Chinatown, March 2015


chinatown  (sonya kovacic)

chinatown (sonya kovacic)

Hong Far Low was the first Chinese restaurant in Boston opening in 1890, on 36 1/2 Harrison Street. The food would have looked different from what many Americans consider Chinese food to be. Even now, some people are shocked when they go to Chinatown and there is no orange flavored chicken on the menu. 

However, the story of Chinese food in America is a story of cultural appropriation. One example is the peking ravioli, a word unique to Boston. Leah Mennies from the   Lucky Peach investigated. Peking ravioli dates back to the 50's when Joyce Chen opened her Mandarin restaurant in Cambridge, Joyce Chen Restaurant. She wanted to introduce food from her city of Being to Boston, hence Peking. And ravioli because raviolis are known in many cultures.

Fun fact: because of Boston's Irish American population, in the 1970's, "Chinese takeout in Boston often came with sliced French bread instead of rice. "

Read the Lucky Peach story here

Watch a video of Joyce Chen cooking Egg Foo Yung.