The Nom Wah Cookbook

I read cookbooks for the stories, but sometimes I have to settle for the recipes, and I thought that might be the case with the Nom Wah Cookbook, maybe just a collection of recipes and promotional bits from the restaurant.

But it turned out the book not only recounts the history of the hundred year old restaurant and profiles the New York Chinatown immigrants and their descendants who've kept the restaurant going all these decades, its coverage expands to other New York Chinatown multigenerational family-run businesses and individuals dedicated to preserving and honoring the history of Chinatown. Really, the book is a celebration of Chinatown (in the same vein as the Chinese diaspora storeis in fellow New Yorker Grace Young's Stir-frying to the Sky's Edge) , and the dim sum recipes are a bonus.

As a personal bonus, the photo in this interview of the director of the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), shows, on the lower left, the commemorative tile for my grandfather Richard Tak Eng, who grew up in Seattle back when he was the only one of his siblings who graduated from high school and older Chinese men (immigration restrictions excluded women) told him not to bother with college, the white man would make him work in a laundry, anyway. But he graduated with a medical degree from Johns Hopkins and moved to China to practice where he adopted my father in the aftermath of World War II (and that's another long story...)

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