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Chinese Community in Flushing, Queens

Essay by   •  October 10, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,512 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,673 Views

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Chinese community in Flushing, Queens

Flushing, Queens is known to be the second largest "Chinatown" in New York City and is the most ethnically diverse Chinese communities too. It is home to many families from Taiwan and from Mainland China including Shanghai, Hunan, Szechuan, Canto, Fujian, and Xinjiang. Throughout these many years, the Chinese immigrant families began running their own restaurants and food stalls in the neighborhood showing off their native home specialties. Besides Flushing being the home to a large Chinese community, it is also the home to many of the Korean community. Some restaurants and stalls are known for one specific cuisine and some known as fusions of a few various cuisines. These unique dishes from all different parts of China, Taiwan, and Korea have made Flushing famous for their diversity in delicious foods creating a strong presence of the neighborhood over the Internet.

In order to familiarize myself more of Flushing and the ethnic communities of the neighborhood, I referenced to the Internet to find out more. A lot of the sources that were found were mainly written, blogged, and commented from the outsider's perspective. From the Western's view looking into the East. An example from New York Times is, "These places often feel a thousand miles away from Midtown, especially when you try to order or ask questions in English." As an outsider of the community, they might find it strange that they cannot communicate in English with many of the people from Flushing. At the same time, it helps them feel like they are experiencing something that is more pure to the unfamiliar Chinese culture. That is expressed here, "Everything tastes different in Flushing, Queens, the best neighborhood in New York for tasting the true and dazzling flavors of China." Even though these outsiders may not have tried the "true and dazzling flavors of China" in China but they believe Flushing is close enough to that "true" Chinese experience.

Another example is an interactive map of the "Great Eating in Flushing". There are clips of Chinese chefs of various restaurants in the neighborhood hand pulling signature noodles of different regions of China. There is even a clip of a Chinese worker of the restaurant demonstrating the "proper" way of eating a soup dumpling. What is interesting about this clip is that there is only Chinese that is being spoken in the background of the restaurant as well as the lady who is demonstrating eating the soup dumpling has only spoken in Chinese the first few seconds of the clip. Throughout the entire eating demonstration, it is narrated by a Western woman Julia Moskin of the steps in how the Chinese lady is indulging the dumpling for the Western audiences of New York Times. Along with these video clips, there are many more photos of various Chinese cuisines of Shanghai, Szechuan, Canto, Fujian, Lanzhou, Taiwan, and also a Chinese-Korean fusion style too.

From this interactive map, it really expresses how a Western outsider is trying to be a part of the Eastern food culture. The map itself is more of an aerial view of Flushing, as if the viewer is observing above the neighborhood to "interact" with it. Also, the fact that a Westerner decides to film and do a step-by-step narrative in how to eat like an Easterner shows how the Westerners are just trying to get a taste of what is it to be apart of the Chinese culture. The pronunciation guides of the various Chinese dishes are another tool for the Westerners to use to experience the East but not entirely indulging into full culture of the Chinese. There are much more to the Chinese food culture including the history, the geography of the food derivation, the messages that are hidden within the names of the dishes, and etc.

From searching the web, I have found other sources that are from the perspective of the insiders communicating to the outsiders. I came across Yelp, a website where users would comment and rate different restaurants in different cities including New York City. This source provides information of the where the user is from and an image of them too. For one review of the Lamb Noodle Shop in the Golden Mall in Flushing, Jen W. from Flushing wrote, "This place is totally hidden, you have to walk past the shoe guy, the money exchange and it's across the hair

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