It's pretty fun going to another Chinatown. It's like walking your own streets, except it's completely different. Some people will argue, why go to a whole other city just to go to the Chinatown, isn't that limiting yourself?
A lot of people from the older generation used to do this when they went to New York.
But hold on, we didn't JUST go to Chinatown. It's also fun to check out your own community. But let me do some quick comparisons with some other groups.
Jews in the Middle Ages.
In the Middle Ages in Europe, Jews were legally put into a separate category, required to wear identifying hats (stuff that Trump suggests we might look at doing today for Muslims coming into the country) But anyway, they were tucked way, in their own little ghettoes. Ghetto is in fact a yiddish word right?
But they could still travel. They would travel from this Warsaw's Ghetto all the way to Prague's Ghetto. They had to stay among themselves for protection.
African Americans in the 60's
Malcom X said in his autobiography (written by Alex Haley) that all you had to do to find out where the African American people (he used the older outdated and politically incorrect language probably... but later in Africa he starts using African American) anyway to find out where to hang out with other African American people you just had to look in the phone book for the Lincoln High School or the Lincoln Boulevard. I laughed out loud when I read this because nowadays, you only have to look for Malcom X boulevard. I wonder if he knew that it would be his name on the street one day.
But again Malcom X would look up where to go mostly for fun and social reasons. African Americans gathered in a community not by choice, in fact wealthy African Americans will often move to affluent white neighborhoods.. as do Chinese. But you still might want to look up your own people.
Well Chinatown is a place that everyone might want to look up. You could be any flavor of human other than Chinese and still want to check out Chinatown fro the food or handbags or whatever. Grace had looked up a restaurant online that had rave reviews. I thionk it was called Dim Sum garden. We went in and it was packed. There was a huge line.
"You want to wait for this?" I mean it's not like we can't find another Dim Sum place. In fact I looked at the line and the crowd. There was one old Chinese lady sitting down eating. But the line was full of white people, A white woman holding a baby in one of those baby carriers. Holy crap if she's willing to wait in line like that then the food must be good right? I looked at what some other white people had ordered. Steamed Baos and Chung Yao Beng Scallion pancakes. Okay Grace makes those at home. They might be great, but was it worth the wait?
We went to the place next door. Joy Tsin Lau.
We used to have places in Boston like this. Old Old School. Not only were the walls plastered with decorations and photos of that old school variety, but it even had the art work of grandchildren and "Good Job on Your Performance recital!" awards. Wow. I remember my friend from Hong Kong saying that Boston was so backward for having a place like that. That Hong Kong hadn't had a restaurant like that since the 70's.
No Boston doesn't have a place like that. So this Philly place was special Awesome portions... Well I'll do A separate post on this later.
We walked down the street and I bumped into my best friend and his mom and aunts from Boston. What the hell? I remember my Mom saying that they had walked through Philly's Chinatown with my dad and bumped into friends from Boston.
But none of us are forced to visit Chinatown. We are doing it because we like it. We don't NEED Chinatown, but it's nice to have.
Grace went to get a powerball ticket at a DVD place (yes DVD's) that still rented out VHS. Does Boston still do this? Maybe but you don't notice when you visit all the time.
We Bought Wah Moi preserved plums (or I suppose I could call them sugar plums at this season) and the kids ate those as we continued our touristy walk.
I have to talk about parking too because that was a story in itself. But in any case, though you might go to New York for the Statue of Liberty and you might go to Philly for the Rocky Statue, there's nothing wrong with going to the Chinatown too. There are other places to get Chinese food in Philly (more on that later) but the place that says Chinatown on the map is the easiest one to do without having to look it up on line.
So that's why you see articles about Chinatown's disappearing. The set in stone, written on the subway map Chinatown's are shrinking. But there are more Chinese communities or mixed communities where there is awesome Chinese food.
Services too? Not sure.