Dim Sum Living Color By Harrison Winter

For the living color project, I recommend traveling into the heart of Chinatown, to the restaurant Jin Fong. Jin Fong is not like any ordinary sit down restaurant; it is a Dim Sum restaurant. At a Dim Sum restaurant, you don't order food; food is brought around on carts. When a server brings food to your table, you select which food you want and then they stamp your bill accordingly. Don’t worry if the food doesn’t look appetizing at first; it will end up surpassing your expectations. I particularly enjoyed the pork dumplings and the chocolate buns. You might enjoy something else like the Chinese Hamburger. Overall, it is an experience you should definitely should try if you would like to understand China’s cuisine and how ancient legacy is incorporated into a modern dining experience.

Yin and Yang is a symbol meaning balance throughout the universe, and is present in all aspects of living things, including the restaurant Jin Fong

There are many Daoist and Confucian ideas and themes that emerge while dining in this distinctively Chinese environment. One example is the concept of Li, meaning to demonstrate proper behavior, manners, politeness, and worship. In ancient China, proper dining etiquette was established, and the traditions have lasted through the centuries. Some of these rules include the following: never completely finish a meal, pour your own drink, always use chopsticks, but never leave them sticking up in rice because it symbolizes death, and serve others before yourself. These rules reflect that the ancient Chinese people were very polite to their families and guests while eating. You will also observe Guangxi. Guangxi is the building of a relationship, and you will be able to do that with your peers. While eating and experiencing the culture together, I was able to share this unique experience with them. While you are at Jing Fong, you might notice the sculpture of the Dragon and Phoenix. In ancient Chinese culture, these two creatures are a married couple with a strong spiritual bond, a symbol of Guangxi. Yin and yang was another term that will come up in your visit to the restaurant. Yin and Yang means balance, and has been an essential part in China's history. One of the ways in which it is modeled is in food. At the restaurant, the food comes from both the land and the sea, a balance between sources of food. Among the land-sourced food are pork and chicken, while shrimp and fish come from the sea. Yin and Yang is also present in the taste of the food. As an example, a salty dish, like shumai, would be served and then after the shumai, you would receive chocolate bean rolls, a dessert item. It was definitely interesting eating a main course and dessert at the same time. The final term you encounter is the Dao itself. The Dao is incomprehensible by any human; it has no set definition. Although the Dao has no definition, Nature is the closest approximation to it. At Jing Fong, the restaurant is decorated in bamboo panels spanning across the restaurant. As well as the panels, there is also an octagonal bamboo frame. Inside of the frame are many lines going every direction, exemplifying nature since it is always changing and unpredictable. Like I said earlier, the Dao and nature have a strong bond, and it is very important to try to understand that bond as much as possible.

Also, all food comes from nature.

Yin and Yang; A cart would come around with the sweet chocolate buns (left) and then minutes later, another cart would show up with the salty and savory pork shumai (right)

The "carrots" aren't actually carrots, they are a lotus that looks like a carrot. This Symbols the confucian term of Retrification of Names, the lotus is acting as the carrot, so it is given that title. (Right) A great variety of a balance of the foods eaten at restaurant (right).
At the restaurant, the only drink available was tea. At a Dim Sum restaurant, when drinking tea, someone else must pour your tea for you. When they are done pouring, it is respectful to gently tap the table with your index and middle finger to show gratitude. This would be a demonstration of Li, since it is the proper action to do. It also relates to the five great relationships. When I was there, my friends and I poured tea for each other, symbolizing the older friend and younger friend bond.
Chopsticks were used to eat all of the food. During Confucius' time, Chopsticks were often used while eating. Many people believed that forks and knives were dangerous. They believed that they were symbols of violence, war, and killing of the happy. Also as food started to get smaller, forks and knives became harder to manage, and chopsticks were just easier to use.

Although this isn’t the typical Chinese-American restaurant, there is much to learn from a dining experience at Jin Fong. You learn about the proper way to dine in China, how the ancient culture is reflected through food and modern customs, and get to enjoy a good bonding experience with your peers. So if you want to learn more about these customs, I highly suggest you visit Dim Sum for your living color project.

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