Tuesday, May 26, 2020

New Sampan Article: Quincy's First Chinese Restaurants

"The most interesting feature of Chinese life to me was that on board their boats, or sampans, as they are called....Upon these boats live whole families of three and even four generations."
--The Fall River Daily Herald, November 20, 1888

As I mentioned previously, I have a new writing gig, contributing to Sampan, the only bilingual Chinese-English Newspaper in New England. My first article for the Sampan was In Search of the First Chinese Restaurant in Chinatown and my second article was Malden’s First Chinese Restaurant. My latest article is now available, Quincy's First Chinese Restaurants.

Today, Quincy has plenty of excellent Chinese restaurants, as well as other interesting Asian restaurants, but when was the first Chinese restaurant founded in that city? In my new article, you'll learn about its first Chinese restaurant, established in Quincy in 1916. Its opening brought some controversy, primarily because it possessed a large, illuminated flag. The restaurant only lasted a year, when it was destroyed by fire.

The second Chinese restaurant opened in 1919, and it too had a controversy over signage. Both of these Chinese restaurants were rather unique in Massachusetts, because they were not founded by Chinese, bur rather by whites, though they did hire Chinese cooks. Learn more of the details about these early Chinese restaurants in Quincy in my full article.

In addition, in my article, I mention three Asian spots of note that currently exist in Quincy, including The China, maybe the only Chinese restaurant and Sports Bar in Massachusetts, MoMo Café, where you can find unique and delicious Durian Doughnuts, and Chili Square, where you can order Duck Wings, Heads and Necks.

I'm now working on my next article for the Sampan, and thinking of ideas for future articles.

What is a "sampan?" The newspaper's site states, "A sampan is a popular river boat in traditional China. This small but useful vessel, by transporting cargo from large boats to the village ports, creates a channel of communication among villages." And like that type of boat, Sampan delivers news and information all across New England, and "acts a bridge between Asian American community organizations and individuals in the Greater Boston area."

Sampan, which was founded in 1972, is published by the nonprofit Asian American Civic Association, "The newspaper covers topics that are usually overlooked by the mainstream press, such as key immigration legislation, civil rights, housing, education, day-care services and union activities. These issues are crucial to the well-being of Asian immigrants, refugees, low-income families as well as individuals who are not proficient in the English language."

There is plenty of interest in Sampan which will appeal to all types of readers, from restaurant reviews to historical articles, from vital news stories to travel items. In these current days when racism and prejudice against Asians and their restaurants is high, it's more important than ever that accurate information about the Asian community is disseminated and promoted. We need to combat the irrational prejudices that some possess, and support our Asian communities just as we would support any other element of our overall community. We are all important aspects of a whole, and we need to stand together.

Support Sampan!

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