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My First Memories

Fond Memories

Aside from Junior’s in Brooklyn, the only other type of restaurant I can ever remember eating at with my family was a Chinese restaurant.  And it was always special.  Of course, we didn’t call it going for Chinese food back then, but times have changed.  And so have I.

Of course, we always went to Chinese restaurants on Jewish holidays.  Funny thing though, we never went on Christmas.  I don’t know what we did on Christmas.  But, for some reason it wasn’t Chinese.

When it was an extra special event and we went with “extended” family, we usually at a Chinese restaurant in Times Square.  If memory serves me correctly, it was called “Republic… ” Something.  I can’t remember. It was on Broadway between either 42nd and 43rd streets, or between 43rd and 44th streets on the west side of the street, and it was upstairs on the second floor.  If anyone knows of the restaurant I am referring to, please let me know.  I always ordered the same thing.  Spare ribs.  That’s all I would eat!  Like I said, times HAVE changed!

UPDATE:  OMG I was right!  I did a Google search, and lookie what I found on eBay:

Republic

When it was just “us”, we went to Chinatown.  Hong Wah seems to ring a bell as the name of the restaurant.  Very small place.  Eight to 10 tables?  It was located on Canal Street (perhaps 8 Canal Street?), just south of the Manhattan Bridge.

I’m pretty sure my Uncle was in love with the owner… and she seemed to like him too.  Or, she was just a good owner (or Manager), and made everyone feel special.  We would go every two to four weeks.  Always to the same place.  Until it turned bad, then we’d find a new favorite place.  Again, as memory served me correctly it was exactly two doors to the North of the prior place.

Every winter we’d come home with a new calendar to hang on the wall.  It was so sad the year that they stopped giving them away.  Perhaps THAT was the reason we stopped going to that restaurant!

I don’t remember ever having a bad meal.  Of course, I just ate spare ribs… but, I don’t ever remember my Uncle or Grandmother complaining about the food.  Always served in those tin(?) servers (with the tin lid)… it shined like polished silver. Of course, my spare ribs were served on a plate.  But, I liked looking at the other dishes.  It would take me many years before my palate opened up to other experiences.  I’m so glad it did.  But, I still LOVE my spare ribs!

We’d always go for a walk through Chinatown after dinner.  I loved feeding the chicken at the arcade.  Yes, it was a real chicken.  You’d put a nickel (I can’t imagine that it was more than that back then) in the slot and it would dispense some food that the seemingly always hungry chicken just gobbled up.

We’d look through the chachka stores.  My Grandmother always looking for a bargain.  And often finding them.  Or haggling a better price until the shop owner gave in.  My Grandmother usually got what she wanted.

What are your memories?

— Mee Magnum  (“Chop!  Chop!”)

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One comment

  1. Mee Tsu Yan, thank you for sharing your memories. They inspired me to share mine. I hope others will share theirs as well.

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