It used to be a very simple formula. Chinese Restaurants inside Chinatown should somehow be better or at least more authentic than Chinese Restaurants outside of Chinatown. But this just isn't true anymore.
Granted Dumpling Daughter is a Taiwanese restaurant in Weston, which is near Lexington, and there are a good amount of Taiwanese and Chinese in the area. But whether it is because of Anthony Bourdain or other travelling food shows exposing people to world cuisine, or who knows the reasons, why, but there are a lot of restaurants that are out in the suburbs and are just good.
Dumpling Daughter feels like a hip noodle place, with books for kids, and adults to read while you wait for food, nice decor, but more of a "modern cosmopolitan" feel than a particularly "asian feel." I've been to Hong Kong and Taipei (oh so briefly) never Shanghai, but it's that sort of idea. Techno sounding music. Everything's really clean.
And the food is, as far as I can tell, as good as you would get it in Taiwan. I mean to do a real analysis, you would have to get someone who just got off the plane, from Taiwan, to eat there, but that's what I would say. It's that good. This is the second time we've been here and Grace was able to order with more experience. We got the little pork sandwiches and pork noodles. The type of pork that is as oft as jello. Grace also got a beef noodle soup which I preferred. The spice really warmed me up. And then we got Chicken Katsu on rice for the kids.
And old white couple got take out and asked the (Owner? Manager?) what would be best for take out. Pan fried stuff tastes best right off the pan. Probably the rice dishes would be the best bet. Most stuff is okay to microwave again. (I think that's what I heard. I was busy stuffing my face.)
I heard Cantonese and Mandarin and sort of in between accents among the staff. But white people were also employed, In fact last time all the staff was white, and this time only one white person that I saw working there.
Among the customers I would say it was even. This restaurant was simultaneously in White America and Asian America, not in between. I know there are a lot of Chinese in the area, but the thing is, now a "Chinese neighborhood" is simply a New England town with Chinese people living in the houses.
There are plenty of stories form Older Chinese (especially Taiwanese) who came to America and sort of entered immediately into the American dream, (my in laws for instance). But it's almost like this is becoming even more and more possible.
If you think about it, that's what Chinese coming fresh off the plane want. But the reason why a pit stop in Chinatown is necessary is because of jobs and language. Chinatown is almost more of a station than a neighborhood in that way. A base or place of meeting. Of course people live there but how many families live there for several generations?
Perhaps that's true of all neighborhood nowadays.
Anyway, here is an article about one of the workers from Dumpling Daughter, starting another restaurant, Dumpling girl. There is a lawsuit involved.
But what doe this tell you? It tells you that demand for real Chinese (or at least Taiwanese) food is so high out in the suburbs that two such places can exist. There is also Gene's Flatbread Cafe. I mean the rule about proximity to #Chinatown and authenticity is starting to be turned on it's head.
Perhaps, with social media and everything being "closer" online, a Chinatown is no longer necessary?
I guess to really get to the bottom of that, this Blog needs to start interviewing more people that have just arrived. But these are the people that are the least likely to be comfortable giving an interview. They aren't yet settled. They aren't sure. They don't know what to think. But I could probably talk to them through Community Organizations.