City

The Chinese first arrived in the US in the early 1800s. Many of these new immigrants worked during the gold rush in mining, manufacturing, and building railroads. The Chinese in the U.S., were largely self-supporting, with a growing internal structure of governing associations and businesses that provided jobs, economic aid, social services and protection. Life became more difficult with the enactment of the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882-1943), limiting the growth of Chinatown.

Chinatown has been growing steadily since the elimination of the immigration quota in 1968. Today Chinatown is home to hundreds of garment factories that have an annual payroll bill of over $200 million, a jewelry district that rakes in approximately a $100 million in gold and diamond sales per year, over 200 restaurants that attract thousands of tourists, and 27 banks, by far the highest bank-per-capita ratio in the city.

Friday, October 20, 2006


The 5th Annual Taste of Chinatown event will be held on Saturday, October 21 from 1 pm - 6pm, rain or shine.

Bring your friends, family, and loved ones down to Chinatown for a sampling of $1-$2 tasting plates. $10 is all you need to be stuffed with rice, noodles, tea, desserts, and more. Seriously.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Ten Ren’s Tea & Ginseng Co. - 75 Mott Street, Tel: 212-732-7525 – New York’s largest and most comprehensive tea center founded by Mark Lii, whose Taiwanese family has been in the tea business for eight generations. Customers can shop for premium-quality green and black teas. They sell traditional loose tea leaves, tea bags, artisan-produced tea accessories, and ginseng. On some occasions visitors can even partake in a tea-serving demonstration and become educated on the traditions and customs associated with serving tea.
Kam Man Market – 200 Canal Street, Tel: 212-571-0330 – A Chinese supermarket that carries a wide array of Chinese food products, including an extensive tea selection.

For those with a sweet tooth, the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory also sells a green tea flavored ice cream. It is personally one of my favorites among many other flavors sold at this family-run business. Look out for future posts on my favorite store in Chinatown...the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Discover the Traditional Treasures and the Hippest Sips of Tea in Chinatown

Chinatown is a haven for the largest varieties of tea that can be found in New York. Whether a novice or a connoisseur when it comes to tea, there is a taste for everyone in Chinatown’s broad range of tea houses, cafés, and specialty tea shops. Take the time to stroll into one of these establishments and sip on tea ranging from traditional green teas to trendy tapioca bubble teas. More recently, a new wave of tea drinkers has emerged. Young and hip, this new crowd has a high-demand for exotic spiced teas, fruit-infused choices, and tapioca bubble teas.

Tea houses are an integral part of everyday life for the Chinese, and in Chinatown, they offer visitors a place to relax and re-charge after a day of walking and shopping. Discover a fusion of new and old at tea houses that offer both traditional Chinese tea and fun-to-drink tapioca bubble teas. Try different varieties of tea and enjoy a snack at the same time. Ideal tea houses and cafés to rest one’s feet or converse with friends in the area:

Silk Road Mocha – 30 Mott Street, Tel: 212-566-3738 – paying tribute to both its Italian and Chinese history, visitors can sip one of Silk Road’s popular frothy tapioca bubble teas or enjoy an aromatic espresso
Nom Wah Tea Parlor - 13 Doyers Street, Tel: 212-962-6047 – their specialty is traditional oolong tea
Green Tea Café – 45 Mott Street, Tel: 212-693-2888 – sip their excellent green tea and tapioca bubble tea and munch on delightful Chinese snacks
Tea & Tea – 51 Mott Street, Tel: 212-766-9889 – offers an array of teas including: tapioca bubble tea, Japanese green tea, red tea, and Chinese jasmine tea

Next time I'll post a variety of places in Chinatown where you can buy tea to brew at home.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


These Markets, among many others, are a “must” in Chinatown:

82 Seafood Corp., 192 Elizabeth Street
131 Fish Market Inc., 131 Mott Street
A-Fei Meat Market, 217 Grand Street
Asia Market Corp., 71 Mulberry Street
Deluxe Food Market, 122 Mott Street (entrance also at 79 Elizabeth Street)
Grand Food Market, Inc., 133 Grand Street
Hong Kong Supermarket, 109 East Broadway
New Ao Jang Market, 141 Mott Street
Pan Orient & Seafood Corp., 124 East Broadway
W.K. Vegetable Co., 124-126 Mott Street
Dynasty Supermarket Corp., 68 Elizabeth Street
Po Wing Hong Food Market, 49-55 Elizabeth Street
Kam Man Food Products, 200 Canal Street
Fu Chong Long, 27 Catherine Street

Monday, October 16, 2006


Chinatown New York City’s markets offer the freshest and most diverse selections of produce, tofu, meats, seafood and spices -- many of which can only be found in Chinatown. New Yorkers who have not yet discovered the benefits and cultural experience of shopping in a Chinatown market are sure to be pleasantly surprised with the variety and high-quality of goods, not to mention the bargain prices.

Vegetables and Fruits
Looking for lotus roots? Winter melon? Perhaps some baby bok choy or fresh tofu for your favorite dish? Hard-to-find items such as Chinese turnips (only around 60 cents a pound!), and rare lily bulbs from China can be found in Chinatown’s bustling markets. Those who love Asian-cooking will also love the wide array of choices when it comes to Chinese vegetables and herbs. Delicious Chinese vegetables such as choy sum (a flowering cabbage with tiny yellow flowers), bok choy (Chinese cabbage), guy lon (Chinese broccoli), and guy choy (Chinese mustard greens) are widely available in Chinatown. Oranges and apples sound mundane? Take a break from the usual choices and shop for tropical fruits and rare fruit varieties.
Fresh Vegetables: okra, winter melon, bitter melon, peapod leaves and taro
Preserved Vegetables: snow cabbage, preserved radish and pickled vegetables
Fruits: durians, star-fruits, dinosaur eggs (dapple dandy) lychee, longan, dragon fruits, kumquats and persimmons

For those who crave lap cheung (Chinese preserved sausage) or Chinese roast duck, look no farther than Chinatown, a Mecca for meat-lovers. Here, expect to find all types of meats selling at affordable prices, ranging from Chinese roast pork to white Peking duck as well as cuts of meat that are not generally available at American markets. Meats include: roast duck, roast pork, chicken, goose, tripe and liver.

One of the highlights of Chinatown’s markets is the live seafood showcased in tanks. Live lobsters, fish, crabs, prawns, and even sea cucumbers are a delightful sight for seafood connoisseurs. Prices for seafood in Chinatown are among some of the lowest in New York. Seafood includes: grouper, sea cucumber, sea fungus, fish balls, squid, octopus and shellfish.

Chinese Dried Ingredients, Sauces and Spices
Hard to find dried ingredients for soups, sauces and stews are also available at most Chinatown markets. Visitors will notice the alluring barrels in front of these markets that are filled with dried goods such as ginseng, abalone, squid, scallops, jellyfish, stingray, salty fish, Chinese black mushrooms and bean curd. These are often used as a base for soups, stews and sauces.

Asian sauces give food a distinct Eastern flavor and Chinatown markets offer an array of sauces for cooking including a selection of soy sauces, oyster sauce, chili sauce, preserved black bean sauce, shrimp paste and fermented bean curd sauce.

Impress guests or spice up a home-cooked meal by cooking with a variety of Asian spices such as five spice powder, star aniseed powder, Szechuan pepper, dried orange peel, black sesame seeds and brown peppercorn.

Next time I will post a list of markets where you can do your shopping!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Save the Date!

The 5th Annual Taste of Chinatown will take place on Saturday, October 21, from 1 pm - 6 pm.
Visitors can pick up a tasting map on the day of the event at the Chinatown Partnership tent on Mott Street or at the Explore Chinatown Info kiosk on Canal Street at Baxter. Plates of food are only $1 - $2 and over 50 restaurants, tea houses, bakeries, and specialty food shops are participating this year. Go easy on your wallet and try and assortment of Chinese, Malaysian, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Singaporean, Japanese, and Asian fusion foods.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Where to Go

Easily overlooked, Wing Wah Bakery Inc. (244 Grand Street) offers fresh, authentic goods. For a mere 100 pennies - pair a legendary pineapple bun with milk tea for a delicious snack. Bite into another bargain: loaves of fresh, white bread baked daily, sell for only a dollar.

Maria’s Bakery (42 Mott Street) specializes in wedding cakes, birthday cakes, and gourmet buns, but “Chinatowners” know this tiny, hole-in-the–wall bakery is the place to go for winter melon cakes, known as “wife cakes” in Chinese. It is believed that women who bake or purchase these flaky pastries on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month will be blessed with children.

With a stylish interior and beautifully arranged pastries and cakes, the Hong Kong-style Fay Da Bakery Corp. (83 Mott Street, 191 Center Street, and 214-216 Grand Street) offers everything from tapioca bubble tea to curry puffs. The tiramisu, fruit, chocolate, and almond crème cakes are especially reasonable in comparison to other New York bakeries. Similar in style is the Manna House Bakery Inc. (217 Grand Street, 125 Mott Street, and 87 East Broadway). Here visitors should try the delicious egg tarts and cock’s tail buns. Other bakeries to try are: Tai Pan Bakery (194 Canal Street), King’s Bakery (49 Bayard Street), and K and D Bakery (143A Mott Street).

Monday, October 09, 2006


Treat Your Taste Buds to Fresh Buns, Tarts, Cakes and Cookies

From sweet to savory, meat-filled, red-bean flavored or made with coconut, there is a taste for every palate when it comes to Chinese pastries. Typically, the sweet aroma of a Chinatown bakery can be sensed even before the store is in sight. Visitors to Chinatown cannot help but notice the multitude of bakeries that are scattered around this two-square-mile neighborhood. Most of the bakeries carry classic Chinese baked goods such as egg tarts and almond cookies, but several offer exceptional creations and specialty items not found anywhere else in the city. Proximity to Little Italy, and the cultural blend of American and Chinese heritage means that some bakery items bear a fresh, continental twist.

The Best Baked Goodies to Try:
Cock’s Tail Buns (gai mei bao) – in the shape of a cock’s tail, these buns are filled with a sweet coconut paste
Coconut Tarts (ye tot) – yellow tarts made with coconut, usually garnished with a cherry on top
Custard Egg Tarts (dan tot) – a Chinatown favorite, they are made with egg custard baked in a flaky crust
Hot Dog Buns (cheung zai bao) – a tasty combo of both NYC and Chinatown – these are buns with a hot dog enveloped in sweet, fluffy bread and in some cases topped with a honey glaze
Pineapple Buns (bo lo bao) – a delicious bakery staple but don’t let the name fool you; these buns resemble pineapples but do not contain any pineapple ingredients. Instead, they are filled with a sweet mild custard filling or made plain
Red Bean Paste Buns (hong dau sa bao) – contains a smooth red bean paste filling, has an exotic semi-sweet flavor and is made with sweet bread
Roast Pork Buns (char siu chan bao) – whether steamed or baked, these delicious buns blend the sweetness of the bread with the savory taste of Chinese BBQ-flavored roast pork

Tomorrow I will post a list of bakeries you should try the next time you're in Chinatown.

Friday, October 06, 2006


Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival!

Get your mooncakes in Chinatown today. Available at bakeries such as Fay Da Bakery Corp. (83 Mott Street, 191 Center Street, and 214-216 Grand Street) and Manna House Bakery Inc. (217 Grand Street, 125 Mott Street, and 87 East Broadway) and Chinese food store Kam Man (200 Canal Street) mooncakes make great Mid-Autumn Moon gifts for your family and friends, and are always best shared.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Mooncakes, Movies, and Masks
Tomorrow is the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. Celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, this is the day when the moon appears to be the fullest to the eye, and mooncakes are given as gifts and eaten on this day.

Chinatown New York City is celebrating with FREE events and films open to the public. All events are being held at Columbus Park, Chinatown.
  • Moonshadows and Masks - Thursday, October 5th @ 6:30 pm - Chinese Theater Works performs "Puppetry & Chinese Shadow Theater" ~ ~ ~ 7:15 pm - Music Palace (2005, 9 min.), King of Masks (1996, 91 min., NR, Mandarin with English subtitles)
  • Femmes Fatales - Thursday, October 12th @ 6:00 pm - Rock out with Asian-retro-pop-inspired Galjn a Go-Go ~ ~ ~ 7:00 pm - Charlie's Angels (2000, 95 min., PG, English)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Dim Sum Restaurants to Try in Chinatown
Dim Sum Go Go – 5 East Broadway, Tel: 212-732-0796
Golden Unicorn Restaurant – 18 East Broadway, Tel: 212-941-0911
Grand Harmony Place – 98 Mott Street, Tel: 212-226-6603
Hop Shing Restaurant – 9 Chatham Square, Tel: 212-267-0220
HSF Restaurant – 46 Bowery Street, Tel: 212-374-1319
Mandarin Court Restaurant – 61 Mott Street, Tel: 212-608-3838
Pacifica – 138 Lafayette Street (Holiday Inn), Tel: 212-334-9003
Sunrise 27 – 27 Division Street, Tel: 212-219-8055
Vegetarian Dim Sum House – 24 Pell Street, Tel: 212-577-7176

Dim Sum-to-Go Restaurants in Chinatown
Dumpling Hut - 52 Bowery Street, Tel: 212-619-1999
Tasty Dumpling - 54 Mulberry Street, Tel: 212-349-0070
Sun Dou Dumpling Shop - 214-216 Grand Street, Tel: 212-965-9663

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Experience a Fresh New Way to Brunch at Chinatown’s Dim Sum Restaurants

Chinatown New York City is like no other place in New York because visitors can try hundreds of different kinds of dim sum: bite-sized delights that tantalize the palate. Meaning “a little bit of heart” in Chinese, dim sum restaurants are abundant in Chinatown and cannot be found anywhere else in the city. They are excellent venues to try a wide variety of unique Chinese dishes, enjoy a never-ending stream of tea, and engage in lively conversation.

History and Origin of Dim Sum
A charming tradition that began in Cantonese tea houses, dim sum displays an incredible variety of Cantonese cuisine including dumplings, steamed dishes, rice rolls, and sweet tarts. Harmoniously linked to the Chinese tradition of yum cha or tea drinking, weary travelers on the Silk Road needed places to wind down and rest, so tea houses were built to accommodate them. Farmers from nearby rural communities also flocked to the tea houses after a hard day’s work to sip on tea. Once people learned that tea aided in digestion, their popularity grew, and tea houses soon began serving small food dishes to complement drinking tea. Thus, the tradition of dim sum began.

Dim Sum and its Traditions
For the Chinese, dim sum is considered a breakfast, brunch or lunch meal and is an ideal activity for family gatherings. In most dim sum restaurants in Chinatown, trolleys filled with four or five different types of freshly made dim sum are constantly wheeled out from the kitchen to the table. Customers choose the dishes they want when the trolley passes their table, and the waiter will place the food on the table and mark down its price (depending on whether it is a small, medium, or large dish) on a piece of paper already provided. Other restaurants allow customers to pre-order the dishes from a printed menu.

Dim sum is usually prepared by steaming and frying, among other methods. The size of the dim sum are generally quite small, with three to four pieces to a dish. It is an affordable meal: for five people expect to spend around $40-$50. Usually loud and vivacious, dim sum restaurants are good places to chat with friends and relatives while enjoying a good meal. The best way to enjoy dim sum is in a large group, so there is the opportunity to sample several different varieties and tastes of small dishes instead of filling up on a few items.

Types of Dim Sum
Dim sum restaurants usually serve a wide range of dim sum, and ingredients include beef, chicken, shrimp, pork, and vegetables. Although most traditional dim sum contains meat, vegetarian options are commonly offered in restaurants as well. As a culinary art form, dim sum is aesthetically pleasing and equally tasty. Because most dim sum is rather complex to make and requires much “heart”, skill, and time, most Chinese families prefer to go out to restaurants for their dim sum. However, our fast paced lifestyle has impacted this tradition and there are a number of “fast food” dim sum places offering quick meals or bags of dim sum to bring home.

Shrimp Dumplings (har gow) – shrimp filling, wrapped in translucent rice-flour skin in a half-moon shape; dim sum connoisseurs often judge a restaurant’s dim sum by the quality of their har gow

Steamed Barbeque Pork Buns (char siu bau) – soft, fluffy and white, these buns are a favorite among frequent dim sum goers

Lotus Leaf Rice (law mai gai) – glutinous sticky rice that contains egg yolk, chicken, mushrooms and Chinese sausage wrapped in a fragrant lotus leaf and steamed

Spring Rolls (chun guen) – rolled inside a delicate flour skin and fried, they contain ingredients such as carrots, pork, shrimp, and Chinese mushrooms and are eaten with soy sauce

Rice Noodle Rolls (cheung fun) – can be steamed or fried, they can be filled with either roast pork, beef, shrimp or are available plain, and are eaten with soy sauce or peanut sauce

Pork and Shrimp Dumplings (siu mai) – a dim sum staple, these round steamed dumplings contain a shrimp and pork filling that peek out on top through a thin yellow rice-flour wrapper

Custard Egg Tarts (dan tot) – sweet treats made with egg custard baked in a flaky crust, they are the most popular dessert dim sum

Thousand Layer Sweet Cake (chien chang go) – this delightful dessert is made with several thin layers of sweet egg cake