Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I've been hearing a lot of hype about Vanessa's Dumpling House. They were recently rated as one of the best dumpling houses in NYC by Time Out NY this year.

I finally had the chance to try them out and yes, they are OH-so GOOD! I like how they offer the option of boiled or fried dumplings. I, personally am not a huge fan of fried dumplings. Their Basil and Chicken Boiled Dumplings are rocking! They will only run you $3.75 for 8 pieces and it'll come in a soup for only $4. That is a serious bargain.

Other yummy goodness that you check out here are the Chive and Egg Pancake and the Noodles with Mashed Sesame Sauce.

If you love the dumplings here as much as I do, you can take them home frozen. A bag of 50 dumplings will run you somewhere between $9-$14 (depending on the variety).

To confirm, the dumplings here are definitely among the top that I've tasted.

NEW YORK, NY 10002


The old Music Palace used to sit on the corner of the Bowery and Hester. It was the last of the few Chinatown movie theaters. It closed down sometime between the years 1999-2000. At this time, it was supposed to have been taken over for a commercial project that never fell through.

The space has been vacant for a very long time. Recently, construction for a new hotel has been under way. I think it will be good to give life to this space.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I've been hearing about Milk and Honey for the longest time. When I heard about this secret location , I knew it would be in Chinatown/LES.

So for those of you who don't know about M & H; it's very exclusive to get into. At one point, you had to know someone who knew the phone number to get reservations and find out where it is.

I'm going to blow their cover and tell you that they are located on Eldridge right off Delancy. Someone invited me and made reservations. It was well worth the walk over there.

The feel of the place is that of an old school speakeasy. Their mixologists here are top notch. M&H doesn't have a menu. Instead of having staple drinks, they will mix up anything that you fancy with a bit of a spin to it. I was dreaming of something sweet with fruits. They came up with something that tasted a bit like a white grape mojito with whole pieces of fruit. DELISH!


Saturday, December 26, 2009


CICF donated new toys and served as a drop off point for Hamilton Madison House (HMH) this year. My friend Cynthia Lin was also kinda enough to donate baked goods for the occasion. She also served as my elf. There was also a dancing reindeer who knew how to play the violin that I brought all the way from the North Pole!

According to Thea, I am the first Chinese girl Santa in the history of HMH. This is wack considering it is Chinatown. Glad I broke down that barrier...

A definite Christmas success!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Whenever I take the F train, I pass by Ming's Caffe. I never had the chance to try their food until today.

The decor is cute and homey. You can watch Chinese comedies while enjoying a good meal. I got the spaghetti with pork chops and tomatoes. So HK and totally YUM! One friend got the Spam and eggs over rice. My other friend got the tripe. The herbal tea is also a healthy alternative to soda.

Now that the weather is so cold, I don't want to step out. It's really great that they do deliver. I'll definitely have to try some other things on their menu!

(Please note: the spelling of the restaurant is CAFFE instead of CAFE when looking it up)

28 Canal Street
FREE Delivery

Saturday, December 19, 2009


In these pictures, floats are prepared for a holiday parade on Mulberry street in Chinatown that goes through Little Italy.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In this picture: Bob Diamond, Mary Lee, and Sal Situ try to raise funds for the Greater Chinatown Community Association at their holiday party.

In this picture: Magnetic North rocks CICF shirts!
(Photo by An Rong Xu)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

EGG CUSTARD KING=-Natalie's Bakery

Egg Custard King was kinda like the egg custard version of CICF. They used to have different flavored egg custards, ranging from strawberry to taro. With all the variety, I am still a fan of the original egg custard (don-tot).

So I get a comment on my post the other day that they renamed it Natalie's Bakery? I'm thinking WTF?!!? So, I go and call them and ask if this is Egg Custard King and they reply "yes". I'm not convinced. I go in for further investigating and walk to the location.

It is oh so deceiving. The sign's font and everything looks the same as the old Egg Custard King but yes it has been renamed Natalie's Bakery! They actually only have too varieties of egg custard; original and Portuguese style.

This is sad news for the don tot scene in Chinatown! They did however have yummy green tea cakes!



On cold winter days, I like Hong Kong Station. With a choice of noodles, you can choose toppings that vary from fish dumplings to tripe. This eatery charges per item. My eyes are usually bigger than my belly. I usually wind up picking a lot!

My favorites are the wide rice noodles (hou fun) with fried eggs, bok choi, chicken wings, and dumplings. ( I add a lot!)

The ambiance is friendly to diners who eat alone, as well as groups of friends. I usually eat my meals alone in Chinatown since I work. This spot is definitely one of my favs! I get to listen to Cantonese love ballads over a bowl of yummy goodness! Wow!

*Also if you're not in the mood for noodles, they have yummy egg sandwiches and French Toast!


Saturday, December 12, 2009


Chinatown gets a bad rap for selling counterfeit bags. Canal Street is world famous for selling knock-offs. About a year ago they shut down a large row of stores, leaving the block empty. This week, the Cops made another big bust and closed down another block.

I don't really see how cracking down on bags is a priority in our community. I've heard that the city loses money on luxury tax when people buy counterfeits instead of the real thing. In my opinion the people who buy counterfeits are not the same crowd that are going to be buying the good stuff.

Regardless of whether you agree with my point of view; it has hurt our community. When the bag stores are shut down by the Police, the stores are left vacant. The landlords can't collect the rent and the businesses that were there aren't going to be paying their taxes.

Empty blocks equals less foot traffic in the area. That means it hurts our restaurants,
boutiques, cafes and even our ice cream stores.

And the funny thing is that the people that sell knock offs just learn to evolve. When they have their stores taken away from them, they wind up selling at secret locations and out of garbage bags. The bags are still being sold, but their blocks become part of a ghost town.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


The CICF shirt is wicked popular! In this picture, the CICF shirt is worn in Man vs. Food. He owns the CICF shirt in blue, black and red!

Monday, December 07, 2009

In this picture: Iris Lin bring a bag of toys for the Hamilton Madison Toy Drive.

Friday, December 04, 2009


My friend An Rong came in today to take pictures of CICF. He's the next up and coming photographer. The guys is still only in college and is so talented and driven. I think he's going to be the next Corky Lee ( a famous Chinatown photographer).

An Rong was born and Chinatown and has strong ties to it. He still coaches baseball at PS 130 and is an alumni of CPC (Chinese American Planning Council).

The community inspires his photography projects. He knows the people and wants to tell their stories. He knows everyone from Wally over at Nam Wah to the 3rd graders at the local elementary schools.

When our pictures are done, I'll post them with his website(it's under construction).

I suggest you bid and buy his photos now because I believe they'll be worth a small fortune in the near future. =)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


When I think about the holidays, I get really excited. Holiday parties, family, and friends and shopping!

But then again, it's also a time to think about people who have it less fortunate than you. A lot of people can't afford presents and nice things.

I'm part of the Jr. Committee at Hamilton Madison House (HMH) and every year we have a toy drive for the neighborhood kids. HMH serves the low income, immigrant population. In previous years, we have been paired up with the NY Cares Winter Wishes program but this year we weren't chosen. This means we are in need

CICF will be one of the drop off points for the toy drive. We are collecting new unwrapped toys for children 5-12. The last day of the drive will be December 14th.

Please support during the holidays!

drop off point-CICF 65 Bayard Street

Monday, November 23, 2009


Chinatown is full of restaurnt supply stores. You don't actually have to own a restaurant or buy in bulk at these places.

It's really shi-shi to buy things from these upscale stores in Manhattan, but in reality a lot of their cookware is not all it's cracked up to be.

At the restaurant supply stores, you're getting restaurant grade equipment which is really study at the cheapest costs.

I love cooking and baking so this is pure heaven for me. The items in these stores, don't have the fancy labels and packaging but they also don't have the fancy prices. HOORAH!

The place I visited today is on 110 Bowery Street. Even though I wasn't buying in bulk, the staff was extremely attentive and kind. Check it out for some holiday shopping!


This restaurant used to be Moonhouse. It got taken over by their chef and now has a new name.

The food is more or less the same since they have the same chef. Some people say that they can taste more Cantonese influence over their Shanghai menu after the transition of the restaurant. I think the changes are quite subtle.

The soup dumplings here still remain one of my favorites. I read Time Out NY about these foo fah new places with their dumplings but my #1 picks remain constant.

I had eaten dinner already when a friend had asked me to join him for dumplings. How could I refuse? I love their dumplings if you can't already tell but my picture.


NEW YORK, NY 10013

Saturday, November 21, 2009


People usually would not think the words "Thanksgiving" and "Chinatown" go together. I beg to differ...

Chinatown is one of the liveliest places in the city during the holidays. Many of the restaurants and shops are closed on Thanksgiving whereas, Chinatown is the real city that never sleeps.

NYC is full of singles, away from their families. Many of them living in small apartments don't have room to cook the traditional Thanksgiving meals. What better alternative than to go to Chinatown for great Chinese food with friends? (and finish with some pumpkin pie ice cream at CICF!)

*Another cool thing to know: If you don't want to cook your own turkey; bring it to a Chinese restaurant a few days beforehand. Many of the places that have the chickens and the ducks hanging in the window, will cook your holiday bird for about 10 bucks. It winds up tasting amazing, with a bit of the Chinatown flava!*


The trials for 9/11's Khalid Sheik Mohmmed are being held across from Columbus Park. This sucks for all New Yorkers, especially Chinatown-ers.

Many locals are worried that the increased security will turn the area into an armed area and drive out businesses and residents.

Chinatown has been through so much with the proximity being so close to the 9/11 site. It doesn't seem sensible to me to have the trial in the area that it devastated. Our community is fighting to bounce back form 9/11 and now the recession

Friday, November 20, 2009


From my commute in from Queens, I have to make this turn off
Delancy onto Allen street. This turn has gotten worse and worse.

This morning I especially hated this turn and hated life, when I got into a minor "accident".

This is a very busy turn. First it went from being two left turning lanes to one. Then they decided to put a bike lane there with picnic tables. It's really the strangest and most dangerous thing ever.

Another thing that I found out today is that the traffic cops alternate their locations. This means that they are (A) often not used to the current location (B) not used to working with the other traffic cops that they are put with.

This morning one traffic cop was directing 2-3 lanes to turn quickly as the opposite street turned to a quick green. Ongoing traffic was coming fast.

I felt really bad that I tapped the car in front of me. I felt even worse that the traffic cop estimated that the "bump" on his car would at most cost $100 but that the guy wanted to file through my insurance company and give both me and himself hell.

After beating myself up over it, I found out that I was already the 2nd accident where the same thing had happened just this morning. I sought solace in that, and the fact that my Daddy still loves me...

I hope the city reconsiders the design of this turn.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


This man plays beautiful music on his erwu at the Grand Street stop in Chinatown. Both the B and the D run here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

In this picture:
The new street sign co-naming Cortland Alley, Hon. Thomas Tam Way.

This is only one of 2 streets named after an Asian American in NYC.

Pictures of good friends in the APA community
From Top to Bottom, Left to Right

1. Gloria Lam with Alice Wong

2. Me with Bonnie
Duen (representative from John Liu's Office-Comptroller Elect)

3. Me sporting my beautiful Peony Red dress!

4. The Crash Hunter Group

5. People mingling at Jing Fong


Last week, the Asian American /Asian Research Institute (AAARI) had their gala in Jing Fong Restaurant.

AAARI is a city university-wide resource center on topics and policies that interest and affect the Asian American community through its lecture series, conferences, and workshops.

They did a great workshop series on Chinatown. Check it out:

It was a great evening of celebrating the achievements of amazing people in the APA community. Also a great gathering for friends involved!

For more information on AAARI or to make a donation; please visit;


Apotheke is one of two posh underground bars that I know in Chinatown. (The other one is Milk and Honey.) They have quite the hipster following.

The old Golden Flower sign on Pell Street still hangs. The place looks abandoned.

Inside lies a apothecary decor. The waitresses are dress in speakeasy attire.

The drink menu is pretty cool. I like their "Lychee Three Ways". The drink is made of lychee-infused Vodka, fresh lychees and house-made lychee sour essence. DELISH!

Other drink favs include the Five Points, Saffron Sazerac, and House Absinthe.

When I'm driving, they make me a non alcoholic berry drink. That's yummy too but it's missing that kick.

The drinks here are definitely not cheap. A drink will run you about $15 not including a tip.

Their bartenders like to set drinks on fire at the bar which keeps their customers entertained while they wait.

I'll blog about Milk and Honey another time.... =)

NEW YORK, NY 10013

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Today I passed by the Straw Man. He's the man who has been at the corner of Canal and Mott for many years. He makes beautiful animals and shapes out of straw. Many of us have stopped and watched as he weaves his straw into art. In all of my passings, I've never witnessed a person actually buying anything from him...

Last year, the Chinese newspaper interviewed me, the Straw Man, and others in the community. The theme of the article was "What I hoped for in the new year". I had replied that I hope that my new children's book takes off. I wished for lots of new ice cream flavors and happy things....

Because I can't read Chinese, I thought all the other people in the pictures had similar responses. Until I recently had the article translated I didn't know what the Straw Man's response was...

He said that he was homeless and had sought refugee in a local church. His Mother had also passed that year. Life had been hard on him. His hopes for the new year was that he would sell more of his straw art so he would have a home.

Now his location has changed his location to a slightly off location. He hides a bit behind some scaffolding along Canal Street between Mott and Mulberry.

Let's all wish him a better year this year.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Yanna Luo (Owner of Peony Red) and Christina Seid (CICF) finish an interview with Asian Fusion Magazine

Thursday, November 12, 2009


My Boo has been sick, so I've been buying lots of soup dishes. Yes, I am a very good girlfriend. (BIG PAT ON THE BACK)

Anyway...NY Noodle Town is one of my favorites when it comes to anything with wonton, noodles, or soups.

The lady that runs the place has been there for ages. She has a bit of a reputation of being rude. I feel like if one day she wasn't there, it would ruin it for me. She's part of the NY Noodle Town experience in a funny way.

My recommendations are the Vegtable Dumplings in Soup with Noodles and the Fish Congee. When I'm starving I get the Wonton Noodle Soup with Roast Pork.

This place is an awesome late night spot. They are open till 4 am. Many memories of coming here after partying.

NEW YORK, NY 10013

Love this place!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


It's been sad in Chinatown recently. I've been seeing my neighbors leaving left and right.

Here's some old school pictures from a lil over a year ago. It's the last day Moonhouse Restaurant was opened.

The businesses here in Chinatown are more than just the food and items we sell. Our shops are our homes and our neighbors are our family...

Me and my good friend Jeanie have been slaves to our businesses for many years. Monday evenings have historically been our Girls' Night. Our friends would come to her restaurant next door to CICF. I'd be able to sneak out of my shop for bits of my so called social life.

We'd bond over xiao long bow and rice cakes. (Quite notably some of the best food.) I have many memories of talking about the boys in or out of our lives. We'd celebrate new beginnings and engagements. And soothe broken hearts over ice cream.

Missing Moonhouse!

The AAAC, has been located above Mc Donald's on the Bowery for 33 years. Executive Director Robert Lee has been a very active member our community and it will be sad when he leaves our block.

Their new space will be in an office space in the Asian American For Equality (AAFE) outpost on 111 Norfolk Street. This move will force AAAC to give up their exhibition space.

Chinatown is drastically changing. It seems as if every week, it's a goodbye to another long time neighbor.


Monday, November 09, 2009


Yesterday was the closing day of Sinotique on Mott Street. Sinotique is one of the many shops who have closed within the last few years.

Until recently, the head of Mott Street has been the prime real estate in Chinatown. Now this area is filled with vacant stores.

Most of us Chinatown locals think that this happened for a combination of reasons...

(1) KEY BUSINESSES GO OUT- The restaurant that sat on the corner of Mulberry and Mott occupied a huge space for many years. After their lease was up, they have had a hard time getting a tenant. Rumor has it that they have been very difficult negotiating the rent. When the space first became vacant, I heard that the space was going for 40 G,not including water or taxes.
Other businesses that have also went out are the walk down Vietnamese Restaurant and the Hair Dresser.

(2) CLOSING OF PARK ROW- The closing of Park Row has been terrible for the Chinatown Community. It has made it hard for people to travel into our neighborhood. Bad for businesses.

(3) BAD ECONOMY- Despite low prices for meals and goods in Chinatown, the community has still been hit. People are just not coming into the city. Tourism is also down.

(4) CONSTRUCTION- There is some bad construction that is making it hard for us to walk on our sidewalks.