Open City: Blogging Urban Change
Lamb Happenings: Food Tour in Flushing
By Peggy Lee

 

I.

When the Muslim Lamb Chop arrived, I was really glad to know Caroline Chan.

The lamb was baby-butt tender while the fat on the edges were perfectly crisp. And when the heavy coat of cumin seed, grounded red chilies, and sesame seeds (black and white) hit my tongue, it was a bondage session of perfect heat, chew, and sweet. The lazy Susan spun fast, as nine pairs of eyes sunk into a séance one by one, reaching some lamb god, aleph- for no sound could contemplate that first bite.

II.

There was a man who ate a lot of pizza, an “eating the world in NYC” dude, two Indian ladies, taxi driver foodie, a story-teller of a lawyer, and our guide, a paralegal champion eater. We started with $1 meat on a stick and ended with a bed-time, warm tofu dessert with sweet ginger infused sauce.

Caroline Chan, a good friend and native New Yorker, invited me to come on an informal food tour in her hometown, Flushing, Queens. My first “food tour.” On a chilly Sunday afternoon, our group, which included a few foodie bloggers, traversed Main Street to taste Caroline’s favorite dishes. By the end of the tour, I concluded that foodies have supernatural stomach capacities and an exceptional mental endurance for writing, talking, processing, and describing food. For instance, at a soup dumpling restaurant in the last leg of the tour, Layne Mosler, writer of Taxi Gourmet, was very excited about the slouching, obese dumpling, muffin topping over the big spoon. I only identified with it. I stared blankly at the figure and devoured it. She took a photograph of it.

II.

A woman came up to our table asking for money. Everyone fidgeted, especially when she began to touch a member of our party. He firmly took her hands and removed them from his body with a look of distaste. Someone offered her the left over lamb noodle soup. The woman took the bowl of soup, threw it in the trash, and left the dinky shop. Noticing the spectacle from behind the counter, the cooks yelled in Chinese, “She comes regularly!”

Later, the owner came to our table to proudly show a signed copy of No Reservations by Anthony Bourdain. We agreed, it was a really good lamb noodle soup.

For more details about the food tour, check out a nice video made by Layne of Taxi Gourmet:

http://www.facebook.com/taxigourmet#!/video/video.php?v=10150108870139632&oid=56760137079&comments

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About Open City
Open City: Blogging Urban Change is an interdisciplinary neighborhood blog and community project coordinated by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. Five commissioned writers, called Organizing Fellows, are working with community organizations and neighborhood folks in Manhattan’s Chinatown/Lower East Side (LES), Flushing, Queens, and Sunset Park, Brooklyn to collect oral histories and interviews, offer commentary about gentrification, neighborhood change, and produce new creative work around these themes. Read more.
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CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities was formed in 1986 (formerly known as the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence) as a response to an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes both in New York City and around the country (which included violence by police officers against Asians).
They have two offices – one in Manhattan’s Chinatown (which houses the Chinatown Tenants Union, and the new Asian Youth in Action organizing project) and the Youth Leadership Project office in the Bronx – and have members from all over the city. Over the years, CAAAV’s main campaigns have focused on community-based organizing work rooted in Asian immigrant and refugee communities. Although their advocacy and organizing work is focused mainly in Manhattan’s Chinatown and the northwest Bronx, CAAAV’s work also touches upon larger issues (such as affordable housing, war, and immigration) shaping communities all over the world: “Our work is primarily centered around issues facing New Yorkers, but always with a global analysis.”
CAAAV’s mission is to organize and build the power of working-class Asian immigrants, refugees, and youth to change concrete conditions and participate in a broader social justice movement. In the past, CAAAV’s work included organizing South Asian taxi drivers, Korean women workers, and Filipina domestic workers. Several of these organizing projects have gone on to become their own organizations, such as the New York Taxi Workers Alliance and Domestic Workers United. CAAAV’s current work focus on three different program areas: Read more.

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Manhattan CB3 Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee
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