Watch This Brilliantly Fictitious Account of One of Restaurant Culture’s Greatest Inventions

By Andrew Morrison Aug 26, 2019

Last week I openly pined for more Lazy Susans in Vancouver’s restaurant scene. I just love the things and wish they were more common. While the convenient turntable-on-table’s origins are a matter of the historical record, I much prefer this fantastical take by filmmakers Ian Kibbey and Corey Creasey. They tell a much different (and better) story.

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The yum cha rules you need to know

Karen Chiang, BBC Travel, 28 February 2019

As a born and bred Hong-Konger, going to yum cha with my family every Sunday is an important tradition that has lasted many generations. Here, stories old and new are recounted over a table full of bamboo baskets that hold a variety of dim sum – small bites that encompass everything from delicately translucent prawn dumplings and silky rice rolls to molten lava custard buns and sweet roasted pork buns.

Literally meaning ‘drink tea’ in Cantonese, yum cha is as common a meal in Hong Kong as coffee and toast in Western culture, where Chinese tea is enjoyed with dim sum at traditional tea houses. Dating back to ancient China, teahouses have long been a place of rest and conversations for the common people. Read more…

Yum cha is as common a meal in Hong Kong as coffee and toast in Western culture (Credit: Karen Chiang)

The politics of banning shark fin in Vancouver

Mike Howell, Vancouver Courier, MAY 7, 2019

Remember that day long ago when then-city councillor Kerry Jang stood up in the council chamber with two packages of shark fin in his hands?

Maybe you don’t.

I do because I happened to be there. Something about working for a living. It was September 2012.

The packages belonged to Jang’s mother and were purchased more than 40 years ago. Their original price was $14 each. Apparently, the fin is now worth several hundred dollars. Read more…

The City of Vancouver is waiting to see whether a bill will be passed in Ottawa to ban shark fin before considering a Vancouver-only ban on the Asian delicacy. File photo Dan Toulgoet

UK doctors will soon prescribe cooking classes to combat loneliness

Associated Press, October 15, 2018

LONDON — Doctors in England will be able to write prescriptions for cooking classes and walking groups by 2023 as part of the government’s effort to combat loneliness.

Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday described loneliness as “one of the greatest public health challenges of our time,” saying it is linked with a range of illnesses, including heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

The government says around 200,000 older people across the country haven’t had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month.

The government’s anti-loneliness strategy calls for “social prescribing,” which will allow doctors to recommend group activities such as cooking classes, walking groups and art clubs, instead of medication. About $2.4 million has been earmarked for the initiative.

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YOUR KEY TO Vancouver’s Trendy Chinatown

Shelley Hayashi

Vancouver’s Chinatown is undergoing a transition – a crossroad where the past meets the present and tradition intersects modernity. As many old businesses retire or move out to the suburbs, new businesses bring refreshing and exciting opportunities to this area. It’s a favourite neighbourhood of mine to explore, as I always come across new shops and discover new experiences.
A Settlement of Chinese Labourers
Vancouver’s Chinatown, with its rich and colourful history, grew out of a settlement of Chinese labourers brought over by the CP Rail Company in the late 1800’s to complete the final treacherous part of building the railroad across western Canada. Chinatown was the only place in those days where these sojourners could find housing and community support. As the years passed, this rough and tumble neighbourhood expanded and evolved into a prosperous, vibrant gathering place for Vancouver’s ever growing Chinese population. Chinatown was jammed with shops, restaurants and nightclubs from the 1940’s to the 1970’s, and the neighbourhood continued to be a community hub until well into the late 1980’s. Read more…

Food is a powerful community builder

United Way

Food is a powerful community-builder. It brings people together, bridging cultural and generational divides. It shapes our understanding of the world.

“Food is about dignity,” says Kevin Huang, co-founder of the Hua Foundation, a youth-driven non-profit organization based in Vancouver’s Chinatown. “Food keeps us alive. It connects us socially and culturally to our families and the places we call home.” Read more…

Photo credit: Christina Lee

What banquet culture means to San Francisco — and Chinatown

April Chan, May 12, 2017

San Franciscans of a certain generation have a specific vernacular to describe things of epic proportion: hella. (To emphasize the epicness, trill the “l” for added dramatic effect.) For this San Francisco native, it’s the only word that comes to mind when I think of banquet dinners in Chinatown. As in, hella loud. Hella, hella food.
And in the case of Chinatown’s New Asia restaurant, hella big. So for me, news of the city’s decision to convert Chinatown’s largest banquet hall into affordable housing brings mixed feelings. With gentrification sweeping through many parts of San Francisco, any effort to keep increasingly disadvantaged, longtime residents of any neighborhood — let alone, a historic district such as Chinatown — should be lauded. Read more…

Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle / The popular New Asia restaurant in S.F.’s Chinatown is popular for banquets. The city is in contract to purchase the property and convert it into affordable housing.

Searching for a lost piece of Vancouver’s Chinatown

JOHN MACKIE, January 31, 2017

When Salli Pateman decided to open a restaurant in Chinatown she wanted to do something that reflected the neighbourhood’s history. The Vancouver Archives had a 1936 photo of her building at 158 East Pender, showing staff from the Sai Woo Chop Suey restaurant watching a parade. So she named her restaurant Sai Woo. Read more…

Men on street in front of Sai Woo Chop Suey House at 158 East Pender Street, circa 1936. James Crookall/Vancouver Archives AM640-S1-: CVA 260-452. JAMES CROOKALL / PNG

Are we witnessing the death of Chinatown — in Vancouver and across North America?

By Douglas Quan, National Post

VANCOUVER — As dusk fell over Chinatown recently, a line formed outside the entrance to Kissa Tanto, a stylish Japanese-Italian eatery named Canada’s best new restaurant this year by enRoute magazine. A trio suited up for the downtown office towers nearby sipped cocktails over candlelight at the Juniper Kitchen and Bar. Around the corner, twentysomethings seated at share tables gorged on vegan pizzas at Virtuous Pie. Hip new restaurants and glass and concrete condos in Canada’s largest Chinatown have, some say, injected a youthful vigour into an area that has been stagnant for years. Gone are the days when produce and seafood stores spilled their wares onto busy sidewalks and shoppers haggled with shopkeepers to “peng di la!” — drop their prices even more. Read more…

The cavernous Chinatown Supermarket sits empty. (Mark Yuen / Postmedia News)

Chinese Cooking in the U.S.: A Short History

By Bob Frost, HistoryAccess.com, 2009

America today has about 41,000 Chinese restaurants, according to one trade magazine, a total that exceeds the combined national presence of McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell. Journalist Jennifer 8. Lee makes an interesting point: “If our benchmark for Americanness is apple pie, ask yourself, how often do you eat apple pie? Now how often do you eat Chinese food?” Read more…

A wok holding stir-fried vegetables and meat.
A wok holding stir-fried vegetables and meat.