Monday, July 13, 2020

New Sampan Article: Anita Chue: Another Influential Woman Restaurateur in Chinatown

"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. I've previously written five articles for Sampan, including, In Search of the First Chinese Restaurant in ChinatownMalden’s First Chinese Restaurant, Quincy's First Chinese RestaurantsRuby Foo, Chinatown’s First Woman Restaurateur (Part 1), and Ruby Foo, Chinatown’s First Woman Restaurateur (Part 2).

My newest article, Anita Chue: Another Influential Woman Restaurateur in Chinatown, is now available. In January 1945, as World War II continued, Anita and Gordon Chue opened the Cathay House in Boston's Chinatown. The restaurant became immensely successful, considered not only one of the best Chinese restaurants in Boston, but one of the best in the country. Much of that success was due to Anita, who made a significant impact in Chinatown and elsewhere.

The Cathay House was famous with national celebrities and local sports figures, and much of its success occurred despite it not having a liquor license for over fifteen years. Anita later opened a second restaurant in Brookline, and would later work and consult with a variety of other Chinese restaurants in the Boston area. Like Ruby Foo, Anita was an intelligent, charming and savvy business woman who became a success in the restaurant industry, and introduced many people to the wonders of Chinese cuisine, especially Cantonese.

I'm currently working on a new article for the next issue of Sampan, which will be published later this month.

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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