Even though New York Fashion Week officially kicked off yesterday with star-studded parties, ours started Wednesday night at The Bowery Hotel for soiree to fete the Chinese Lunar New Year. 2017 is the year of the Fire Rooster and the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) celebrated it with a special epicurean tasting event that some of NYC’s famed Chinese American chefs and their signature dishes.
The Lunar Feast Fest: Night Market featured 9 chefs, 18 specialty plates, 2 lion dances, 1 noodle puller and 1 caricature artist. We savored tasty plates from Birds of a Feather, Charles Chen, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, Chinese Tuxedo, FungTu, Junzi Kitchen, Mr. Bing, Nom Wah, and Taiwan Bear House. It was a great night to learn more about Chinese American culture and the role Chinese Americans have played in weaving this intricate cultural fiber that is America.
The evening wasn’t just about food. It was also to compliment MOCA’s current exhibit Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy, which celebrates 18 different regional cooking styles and 33 chefs. MOCA also used the event to raise awareness of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, a United States federal law signed by President Chester A. Arthur on May 6, 1882, prohibiting all immigration of Chinese laborers. In a year where Donald Trump has been touting his racists and exclusionary policies prohibiting Muslims and Latinos from being a part of American society, it’s important so look to the past and see how dangerous policies like the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was. It was the first law implemented to prevent a specific ethnic group from immigrating to the United States. Thank God it was repealed by the Magnuson Act on December 17, 1943.
Co-Chairs of the evening, Tim and Nina Zagat and Kian Lam Kho, private chef and co-curator of the current MOCA exhibit hosted the event. Visit MOCA at 215 Centre street or find out about current events and exhibits at mocanyc.org. They also host MOCA First Free Thursdays where visitors get free gallery admission on the first Thursday of each month.