I thought I knew what Chinese food was my whole life. I mean I grew up in New York City and there was a little Chinese food takeout spot every couple of blocks. It was great because we could grab a pint of Pork Fried Rice, just like we did a Slice of Pizza, and be on our way. But Chinese cuisine, not so much.
Then just a few years ago my whole perspective changed when I realized that all I knew was Americanized Chinese Food. We took a tour of China and visited so many wonderful cities. What amazing history and culture, and on top of that… an array of authentic Chinese food that I have never tasted before. We ate everywhere from little private huts in the woods, to extravagant penthouse restaurants that were second to none. I knew I was about to eat good when I walked into a room with a giant rotating table top and ice sculptures layered with fine seafood. The best wine served along with it as well.
Now that food and a similar experience has come to Asheville North Carolina. Red Ginger Dim Sum has just opened this week downtown, right near Pritchard Park. We did not know what to expect when we entered, but everything was first class. The waitress even warned us that it was their third day, and the place, as well as her, were new to the scene; and to please forgive them if things seem a little less than perfect. She presented the menu to us, had us scratch out four items that they had run out of, and we began to order immediately. After traveling and tasting China, we knew exactly what our mouths were yearning for. So here is what we feasted on:
The Noodle Shop in downtown Asheville is one of those few places in the area that serves real Chinese cuisine. And believe me, we have been to them all at one time or another. The restaurant is small, tight and cozy; reminding me of the little hole-in-the-wall Chinese food takeout spots in New York City that I used to frequent. But this one is packed out with tables.
We started with some organic Sake and an order of Shaomai, and then jumped into a couple of entrees… a sizzling plate that consisted of hard noodles on the bottom and chicken, shrimp, scallops and vegetables on top. The other dish was a bowl of wonton noodle soup. If you are downtown Asheville and looking for authentic Chinese food, this is definitely the place. We love this spot and will be back soon.
Here is an interview with someone who moved from Southeast China to Asheville North Carolina:
My educational years in China led me into the hospitality management field. I had planned on working in my city, then moving to other cities in Southeast China and beyond. I grew up in a great home, and my family is extremely close. My parents did everything they could to grant me a life of opportunity. I ended up going to a great University in Xiamen China. Then the option arose for me to attend a University in Switzerland and expand my education and training even more. Soon after getting to Switzerland, I made friends with several other people from China, and many others from all ends of the world. Attending this school allowed me to learn English, and get an International mindset. An amazing experience!
Then I had the rare chance to go to the United States to work and gain more cultural exposure. I took it! Upon arriving in Asheville North Carolina, I worked at Marriott. I enjoyed going out in the area and experiencing Western North Carolina as a tourist, seeing the nature, the mountains, meeting people and enjoying life. Little did I know that I was scouting out the place where I would soon be living. A friend I worked with invited me to a community meeting, and I met a guy there that would become my husband, and the father of my child not long after. We have traveled to China several times and each time was an incredible experience. People always ask us about Asian food in Asheville, and I tell them that some of our favorite places are The Noodle Shop, Doc Chey’s Noodle House, and UMI Japanese in Hendersonville NC. When it comes to Thai, there are so many great places in the Asheville area to choose from, but we frequent Thai Orchid and Noi’s the most.
The photo above is a statue in a park that we toured in China. To me it represents women, and people in general, moving forward for more and better. This is the opportunity I received in my native country, and in many other places around the world after that. I love China, where I was born and raised; and I love my new home of Asheville NC.