Alice Qiu: Chinatown


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Photography and Text by Alice Qiu, Copyright 2016




As an international student from China, Chinatown has always been my favorite place. Whenever I travel to a new city, I will always try its Chinatown, if there is one. I’ve been to Chinatowns in Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. Some of them are bigger. Some are more authentic. However, the one that I visit the most is the one on Cherry Street in Philadelphia.

Food is the foremost attraction. Back at home, in high school, I once told my mother that I prefer Western food over Chinese food. My parents and I would dine out once a week and I always picked French, Italian or Spanish restaurants. However, after I came to the States for college, after endless dining halls, I suddenly realized how much I missed Chinese food. From there, going to Chinatown once a week has become a must do for me.

As I become more and more familiar with Chinatown in Philadelphia, I started to get to know the people there. I talk to them and I want to know more about their lives. The one who works in my favorite bubble tea place is a student at Drexel. The waitress in the Xi’an Sizzling Food has been there for three years. There is a very good lawyer that only helps people who don’t speak English at all. Chinatown is a small community. For some, it is a dinner place. For others, it is a home away from home.

About the Author: Alice Qiu is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2016. To read additional articles by Alice Qiu, go here:

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