The Chinese diaspora is a truly unique phenomenon and in New York, ethnic Chinese settled in droves as part of three major waves of immigration first beginning in the 19th century. These intrepid immigrants brought with them a rich food culture that to this day has left an indelible mark not only in the U.S. but wherever they settled down around the globe.
The Chinese Club is our celebration of this unique food culture and its rich heritage.
The early Chinese immigrants worked as laborers notably on the transcontinental railroad, the mining industry and suffered great hardships at every level of society. As such, these new immigrants formed clans or social clubs to help protect themselves from persecution and a key ingredient of these clubs were the dishes they served to members who pined for home.
One such social club was The Chinese Club which was created by a gentleman by the name of Lo Fung Shu, which served as a safe refuge for the immigrant Chinese where they got together to eat as well as indulge in their love of mahjong and dominoes.
In present day Williamsburg, Stacey Lo together with her husband, Salil Mehta have now lovingly re-created this cozy restaurant space on Grand Street in homage of her grandfather and the tight-knit community that protected their family.
The dishes that you are tasting today are a reflection of the food that was served at the old Chinese Club, from a long bygone era including Hakka-Chinese inspired dishes and Kolkata-Chinese food. The city of Kolkata in India has been home to a Hakka-Chinese community for over a century. In fact the Hakka-Chinese brought this unique Kolkata-Chinese food culture with them to New York all those years ago.
We hope you will enjoy these family-style dishes that sustained our families all those years ago and celebrate this unique diaspora and amalgamation of food cultures that began centuries ago contributing to such a rich and unique food culture in New York, that continues to thrive.