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Reading: The Takeout Story OR dangers facing Chinese deliverymen in NYC

Kevin Heldman writes in Capital New York:

Takeout story: Behind bulletproof glass and out on a bike for a Chinese restaurant in Mott Haven

You live in Manhattan below 125th Street, or gentrified Brooklyn, or a quiet part of Queens. You want Chinese food. You’re not following some recommendation from an old Sam Sifton column or a food blog, though. You just want some chicken lo mein, sweet and sour chicken, egg drop soup and fortune cookies.

You go to that drawer full of menus with dragons or pandas or bamboo on them, and the random Chinese characters, and the obligatory promise of fast and free delivery. And in 25 minutes or so a Chinese man on a bike will come to your door and you’ll maybe drop him a xie xie with your tip and he’ll give you a bye byeand he’s gone. End of story.

But there’s a different version of that story that goes on in many parts of this city. And that version is about money, class, race, and education. And in that version people are robbed, assaulted and killed, and people live in fear, constantly on guard and under threat over Chinese food.

Yeah, I never really wanted to think about what went into making my General Tso’s Chicken at the local Chinese joint.

If you look through recent press reports and legal records in New York you’ll find the names Huang, Fengwang, Shi-Yi, Fahua, Chun-Lin, Ng-Cheung, Jin-Sheng, Xun-Zheng, Xing-Wu, Lisheng, Ji, all robbed and shot or stabbed or beaten. In Ji’s case, he was also handcuffed, blindfolded and thrown in the back of a car that he threw himself out of while it was being driven by the robbers.

Yeah, pretty sure I’m not the only one who hasn’t given more than a passing thought to the men (and women) who actually hand that food to me nearly every week. 

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