As a Taiwanese American, when I think of sharing a meal I am immediately transported to Sundays at the packed, noisy Crown Palace restaurant in Marlboro, NJ. There would be three generations of family members gathered at a large round table, chopsticks in the ready position, in eager anticipation of waiters pushing carts filled with delicious Hong Kong-style dim sum. As a kid, I was thrilled by the excitement of what was coming next—chicken feet braised in a traditional sauce (not the most appealing in my youthful days) or siu mai, dumplings filled with pork or shrimp (yum). And thanks goes to the ubiquitous Lazy Susan so I didn't have to worry about stretching across a cramped table for that last pork bun. There was a sense of harmony and equality for all.
These rich dining memories are shared by so many in Asian communities—communities whose livelihoods are being threatened by anti-Asian hate and violence everyday as they recover from the toll of the pandemic. As recently as March 23, eight Oakland Chinatown businesses were targeted and burglarized
—one restaurant losing roughly $36,000.
For many businesses in our nation's Chinatowns, there is a sense of trauma that has led businesses to either shut down completely or reduce their hours. By way of an example, in New York City, most Chinatown businesses are seeing fewer customers compared to 2019 with visitation to Chinatown down by 50 percent
in late 2021. Additionally, there was a 21 percent vacancy rate
in Chinatown storefronts in mid-2022. This must change.
inKind is committed to the change needed by supporting AAPI owned and operated restaurants now and always. Join us to elevate these voices and preserve the rich experiences of gathering around the round table, Lazy Susan and all, to share a meal and feed the human spirit.
inKind's The Shared Plates Series
2023 programming includes: