Inside one of New York’s finest Chinese restaurants located in the Waldorf Astoria

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A new, glitzy Chinese restaurant has opened its doors in the renowned Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan, New York, and the food looks fantastic. The restaurant, La Chine, is in the running to be one of New York’s finest Chinese restaurants, according to Luxury Travel Magazine.

La Chine was a collaborative effort of Waldorf’s culinary director, David Garcelon, and executive chef, Kong Khai Meng.

Garcelon hand-selected a team of international chefs including famed Chinese culinary master Jereme Leung. The culinary director said:

“It was our primary focus to develop La Chine as a must-visit destination for high-end foodies, experientialists, New York City locals and international visitors alike.”

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A Manhattan sushi restaurant introduces a flight featuring all local fish

The sushi counter at 15 East

Bloomberg (by Tejal Rao): 

15 East is a quiet little Japanese restaurant just off Union Square, where I find the mood is always quite civilized and serious. That was the case on a recent evening, until a junior sushi chef started playing with two massive prawns, whirling them together on the cutting board as if they were ballroom dancing. Another sushi chef grinned widely, then politely told him to stop that.

The restaurant opened in 2006 and it’s a consistently good spot for sushi (along with dishes like poached octopus, and delicate soba noodles with duck and scallions). The newest menu item, a “local fish flight” ($55 for 10 pieces), was introduced a couple of weeks ago and features fish from Long Island and its environs. Earlier this week, that meant lightly smoked mackerel, and a piece of fluke wrapped in a shiso leaf, each presented as nigiri on long, slender clusters of warm rice.

Owner Marco Moreira is a big fan of the local squid from Long Island, served raw. “It’s just gorgeous,” he told me over the phone. “It’s unbelievable with a little citrus zest and sea salt, but unfortunately we don’t always have it in house.

The kitchen purchases fish from all over the world—Japan, Spain, Portugal—but Moreira explained that he wanted to introduce a new option that would celebrate local scallops, and a couple varieties of whitefish, as well. A tuna from North Carolina, which Moreira admits is only relatively local, may occasionally make an appearance.

If the kitchen runs out of the local stuff before you get to your tenth piece of nigiri, you’ll have the option to try other fish at the counter. You may find yourself with a wide slice of crunchy sea clam, a sweet raw shrimp, or a couple of oysters marinated in olive oil and rosemary (works!). With tiny wedges of the pickled ginger Shimizu makes in house in between each bite, it all makes for a lovely, light, clean-living kind of dinner.

This flight isn’t the most luxurious one in town, but it doesn’t bill itself as that, and in many ways that’s part of its appeal. The experience is straightforward and inexpensive, and so is the seafood. This is everyday sushi done well—if you’re looking for something more deluxe, go with the excellent $110 omakase, which roams farther and wider.

15 East Restaurant is at 15 E 15th Street (Flatiron); +1 212 647-0015 or

Smoked mackerel nigiri, from 15 East’s new local fish flight


Bento Sushi lands at John F. Kennedy International Airport

Bento Sushi is rolling into yet another New York neighborhood! In addition to its four Manhattan street front locations, Bento is now serving fresh sushi before take off in JFK‘s Terminal 4. Available for pick up from 7 different locations throughout the terminal, Bento is offering freshly made sushi, ready for passengers to enjoy either before departure or during flight.

Bento’s offering includes everything from your traditional California Roll to a full salmon offering with its Salmon Roll Combo. All products come with wasabi, gingersoy sauce and chopsticks and are in an easy to transport package. Bento is excited to offer JFK passengers a healthy and delicious food option when traveling through New York.

We’re really excited to be making our way into another great North American Airport. This move just seemed natural for us given the strong presence we already have in Manhattan and our experience in Toronto Airport“, says Frank Hennessey, CEO of Bento Sushi.

Bento currently offers freshly made sushi in 9 locations across 2 different terminals in Toronto Pearson Airport and has 4 great restaurants in Manhattan serving fresh sushi, hot noodle soups and custom bento boxes.

Check out this link:

Bento Sushi lands at John F. Kennedy International Airport


rag & bone “HOUSTON PROJECT” by Yoon Hyup

Image of rag & bone "HOUSTON PROJECT" by Yoon Hyup

Art is everywhere in New York. Like music or fashion, its an undeniable aspect of urban life here, spilling off of its respective canvas onto the streets, melting into our everyday experience. rag & bone embodies this in a way, with the New York-based contemporary brand an exceedingly popular choice amongst the young populace.

Beyond the clothes though, the label strives to promote other arts, exemplified in its latest endeavor: “HOUSTON PROJECT.” rag & bone recruited Yoon Hyup – who splits time between Seoul and New York – to create a new mural on the outer wall of their Houston Street location. Hyup draws influence from traditional Korean line drawings and Cubist techniques to compose his own brand of intricate, colorful work. His new work for rag & bone is no different, echoing his work for Seoul’s Creative Map project to add a bright sense of diversity to downtown Manhattan.

Explore the work above, and learn more about Hyup here.

Check out this link:

Image of rag & bone "HOUSTON PROJECT" by Yoon Hyup
Image of rag & bone "HOUSTON PROJECT" by Yoon Hyup
Image of rag & bone "HOUSTON PROJECT" by Yoon Hyup
Image of rag & bone "HOUSTON PROJECT" by Yoon Hyup
Image of rag & bone "HOUSTON PROJECT" by Yoon Hyup
Image of rag & bone "HOUSTON PROJECT" by Yoon Hyup

Rising Real Estate Prices Remake New York’s Chinatown


Rising Real Estate Prices Remake New York's Chinatown


New York‘s soaring real estate prices have had a dramatic impact on scores of neighborhoods, including the city’s famed Chinatown.

The area in lower Manhattan has long been a critical base for Chinese immigrants and their families, making it one of the largest concentrations of ethnic Chinese in the West.   But now many are leaving as an influx of white professionals and students drive up the cost of housing.

Enough blame to go around

Peter Kwong, professor of Asian American Studies and Urban Planner at Hunter College, says developers eager to build high-rises are part of the reason for the shift. But he also blames outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “City Hall [has] been doing this throughout New York City, particularly Manhattan, Chinatown is the last area that has not been gentrified,” he said.

report released earlier this year by the New York-based Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund says there is a similar shortage of affordable housing in Chinatowns in Boston and Philadelphia. The report found an increase in luxury housing and hotels, and a decline in Asian businesses as well as family households.

In New York, Mayor Bloomberg’s policies are credited for a significant decrease in crime, and many of his supporters say that rent increases are a sign of a city’s economic progress.

But in Manhattan’s Chinatown those rent increases have already pushed many former residents out. According to the 2010 Census, about 17 percent of Chinatown’s Chinese residents, some 6,000 people, were displaced from the neighborhood since 2000.

As rents move up, immigrants move out

Sun Meirong, has been living in Manhattan’s Chinatown since she first came to the United States from her native city of Fuzhou in 1990. Her restaurant is close to Canal Street, the gravitational center of the island’s Chinatown and she says she has seen a significant decrease in customers, mostly Chinese immigrants.

In the past during the thanksgiving holiday for example, there were so many people on this street outside, you could not walk. But starting from about three years ago there is hardly anybody on the street anymore. This is the change we see in Chinatown.”

Sun says that many of her neighbors have been evicted from their homes after landlords decided to renovate the buildings.

After that they just sold to developers without considering to give it to the people who were living there in the first place: immigrants,” she says.

For Sun, what is happening in Chinatown is counter to the ideals America stands for.

“The U.S. is a country of immigrants, but many immigrants get here and do not have a place to live or cannot afford it,” she says.

Opponents of gentrification try to reverse trend

Grassroots organizations in Chinatown are fighting what they see as the gutting of their neighborhood.

Li Hua, secretary of the Chinese Staff & Workers’ Association, says that her organization collected thousands of signatures to stop recent plans for more luxury development in Manhattan’s East Side.

We have been protesting against it in all venues possible. At public hearings, with the administration’s planning department, to the city council. We had people participating at every step, not just a few but hundreds. But Bloomberg charged on, they just do not care.”

With a new mayor elect ready to step into New York’s city hall, some are hopeful that the trend for Chinatown and other low-income neighborhoods in New York will be reversed.

New Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged to narrow the gap between the wealthy and the poor in New York and expand the available affordable housing in the city.

Check out this link:

Rising Real Estate Prices Remake New York’s Chinatown


NY Times: Does New York Chinatown Need a Gateway?


Renewed efforts to build a gateway to Chinatown in both Manhattan and Brooklyn are gaining momentum, reports the NY Times.

The city’s Chinatowns are one of the few in the country without one.

It’s like the totem pole for Native Americans: It’s self-identity,” said Wellington Chen, executive director of the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation. “It’s fundamentally about self-respect of a community that has been isolated.”

Chen has sought designs from students at Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation and has made the securing of funding for the project the top priority of his Local Development Corporation.

He sees it as sort of a defense against the growing gentrification of  Manhattan’s Chinatown and the corresponding decline in the Chinese American population there.

In Brooklyn, a site has already been selected, plans have been submitted to the city and fundraising has already begun.

Check out this link:

NY Times: Does New York Chinatown Need a Gateway?


In NYC? Check out Totto Ramen!


If you happen to be in NYC, go check out Totto Ramen, a small Japanese-style ramen restaurant located in Midtown Manhattan. According to the chef of Totto Ramen, Teppei NakaieTotto Ramen opened because his boss owns another Japanese restaurant and often found himself with a surplus of chicken bones. No one expected that it would be such a huge success.

The secret to Totto, he says, is that they never change the menu— especially the first four ramen flavors that are the most popular ones. These classic tastes have become the signature style of the restaurant. At Totto Ramen, the noodles are cooked in-house, and they only last five days after production. Also, they put a bag of rice in the soup, in order to add both texture and sweetness.

Check out this link:

In NYC? Check out Totto Ramen!

Totto Ramen