Thursday, July 22, 2010
a-wah and gentrification
Congrats to A-Wah on their NYTimes mention! The homegirl, Victoria (CCC), took me and Emery to lunch here 2 months ago. She's always up on that division/east broadway/catherine street chino scene under the bridge haha. Emery and I aint Cantonese so we don't hear as much about the new joints popping up down there (OMG we aint all the same? lol) but Victoria and Steve's Grandma let us know what's good.
Randomly, Steve's grandma kept trying to explain to Steve this restaurant he should go to. She kept saying "hot rice with cover, hot rice with cover!" haha. I liked the joint the first time I went with Victoria. But we didn't pour their soy sauce all over the rice. I was like, that's some gringo shit to order a bowl of white rice and eat it with soy sauce.
But I went back last night wit Steve and the owner told me to use the soy sauce. BONG. Mind mofuckin blown. Get the red sausage and preserved duck rice casserole. Of all the Chinese cuisines, I think Cantonese has the most in common with Taiwanese. Both are island-ish spots and we both like to use dried shrimps, dried scallops, preserved meats, cured cabbage, and funk. We got stinky tofu, they got king of fruits durian haha. Hong Kong is like Harlem and Taiwan is the rockaways. Renegade Island LOL.
ANyway, I'm happy when joints like A-Wah that people in the hood actually go to get press. I always shit on Joe's Shanghai cause its a wack tourist joint. Its harrible. I went to A-Wah last night cause I knew people would start coming and there was a wait. I won't be back for a while cause its gonna be packed but I don't care. I wanna see these people get paper and come up. I hate gentrification more than the next guy, but my perception has changed. My dad said it best. I came back from Beijing 2 years ago and was like, "Dad, its wack man, they are tearing up everything for the Olympics. All the hu-tongs are being destroyed." And he had the best answer, "Chinese people in Beijing aren't zoo animals. Hu-tongs aren't an exhibit that they need to maintain so you can always go see it." I understood it. We cant see these neighborhoods like fish bowls we put on a shelf like lonely planet books. We like visiting those neighborhoods, we like to see the old school shit, but its easy cause we don't have to live in concrete boxes with no plumbing. We can come back to a/c, laundromats, and poland spring. But they need to come up too.
The important thing is to just make sure we own the land our businesses are on. Lines and wack people coming to your hood are small potatoes. Its annoying, but its a battle, not the war. You want to make sure you don't get displaced but I think overall, Chinese people frequently own the property so I like to think we'll do aite defending chinatown. Where my horns at?