Here’s Part 2 of the Chinatown video series done in collaboration with Poster House and chef Grace Young. This episode features Peter Lee, the owner of the beloved restaurant, Hop Kee. Grace Young writes:
On Sunday March 15, I went into Manhattan’s Chinatown to speak to the owners of mom-and-pop businesses and find out how they were dealing with the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. I first met Peter Lee, owner of Hop Kee restaurant, two weeks earlier for a photo shoot for my Food & Wine story, “Chinatown Needs Your Love More Than Ever Right Now.” Hop Kee is one of Chinatown’s most beloved restaurants, retro Chinese food at its best with with old school waiters, a storehouse of memories for old timers and regulars. At the time, Chinatown business was down but the atmosphere for the shoot was jovial. We were all hopeful that if New Yorkers showed their support Chinatown was resilient enough to bounce back.
By Sunday, when I returned to speak to Peter everything had changed. The magnitude of what was happening was heartbreaking.
My deep gratitude to Peter for his willingness to be interviewed on such a sad day for Hop Kee and his employees. Deep gratitude to videographer Dan Ahn who has been an extraordinary collaborator. I also want to thank Jan Lee, Don Lee, Frank Farnham and Andrea DiNoto for their invaluable help.
At this time, there are still some Chinese restaurants in Chinatown and throughout the country offering take-out and delivery. Please show your support in any way you can including buying gift certificates that can be redeemed in the future. Some owners have started Gofundme campaigns for their shuttered restaurants to raise money for their employees. Any contribution to help these workers who so desperately need financial assistance is greatly appreciated.