Despite the cold, I find December to be the most wonderful time of year! The City gets all dressed up in its holiday best – gorgeous wreaths, glittering ropes of fairy lights, miles of greenery draped along every stair rail. Every sprig of Christmas cheer brings a smile to my face as I merrily stroll the boulevards.
A visit to the MOCA
Today’s stroll took me through Lower Manhattan down to the Museum of Chinese in America! Housing just two exhibition galleries, its small-size made it perfect for an afternoon visit. The first gallery consists of a historical presentation of the Chinese people and culture in the USA. Though only a handful of rooms, each is filled with a wealth of audio-visual delights. Reading the stories of the challenges these early immigrants faced both fascinated and horrified me. There were a number of pieces on the downright sinister laws in place at various times. What I found particularly unnerving is that a number of them sound frighteningly similar to the kind being passed in Congresses across the country in 2016.
The second gallery hosts the latest temporary exhibition – a topic close to my heart – CHINESE FOOD!!! Entitled Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food and Identity in America, the exhibit explores the culinary stories of 33 Chinese and Asian-American chefs.
I loved this exhibit and could have sat for days watching the in-depth interviews with each of the chefs. In the main hall lies a massive dinner table with 33 unique place settings with personally selected artifacts from the chef’s kitchens and ceramic vessels linking their cooking styles to regional culinary traditions. If I had planned better, I would have liked to attend one of the in-person events where the chef’s whip up one of their signature meals – Foie Gras Soup Dumplings, anyone?!?
Post Museum Stroll
After visiting the museum, my friends and I stopped nearby for some delicious soup dumplings in Chinatown. I forget the name of the spot, but they were some of the best I’ve had in a while. I had to chuckle when the server automatically brought out two hot teas for my friends (who are Chinese) and an ice water for me. Clearly they know their customers! Belly full and feet well rested, I decided to walk home and enjoy the sights.
Here are a few of my favorite snaps below: