New York’s love affair with Chinese food goes back at least a century, as these postcards attest.
The back of this next postcard, for Ding Ho, reads, “The most modern Chinese Restaurant in the Times Square Section, serving American and Cantonese dinners at popular prices.”
I get the sense that these two establishments served relatively authentic cuisine. But most places apparently didn’t. Valentine’s City of New York, a guidebook published in 1920, felt the need to warn out-of-towners that the city’s Chinese restaurants were tourist traps:
“Few homegrown Chinese take nourishment in these places, because they feel kind of out of place and they hate to break in on the nice white people from uptown and Brooklyn. But the waiters are all Chinese, for the same reason that the walls have Chinese dragon tapestry. The lights are shrouded in fantastic shades, and the place is redolent with the perfume of fire cracker punk, which exhales a not unpleasant odor.”