...Kim du Toit wrote today about someone complaining they had been overcharged for Chinese food in a restaurant in NYC, while I on the other hand went to New York City's Chinatown for an excellent lunch and one at a great price at that. I missed my chance to celebrate Chinese new year this past weekend, and I wanted to make sure to go to one of my favorite Chinese restaurants to wish the folks there a Happy New Year, before it got stale, so off we went today.
Lunch for myself and a friend of mine from work was only $10 in total, plus tip. There is no way we were overcharged, and I know for a fact, despite what is said by some about other restaurants, the Chinese folks who eat in the same restaurant in which I ate today get charged the same prices. Heck I have eaten there often enough to have seen that personally many times. As a matter of fact, I have eaten in quite a few restaurants in NYC's Chinatown wherein everyone gets charged the same prices. I also shop in a few of the butchers, fish markets, and in the grocery stores and I am fairly certain I pay the same prices. There is no racism or price gouging going on, but of course maybe it happens in other places like the one in the article How mean for chow mein to which Kim linked at: http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/500668p-422094c.html, and I agree with Kim that it is racism if they do it because you are not Chinese when you order there.
After reading the article, my guess is yes the couple who complained about being charged a dollar more may have been overcharged, but THEN AGAIN they may have not been overcharged and may have gotten a larger portion than those on the Chinese language menu. This is a common practice with the various menus in some Chinese restaurants. If you get a bowl of rice, it costs more than a smaller serving of rice on your plate as it would be served if ordered from the Chinese language menu. This could be easily misconstrued as unfair pricing by someone not that familiar with Chinatown and its restaurants who did not realize theya ctually got a larger serving.
Kim went on to describe his wife's experiences while she lived in NYC (maybe in Chinatown) in what they, or at least he, commonly refer(s) to as New York Fucking City. She apparently knew of restaurants charging different prices for Chinese folks than for other races of folks when she lived there. I am not saying it does not happen; but I just don't see that as happening in my experience, at least not in the several Chinese restaurants that I frequent in Chinatown, and not in the one's outside of Chinatown either. So I figured I'd give them a plug from the other side since as I said, we had a really nice lunch today for $10.00 for two people, and mine was only $4.50, tax included. I had roast pig and roast pork over rice with a side of Chinese greens. (The guy got my order wrong as I had asked for roast pig and roast duck over rice, but it was great nonetheless, and they usually get it right.) The lunch came with complimentary bowl of hot tea, a bowl of house soup, and with a fortune cookie afterward. As is customary, they offered us a 2nd pot of tea (no charge) once we had finished the 1st one.
Now it may be that others have different experiences in Chinese restaurants, for whatever reasons, but I have got to say that restaurants in New York City's Chinatown are one of the best deals in the city as far as inexpensive great tasting meals go; that is of course, if you avoid the yuppie and tourist traps; and of course, if you avoid the ones in New York Fuckin City - wherever that may be.
All the best,
ABFT-DT Dives 252 and 253
4 hours ago