Danielle Chang: Exploring Asian culture

Updated: 2016-04-23 03:03

By NIU YUE in New York(China Daily USA)

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Danielle Chang: Exploring Asian culture

Danielle Chang signs book for readers after the screening of the PBS series Lucky Chow at Queens Library in Flushing on Tuesday. Niu Yue / For China Daily

Danielle Chang can remember 10 years ago, when take-out menus still lumped Thai, Chinese and Japanese dishes under one heading. And when she told people she was born in Taiwan, many would then regale her with stories of their vacations to Thailand.

But not anymore. "I like to think it's because our bellies have taught us well," Chang said.

Lucky Chow, a six-episode PBS series following Chang as she travels across America, exploring the Asian food landscape, was screened in part at Queens Library in Flushing on Tuesday night as part of Living Memory: The Culture and Heritage of Chinese New Yorkers, a joint project by the library and the Museum of Chinese in America.

Through the lens of Asian food and drink, the Lucky Chow series explores how Asian cuisine has impacted American food culture and Americans' understanding of Asian culture. The series introduces a new generation of chefs and entrepreneurs dedicated to keeping traditions alive by evolving them forward.

The Chinatown episode of the series, which was screened Tuesday at the library, tracks the journey of Chinese food in America through the eyes of two restaurateurs in New York: Wilson Tang, a third-generation Chinese chef who preserves the legacy of his family's dim sum parlor (America's oldest) while opening a fine dining Chinese restaurant on Chinatown's expanding Lower East Side, and Ed Schoenfeld, a self-proclaimed Chinese food expert and owner of RedFarm, one of the most critically acclaimed Chinese restaurants in New York, who provides a tutorial on preparing Peking duck.

"Chinese food has long been an American classic," Chang said in the episode. "Right in the heart of the original Chinatown of New York City, where Chinese culture began to flourish generations ago, a new Chinatown is rising, driven by the love of the cuisine, passionate entrepreneurs and the global appeal of Chinese food as it evolves beyond boundaries."

"Manhattan's Chinatown is one of the oldest in America, but today the concept of a Chinatown can no longer be defined by any one neighborhood. It's exciting that Chinese food has taken on such a global profile, both geographically and metaphorically," Chang said.

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