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SF’s Chinatown community fears incoming restaurant could bring gentrification
For decades, Chinatown had five thriving banquet restaurants that didn’t just serve food but also functioned as community centers: Empress of China, Far East Cafe, Four Seas Restaurant, Gold Mountain Restaurant and New Asia Restaurant. Only Far East and New Asia are left.
Chinatown’s banquet restaurants still host hundreds of gatherings a year for family associations, nonprofits, political events, fundraisers, Lunar New Year luncheons and other celebrations. The typical attendance for such banquets is 500 people.
Tatwina Lee points to the gentrification of the Mission and worries that Chinatown could look similar if more historic spaces turn into fine dining destinations. The banquet restaurants have also historically been important economic forces within Chinatown, hiring people who live in Chinatown — often low-income immigrants looking for their first American job — and sourcing ingredients from the neighborhood’s grocers and specialty shops, according to Yeung. He said employees typically eat at other Chinatown restaurants, and customers often spend time in the neighborhood before or after meals.
Banquet restaurants are “cultural and economic engines in a way the higher-end restaurants aren’t and can’t be,” Yeung said. “I think it’s an open question whether the people coming to high-end restaurants are doing anything other than Uber-ing in, grabbing a bite and Uber-ing out.”
China Live owner George Chen has noticed fewer and fewer people from the neighborhood dining at his restaurant, which is pricier than nearby establishments. But he feels there are other ways to show his Chinatown pride and contribute to the community, such as donating to local causes, hosting events for free and paying staff who live in Chinatown more than minimum wage.
Yeung wonders whether there could be an affordable banquet component within Empress by Boon. If one of Chinatown’s last two banquet restaurants closes, community leaders hope there could be a chance to replace it with a worker-owned co-op, a public-private partnership or something else that hasn’t been attempted before.
“Is there a way to make it where you don’t have to look at a for-profit model but a community benefit model that would make enough money to run itself?” Tatwina Lee said.
Other Chinatowns across the country are disappearing. In Washington, D.C., the construction of a sports arena ramped up development, and national chains began replacing bubble tea shops. In Los Angeles’ Chinatown, gentrification brought hip restaurants slinging trendy items such as Nashville hot chicken in place of dumplings.
According to a 2013 study from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Asians went from being the majority of residents to the minority in Boston, New York and Philadelphia Chinatowns from 1990 to 2010.
San  Francisco  SF  Chinatown  Gentrification  Restaurants 
2 days ago by dbourn
如果在冬夜,两个旅人.....——阅读卡尔维诺(作者:崔子恩) - 卡尔维诺中文站


CuiZien  Calvino  essay  sf  zh 
2 days ago by jdmartinsen
Fandom, Recognition, & Community
I had missed this by @renay on the AO3/ WSFS MPC kerfuffle. Very well put.
9 days ago by nwlinks

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