“Forget Injuries, never forget kindnesses.” - from a Chinese fortune cookie
It’s a short stretch of Manhattan, but Mott Street represents a concise gastronomical Chinatown experience. Typically people believe Canal Street to be the front gate of Chinatown, but Mott possesses the meat of the neighborhood’s appeal by providing a very important component of our lives: food.
As I enjoy entertaining a group of friends for an intimate dinner at home, I tend to seek places where I can find exotic ingredients, even the most ordinary items. I visit Mott to be inspired for my menus and usually find the most special ingredients. People often forget about food shopping on the street, but it is where I find the freshest products at affordable prices.
The smell is exotic, slightly stinky with fish. The sidewalk is overrun with slow-paced elderly Chinese-American food shoppers and curious tourists salivating over steamed buns. At times, I try to avoid the packed slow-moving, wormy sidewalk, but the street is filled with delivery trucks and it can be a nuisance to dodge passing cars and noisy mopeds. I pause to take a moment and look north to see the Empire State Building, proudly reminding myself that this wild street is in Manhattan, and not in Hong Kong or elsewhere.
This short segment of Mott Street is a true New York experience where I can still find immigrants working, living, and walking next to each other in between Little Italy and NoLita. Next time you are in New York, visit this Mott Street section for a true taste of Chinatown.