New Year’s Promises, Wrapped in Gold

Dmp"Long ago, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, there was a restaurant named
Chun Cha Fu. My family went there whenever we could, and I loved it as if it too
were my family: the booths with their torn red leather, the smiling waiters in
their ill-fitting tan jackets, the starched napkins that looked and smelled like
fortune cookies.
Every time we went, my sister and I asked for fried dumplings, guotie.
The wait always felt too long, but the thrill of each first bite remains with me
30 years later. When I close my eyes, I can taste the shattering-crisp, gilded
dumpling wrapper, the scalding, soy-scented pork, the heat spreading through my
body as I tried to breathe politely around a steaming mouthful. There was much
to love about Chun Cha Fu, but it was the dumplings that drew us back again and

T. Susan Chang