Reunion: Christine Wong (Curator)
Christine Wong is an author, plant-based cook, and advocate for eco-friendly choices who blends cultural representation with culinary expertise. Her upcoming book, The Vibrant Hong Kong Table (Chronicle Books, available for pre-order) reimagines 88 iconic dishes, preserving the rich cultural tapestry of her hometown, Hong Kong.
Christine's impactful works include Living Without Plastic (Artisan, 2020), co-authored with Plastic Oceans International, and The Plantiful Plate (Countryman Press, 2019), showcasing versatile, plant-forward recipes.
Through NYC's Chinatown, she celebrates Asian American culture through food and community. Among numerous press features, Christine has been on New York Live and the South China Morning Post. Her food photography has been featured in the New York Times, Thrillist, Fodor's, and Time Out New York. Christine is also honored to be a part of Pearl River Mart as their Creative Manager.
What's your favorite dish that evokes nostalgia?
Hong Kong Curry was always my favorite dish as a child and my paternal grandmother would make it for me whenever I visited her. Rice with the curry sauce alone is pure and simple nostalgia — this was a lunch readily available at my high school that I would eat more often than not!
What's your go to restaurant for reunion meals?
Jing Fong, especially at their old location. There is always something for everyone to eat at dim sum. Plus the instant gratification of these shared bites paired with the busy-ness of the dim sum trolleys make any gathering more festive.
What's your favorite food city? What are some restaurants in that city that taste like home?
New York City, namely Chinatown, a neighborhood steeped in the historical tapestry of immigrant communities. With the establishment of family-owned restaurants, one can savor the taste of home away from home through nostalgic and authentic dishes.
Yin Ji Chang Fen is wonderful for congee and a rice noodle roll breakfast. Dim Sum Go Go has been my go-to for family dinners for over 20 years — they also have a great selection of vegetarian dumplings. I'd also recommend Nom Wah for that atmospheric OG cha chaan teng (Chinese diner) nostalgia, Noodle Village for their bouncy wonton noodles, and Uncle Lou for bitter melon and rice, one of my favorite rice box lunches when I used to work in Hong Kong!
What do you do for inspiration?
I walk over the bridge from Brooklyn and wander the produce stands and shops of Chinatown to see what fresh produce is in season, or sometimes to converse with a Chinatown auntie if I don't know how to choose or cook an unfamiliar ingredient. Back when I was in college, I would always come to Pearl River Mart whenever I was homesick.
What's something you're obsessed with right now?
Green Sichuan pepper oil! It's the star of my go-to 10-minute lazy cooking meal which consists of mai fun (vermicelli) and a few handfuls of cooked leafy greens seasoned with a mix of sesame paste (or tahini), soy sauce, and Sichuan chili oil.
Follow Christine on Instagram.
[Photograph by William Furniss]