Monday, May 11, 2009

Philadelphia's Chinatown

I was not able to afford a trip to Beijing for the Olympics but I did decide to visit Chinatown often in order to learn and explore the richness of this culture. Chef Joe Poon was kind enough to give me a private tour for a video piece I was working on.  His famous, "Wok and Walk" tour has been featured on The Food Network and The Tonight Show. I highly recommend a tour with this very talented and enthusiastic chef.  Joe showed me restaurants, book stores, the Asian fruit stand (a word of caution, you will create quite a stir if you try to eat the Durian fruit...the odor will try get you noticed far and wide!).  I was able to see exactly how those fortunes got into the cookies, which by the way began with an American who wanted to lift the spirit of men experiencing difficult lives.
Chinatown holds a wealth of visual delights for a photographer.  I loved immersing myself into the excitement of the Chinese New Year as well as the everyday movement and flow. Confucius thought that knives were a sign of aggression so that is why we now use chopsticks.  According to legend, if you are given a pair of uneven sticks, you are going to miss a plane, train or bus.  The egg is a symbol of fertility while the noodle symbolizes long life - I stayed with the noodles! From tasting bubble tea to learning the art of Chinese calligraphy and joining hearts with those in the local Buddhist Temple, Chinatown has so much to discover. 

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