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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Dim sum, Yum Yum

Nancy, a ward member in the Dyker Heights Chinese Ward, has always been very kind to us.  She has referred us to several apartments and has come along to translate, as many of the landlords speak very broken English.

On a few occasions, she has asked us if we had ever eaten dim sum and our answer was "no" but we had eaten Chinese food.  In walking the streets in Dyker Heights and Flushing (both big Chinese communities) we had ventured into very "Americanized" Chinese food.  This was fine with us as we were not anxious to eat fried chicken feet or other such delicacies.  Nancy was very kind and said she would like to introduce us to authentic Chinese food.

We met Nancy along with another senior couple serving in Dyker Heights, Elder Ho and Sister Lee (they are married), and a Chinese mother and daughter who we did not know.  The daughter had just graduated from Cornell Law School and her mother travelled from China to attend the graduation.

We parked at the church and walked to 8th Avenue (the heart of Dyker's china town) and then walked on 8th Avenue to 65th Street.  On the outside, the restaurant looked like any other establishment, but once you entered it was huge with a line of people waiting to be seated, all Asians. The restaurant could seat 300 people, and every table was filled.  It reminded me of a casino in Las Vegas with all the lights and glitz.

Starting from the left, mother, daughter, Sister Lee, Elder Ho, Richard, me, and Nancy
 We soon found out that dim sum is a Chinese cuisine prepared in small bite size portions and served in steamer baskets.  Servers stroll around pushing carts with food and you just point and say what you would like.
All of it looked very strange to us.

Server with a cart of food.  This was very "tame" looking food.

As you can see the restaurant serves many people starting at 8 am until 10 pm.  We were the only non-Asian people in the room, but then that is not usual.
During the lunch conversation, I asked mother how many children she had and she answered one.  She spoke very little English.  Elder Ho then told us that in China if you ask someone that question they will look at you as if you are very naive or stupid.  He explained that it is government policy for a family to have just one child.  They might also look at you suspiciously thinking that you are government informer and are going to report them if they have more than one child.  I didn't tell her how many children we have!

It was a lovely lunch and will be a wonderful memory of New York.  By the way, we really don't care for dim sum but it was a fun experience.


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