One of the three magazines being launched at this party is Open City, a veritable love letter to New York City’s Chinatowns, for which I have begun to do some blogging on the side. Please come to the party! We can say “hi” and enjoy the many entertainments of the smart, funny Asian Americans on the lineup, including DJ sounds by my good friend James Yeh.
And so we talked, immigrant son to immigrant son, food-lover to food-lover, Chinaman to Chinaman. (It isn’t the preferred nomenclature, but it works for us.) We had an honest debate over whether it’s right for chefs to “take” someone else’s culture and sell it, what responsibilities writers and chefs have to make sure people understand where cuisines come from, and, in the end, what it means to be an immigrant in America. What follows is an edited transcript of our conversation. It’s long and there is some tough talk in there, but we felt it was worth sharing.