One of the things I love about big cities is the fact that there are people from all over the world either living there or just visiting. Walking around New York City, you can hear several languages other than English being spoken. And when you walk into Chinatown, one of the neighborhoods in the Manhattan borough of New York City, you may hear even less English.
When we walked into the parameters of Chinatown, I noticed the Chinese words on buildings. People walking around me were speaking Mandarin and what I recognized as a dialect, Cantonese.
Also while walking on the sidewalks, there were lots of red decorations for sale since we were visiting during Chinese New Year.
On the way to look for a restaurant to have lunch, I had a feeling that I was back in South America with the markets and food sold outside, except of course there were no Spanish words.
A restaurant we decided to eat at was one that apparently my family used to go to when we lived in Long Island called Big Wong. I didn’t remember anything about it but one thing I know I’ll remember is the super fast service. It literally took less than 10 minutes for the food to arrive at our table.
The instant we sat down, we were given hot tea. Shortly after, our orders were taken. I ordered soy sauce chicken on rice with a garlic sauce on the side. If you’re in Chinatown and want delicious food quickly, check out Big Wong on 67 Mott Street.
Satisfied, we walked around and found a bakery to buy some Chinese buns including my favorite- buns filled with taro. Also at the bakery were mooncakes. I insisted on getting one since it was Chinese New Year. But was later informed that mooncakes are traditionally eaten in the fall during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Oops…
We ended up getting one anyways. This one is filled with red bean.
Next up in our visit to Chinatown New York City, was the Museum Of Chinese In America (MOCA). Tickets are $10 for general admission. However on Thursdays, admission is free!
I’m not usually the kind of person that takes a lot of time to look at each individual thing on display in museums, but MOCA is worth a visit. One exhibit, which is a temporary one, were photographs of Chinatown in New York City. What caught my attention was how it brought light into the world of some people living in Single Room Occupancy buildings where they rent tiny spaces for just $200-$300 a month.
Most are immigrants who came to work and send money back to China to support their families. They work hard every day and are separated from their families.
Apart from the photographs, the museum shows the history of Chinese in America. It’s like progressing in a timeline as you go through the museum.
After MOCA, we went to a street with stores selling vegetables, fruits and meat. That’s where I spotted a trashcan with steam coming out of it. It was a cold day so the steam was coming from live frogs! Yes, frogs…
In addition to frogs, I noticed a man carrying three small pigs (not alive) on his shoulders. I thought seeing pigs like that was going to end after visiting Ecuador, but I guess not.
Lastly, here’s a Vine video showing the bakery, some of the MOCA museum and a street in Chinatown New York City:
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