As a native resident of Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, I am fortunate to live in an area of diversity, full of different music, religions, food, languages, and more that reveal many wonderful cultures. One of my favorite aspects of Houston is Chinatown which happens to be walking distance from my school. Although, I go there quite often for afternoon snacks, I realized that I did not know a lot about the history and evolution of Chinatown. After doing some research I found out more about some of the key influences in Houston.
The first Chinese in Houston arrived in 1870 as laborers working in laundries and on the transcontinental railroad. After World War II more Chinese migrated to Houston in search of jobs and economic opportunity. However, Houston’s large Chinese population did not develop until during the 1950s, during which the growth of Chinese immigrants boomed, in part due to the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943 and the Chinese Communist Revolution, which caused turmoil in China. Despite increasing population, Chinese people had difficulty in achieving economic success due to racial discrimination. However, Houstonians soon began to appreciate the economic benefits of Chinese immigrants and became more receptive to their presence. By 1983 the Chinese population had reached about 30,000 people, and they began establishing their businesses in what is today Chinatown. They have contributed to the Houston culture by introducing Chinese cuisine, language, art, music, and celebrations. Chinatown is now a large area of Houston, offering restaurants, grocery stores, banks, spas, and tea houses.
I love exploring new restaurants in China town and discovering new, delicious food. By frequenting Chinese-owned businesses, I have the opportunity to expand my cultural knowledge, learn more about the people in my city, and experience new cuisines. I have come to love foods such as dim sum, boba tea, and bubble waffles. Furthermore, I enjoy shopping in Chinese grocery stores to bring home ingredients to make recipes to introduce my family to the delicious Chinese cuisine. By being open and willing to learn about other cuisines and cultures, I have been able to experience the bounties Chinatown is able to offer. I believe it is important for people to step out of their comfort zone and discover areas like Chinatown in their own community in order to gain knowledge and experience the wonders of different cultures.