Before 1961, you couldn’t find good dim sum or pork buns, not to mention Peking duck. But when Cecilia Chiang launched her first stateside venture, The Mandarin, that year in San Francisco, Eastern favorites made their way into Western kitchens. We should thank her for the strides Chinese cuisine has made since then, especially in New York. This weekend, you can.
On Sunday Oct 19 at 7pm, the legendary chef will be taking part in the first-ever screening of Soul of a Banquet, a documentary of her forays, at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The film follows Chiang, often called the Julia Child of Chinese fare, as she carves her own path. It weaves viewers through her culinary achievements and the history of her Northern Chinese techniques, but most importantly express her lifelong love of the cuisine. Following the screening, she’ll be available for questions alongside director Wayne Wang and food-writing trailblazer Ruth Reichl. The show is sold-out; however standby tickets are available at the box office for $13.
If you can’t wait in line at Lincoln Center for tix, your second chance at a screening is Monday Oct 20, when Oscilloscope will host a free show at 7pm at the Bruce Cost Ginger Ale Factory (465 Johnson Ave between Varick and Morgan Ave) in Bushwick. Afterward, you can meet and discuss with chefs Jonathan Wu (Fung Tu), Danny Bowien (Mission Chinese, Mission Cantina) and Anita Lo (Annisa).
Ashley Cox contributed reporting