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New York’s Golden Age of Chinese Cuisine

From the Editor: Everything you missed in food news last week

Flushing’s New World Mall
Serena Dai

This post originally appeared on March 2, 2019, in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world each week. Read the archives and subscribe now.

We produce a lot of special packages at Eater, and my favorites always offer a mixture of service — readers come to us to find out where they should be eating — and original reporting and storytelling that appeal to readers no matter where they are. This week’s package on the new golden age of Chinese food in New York ticks those boxes in an impressively ambitious way.

Not only do our New York editors tell you where you should be eating across the boroughs and in the city’s nine Chinatowns, they also explore a range of developments that all stem from 20 years of massive demographic and cultural shifts. Between 2000 and 2015, the population of Chinese immigrants in New York grew by nearly 50 percent. The population of international Chinese students at NYU and Columbia has exploded over the last decade. Meanwhile, an increasingly open-minded and educated class of diners allows restaurateurs to explore what Chinese food can be, no longer bound by old-school American expectations (for the dishes or the decor).

The story that most intrigued me in this package uncovered an unknown-to-me world of Chinese restaurants catering to Chinese palates, marketing to Mandarin speakers via WeChat influencers. Eschewing Yelp, Instagram, and mainstream food media (including Eater), they don’t need or cater to English-speaking business.

The pieces also delve into massive real estate moves, explore the historic rise of Sichuan food in the city’s restaurants, and offer an encyclopedic breakdown of regional cuisines and where to find them, among other adventures and explorations.

As editor Serena Dai writes in her intro, “Chinese food has been an integral part of New York’s cultural fabric for decades, but it has truly never been better than this.”

Opening of the week: Jeong

Image courtesy Jeong

What is it?: Jeong, the long-awaited, proper restaurant follow-up to acclaimed Hanbun, a Korean restaurant in a suburban strip mall that closed last year.

Who is behind it?: Eater Young Gun Dave Park and partner Jennifer Tran

Where is it?: Chicago

When did it open?: Friday, March 1

Why should I care?: Per Eater Chicago’s Ashok Selvan: “Jeong gives Park more space, access to better ingredients, and a liquor license to please old fans while showcasing his cooking to a broader audience in the city.” Considering his intense fanbase for a small stall in a mall, it sounds like he earned a shot to display his talents on a bigger stage.

On Eater

Off Eater

  • I owe 100% of my smiles on the subway this week to the Jerry Saltz episodeof the Dave Chang podcast, wherein the famed art critic tells us all how to better cope with our ambitions and vulnerabilities. [The Ringer]
  • New SF Chronicle critic Soleil Ho dropped her first five reviews. [SF Chron]
  • The execs responsible for the food-TV revolution at Netflix. [Fast Co]
  • Why Hong King’s Yardbird is so cool. [NYT]
  • A Q&A with the winner of the never-aired American version of The Great British Bake-Off, one year after the show was canceled in a #MeToo fallout. [Buzzfeed]
  • When we write about alcohol, maybe we should write about its actual effects. [LitHub]
  • Filipino desserts are so custardy because the whites were used to build churches. [Atlas Obscura]
  • Rich people get angry when their children’s fancy private schools go vegan, and I am here for it. [NYT]
  • Gritty latte art. [Taste]