Monday marked the start of Chinatown Dining Week. As I eagerly sat down to review the list of amazing restaurants participating and optimize my dining plan for the week I came across the Hong Kong Bakery and a flood of childhood memories rushed back to me. I had to pause and take some time as I reflected on how much I miss my Dad.
For those of you that knew my Dad–and many did because he was kind of a big deal in the aviation world–you’d remember him as someone who loved food. And more than just food, he loved getting to know the owners, cooks, and servers of every restaurant we visited.
My earliest memories of eating in Chinatown always include us going into the restaurants through the back door and the kitchen. At the time I didn’t realize that this wasn’t the normal way people entered restaurants or even considered that this could possibly be violating health regulations, it was just the way we always did it.
On our way in we would stop and talk to the cooks and ooh and aww over what they were making. Everyone was always incredibly happy to see my Dad. The owner would then move us into the restaurant to a spot close to the staff table where we would sit and talk about the menu, the things we enjoyed the last time, and visit with the server as they took our order. So many of my favorite childhood memories are from these times, but sadly many of the places we used to visit are no longer in business.
That’s why it’s so important to me that I never forget how crucial community support and loyalty are for these family run restaurants. They welcome us in and give us a space to create lasting memories over delicious food; it’s important that we support them not only this week but throughout the year.
Meanwhile, if you need to find me, I’ll be enjoying my fill of Char Siu Bao (steamed BBQ pork buns) and reminiscing about my Dad.
Yours in partnership,