What Did I Experience?
For my Living Color project, I went to the fantastic Jing Fong restaurant in Manhattan. Jing Fong is located in Manhattan's Chinatown section. Jing Fong is known for its Dim Sum. Dim Sum is a series of Chinese dishes that contain dumplings, both sweet and savory, and other small-portion foods that are served as either a snack or a main course. Dim Sum is typically served with tea rather than water. The meal is also usually served on carts that are flagged down by the diners, rather than there being a menu or having the diners leave their seats.
What Does This Experience Demonstrate About the Legacy of Ancient China?
Going to the Jing Fong Restaurant really helped me understand how the legacy of both Confucianism and Taoism remains evident today. One key concept of Confucianism that we learned about in class is Li, which is a ritual or etiquette that contributes to social order and harmony. During Dim Sum, Li was demonstrated through different gestures of respect at the table. These included allowing others to pour your tea, offering tea to someone to create/continue a friendship, tapping the table twice with your fingers to thank a person for pouring your tea, and being careful to make sure that the teapot is facing away from everyone at your table, because it is considered disrespectful to have the spout pointing at someone. Those are just examples revolving around tea. Another gesture that indicates that Li remains a part of modern culture is how someone gets the attention of a waiter. Rather than pointing at a waiter, which is considered to be rude, the customers at Jing Fong have a unique wave, where they move their four fingers as the palm of the hand faces downward.
My Dim Sum experience was also highlighted by certain legacies of Taoism. An important aspect of Taoism was the value of balance. The Yin-Yang represents a balance between two opposite forces that make everything happen. This concept was demonstrated at JIng Fong through the various types of foods that were served. Most of the dishes had a balance of sweet options, such as mochi and Nutella filled dumplings, and savory options, such as pork dumplings and egg rolls. Another key concept of Taoism that showed up in my Dim Sum experience was the value of nature and how everything is at its best when it is untouched and natural. This was shown through the decor in the restaurant. On the walls of the restaurant were pictures of a phoenix, a dragon and bamboo. This illustrated balance because the phoenix usually represents females in Chinese culture, while dragons typically represent males.
After experiencing a traditional Dim Sum meal at the Jing Fong Restaurant, I can confidently say that it is the best option for a Living Color Project. Many facets of the legacies of Confucianism and Taoism come to life within the four walls of the restaurant. The etiquette at the restaurant, the variety of foods, and the restautant's decor all prove that the ancient legacies still have influence today. And, the best part, nobody leaves hungry. .