|Monkey King (Summer 2016)|
During the last week of December, I was with a friend who has never heard of mochi ice cream.
“Chinatown adventure time,” I say.
My friend is not very food venturous but the idea of ice cream is the magnet of the excitement. I usually don’t eat ice cream during the winter but to have someone getting excited over something new is an experience I wouldn’t take away.
When we arrived in Chinatown, I parked by Bamboo Garden. I suggested we walk through the bamboo garden and pointed out how vibrant the garden is during the spring and summer time. This past summer 2016, the Monkey King statue was on display but unfortunately its been removed.
As we made our way to Beard Papa’s Boston. I started to point out how some of the restaurants are as old as I am, restaurants like China Pearl, Hong Kong Eatery, and Chinatown Café have been around for a while. Those places are nostalgic for me since I spent a great amount of time there, eating and learning about who I am and experimenting what I like to eat. At this point, I like to eat everything now.
When we arrived, my friend ordered a strawberry mochi while I ordered the sakura, nothing like the taste of the spring during the winter. We sat down and chatted. My friend asked me how much Chinatown changed since I was a kid.
It took me a moment to think about, I must say Chinatown has changed a lot. When I start to think about the places I used to eat at, the vision of the meals would return to me in waves of tingling my taste buds, each having a moment of happiness while eating. I told my friend, how the 2nd floor became my second kitchen serving me lunch and dinner. Or when I had to chauffeur my Dad to Chinatown while he would hang out with his friends at the Maxim Coffee House. He would have me double park down the street and he would bring me back a pastry and a soybean milk. I always had to double back when the meter maid told me “NO PARKING HERE!” There were a number of times, where the meter maid would say “didn’t I just tell you no parking here earlier.” I always said no and shrugged my shoulders before moving, I know it’s rude but what are you going to do. When I was in my early teens, I was completely a jook-sing, focusing only on American foods, so I spent a lot of time at McDonalds.
Even though, I am saddened by the fact that a lot of these restaurants have come and gone. New restaurants are coming in and becoming someone's part of growing up with new food memories. Boston, Chinatown a community, a part of my childhood. It’s still evolving, even today, growing up with Chinatown in many ways is part of who I am. Going to Chinatown, gives me the opportunity to see it grow. A cornerstone that remains the same, a path where folks can still see Chinatown intact with personality and identity as Chinatown grows with us.