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Extension Takes Food Stu
LOU ANN GOOD
Lancaster Farming Staff
a Co.) —About 50 persons partici
pated in the Chinese Food Study
Tour sponsored by Berks County
Cooperative Extension recently.
It was a time to savor new fla
vors and smells. A time to observe
the work ethnic of dedicated labor
ers in a big city. A time to learn
about the culture and customs of an
Nipa Hammond of Nipa’s Asian
Foods, Inc., in Reading led the
day-long tour. As the bus load
traveled from Reading to Philadel
phia. Nipa passed around a jar of
dried plums similar to bits of hard
candy. The dried fruit, she said,
keeps you from becoming thirsty if
you suck it slowly.
Eager 10 share her love for Chin
ese food and customs, Nipa
encouraged participants to taste
food even if the name of it sounded
repulsive to them. Chicken feet,
she insisted, is a wonderful food.
The study included a full course
meal at the Joy Tsin Lau Chinese
Restaurant. With the help of Fay
Strickler, Extension home eco
nomist, Nipa had preselected items
from the menu that she believed
would be most appealing to those
unaccustomed to Chinese cruisinc.
The meal was served family
style. It started with an appetizer of
Won Ton Soup. The dishes
included Har Kow (steamed
shrimp), Bean Curd Skin Roll (soy
beans with filling) Spring Roll
(bamboo shoot, dry shrimp,
mushrooms, and chicken), Angel
Hair Noodles served with both dry
and fresh squid, imitation crab, and
deep fried fish cake, Fried Dum
plings (shrimp) Turnip Cake
(Chinese chime with wild garlic).
Many of the foods were wrapped
in a potato or cornstarch wrapper.
“This is authentic Chinese food
not Americanized Chinese
food,” Nipa said.
The restaurant serves authenic
Chinese food to its mostly Asian
customers by day and
Americanized-Chinese food to
their mostly white clientel by
“The food is much better and
even costs much less during the
day,” Nipa said.
Indeed, many participants who
are accustomed to eating in local
Chinese restaurants agreed that
authentic Chinese food is' tastier
than the Americanized version.
Agnes Tong, formerly of Hawaii and now a dietician at
Reading Hospital? accompanies the tour to discover more
about her heritage. Here, a fortune cookie factory fasci
Americans, Nipa said, do not
have a true comprehension of real
“Fortune cookies are a Ameri
can idea,” she said. “They have
been made in America for 20
years. When a restaurant in China
began to serve them recently, the
people ask, “What is this?"
Nevertheless the Chinese are
fascinated with the idea of fortune
cookies and the cookies promise to
be a hit in China as .well as
A stop on the tour included a
visit to the the Reading Terminal
Market, where unusual fruits, veg
etables, and meats needed for
Chinese dishes can be purchased.
Items such as persimmons, ginger
root, and fish sauce were popular
purchases by those eager to dupli
cate Chinese dishes at home.
According to custom, desserts
are not served with Chinese meals,
but that doesn’t mean Chinese do
not cat baked sweets. They are
commonly served as snacks with
Later, in the day, the group
loured a Chinese bakery where
favorites included Moon Cake,
Black Bean Cake, Pork Bun, and
Sponge cakes of mocha, lemon,
and other flavors.
While Black Bean Cake and
Pork Bun may not sound appealing
to most Americans, the food
proved to be quite tasty and
Tours were taken of a noodle
factory and a fortune cookie fac
tory. These little factories were
located in the heart of China Town.
Started 1 by entrepreneurial Chin
ese. the factories buzzed with
activity as they filled orders for
cities across the states.
In the noodle factory, the dough
is mixed and rolled by machines.
As the machine rolls out the dough
in endless lengths similar to bolts
of material, workers fold the
dough in blanket folds. The stacks
of the dough arc sliced in various
sizes of noodles and into won ton
wrappers for packaging.
The tour group split up into
smaller size groups to visit many
of the Chinese groceries and store
fronts in China Town. Participants
found it fascinating to sec the ethn
ic food sold in these shops so
unlike the typical American super
market. Some of the specialties
were whole dried duck, with wings
spread and the form intact.
y v . jn Extension home economist, right, tells jurpai.
ants that the portabelia mushroom Is the latest rage In New York where It sells for $l6 a
Examining the dried duck and sugar cane available In a Chinese grocery are
Kramer of Bethel and Mi Ann Beidler, Rehrersbur
Nipa Hammond, standing, Identifies the Chinese crulslne to some of the 50 persons
who participated in the Chinese food study tour offered by Be ~
Tour To China Town
Authentic Chinese food Chinese pastries