Friday, March 5, 2021

New Sampan Article: Blob Joints: A History of Dim Sum in the U.S.

"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've mentioned previously, I've a new writing gig, contributing to Sampan, the only bilingual Chinese-English newspaper in New England. I've previously written seventeen articles for Sampan, including:

Sam Wah Kee: Chinatown's Wealthy Merchant Turned Fugitive

My newest article, Blob Joints: A History of Dim Sum in the U.S., is now available in the new issue of Sampan. The delights of dim sum! Numerous trolley carts of bamboo steamers with bao, dumplings, and other dishes are pushed around the room, and you simply point at the dishes you want. Sometimes you order off a menu, selecting from a long list of intriguing choices. You might have your own favorite dim sum spot in Chinatown, or maybe elsewhere. 

However, when did dim sum first come to the U.S.? What was the first dim sum restaurant in Boston’s Chinatown? And what's a blog joint? The origins Dim Sum in the U.S. are murky, with little hard evidence supporting some of the historical claims, but it's a fascinating tale. 

I'm currently working on a new article for the Sampan. 

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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