Interview with Linda Kao_Part 2, December 21, 2021

Dublin Core

Title

Interview with Linda Kao_Part 2, December 21, 2021

Subject

Asian Americans
Texas--History
Cooking, American
Cooking, Chinese

Date

2021-12-21

Format

audio

Identifier

2021oh002_di_017

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Interviewer

Betsy Brody

Interviewee

Linda Kao

OHMS Object Text

5.4 Interview with Linda Kao_Part 2, December 21, 2021 2021oh002_di_017 00:11:11 ohdi Digging In di001 How Food, Culture, and Class Shaped Asian Dallas Becoming Texans, Becoming Americans This project is possible thanks to the support of a Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowship. Asian Americans Texas--History Cooking, American Cooking, Chinese Linda Kao Betsy Brody m4a oh_audio_dig_Linda_Kao_2_20211221.m4a 1:|9(1)|19(7)|26(9)|31(3)|42(12)|53(10)|57(5)|61(13)|70(6)|78(9)|84(11) 0 https://betsybrody.aviaryplatform.com/embed/media/162875 Aviary audio 11 Kao family's involvement in the Chinese Community Center bridge ; celebrations ; Chinese Community Center ; Chinese New Year ; culture 32.95964483523445, -96.72663078121094 17 117 &quot ; Flying Tigers pilots monthly lunch at Royal China Colonel Menkin ; Flying Tigers ; Royal China 272 Bestsellers at Royal China/Thoughts on fusion, authenticity, and trends in food authentic ; Chinese food ; Chinese restaurant ; comfort food ; Dry Stirred beef ; foodie ; fusion ; General Tso's chicken ; menu ; vegetarian Asian Americans ; Cooking, American ; Cooking, Chinese ; Texas--History “Digging In” explores how the growth of the Asian community coincided with the rise of “foodie culture” in Dallas, leading to unique opportunities for economic and social engagement between and among different Asian immigrant groups as well as with the larger Dallas community. |00:00:07| BRODY OK. I&#039 ; m restarting the recording now, and I want to go back and talk a little bit more about your family&#039 ; s involvement in the Chinese Community Center. Can you tell me, sort of, what were some of the events or celebrations that that would have happened there? |00:00:29| KAO Well, my mother actualIy was on the Board of Directors until she passed on. And so she&#039 ; s very involved in all the activities. Of course, we all love Chinese New Year. And my mom always made sure, on Chinese New Year Day, prepare red envelope for all the children that come to the Center. And she would personally give them red envelope, for good luck, to every one of them. And she&#039 ; s a very spirited person and loves, loved, a good party. |00:01:35| BRODY That&#039 ; s great. Were there celebrations, speaking of Chinese New Year, were there celebrations like that at the restaurant as well? |00:01:47| KAO Well, believe it or not, we had been talking about it, but we never did it. Because we are just so busy. Yeah. |00:01:56| BRODY Right. Earlier, you mentioned some of the notable celebrities and whatnot that went to the restaurant. And you mentioned a man who recognized your dad from the Korean War. Can you talk a little bit more about that? |00:02:15| KAO Yeah, he was. I always remember him fondly and Colonel Menkin and he lived in Duncanville back then and he would come regularly to the restaurant. And always had the best conversation with my dad. And another group that my father was very proud of and felt very honored to be part of it was the &quot ; Flying Tigers.&quot ; You know, &quot ; Flying Tigers&quot ; was the, they&#039 ; re the pilots organized by General Chennault during WWII to fight the Japanese. And surprisingly, there were quite a few survivors living in the DFW area. So, I remember way back then, they would come once a week, once a month, for a luncheon get-together. And my father was always looking forward to seeing them. |00:04:05| BRODY So they had a reunion once a month at the Royal China? |00:04:11| KAO Right. And, obviously, over the years, the number was smaller, and unfortunately, they all passed on. |00:04:28| BRODY It is too bad. I&#039 ; m sorry to hear that. What are the best-sellers at the restaurant over the years. |00:04:37| KAO Well. I would say General&#039 ; s Chicken. And Dry-Stirred Beef. I remember for a long time, the Moo Shu Pork. And of course, up to now, people still say, Moo Goo Gai Pan. |00:05:13| BRODY A lot of some of those are. Unique to Royal China, like the Dry Stirred Beef, and some are things that you see on a lot of Chinese menus you know, around the world. That makes me think of this question of the role of a menu. What, what is when you&#039 ; re running a restaurant, especially a restaurant that&#039 ; s primary clientele are people who are not part of that tradition, what, what&#039 ; s important to think about when you&#039 ; re devising the menu and deciding you know what you&#039 ; re going to serve? |00:05:56| KAO Well, I think we&#039 ; re always trying to entice and we&#039 ; ll always have some comfort food. And some inspire. So we always want to have a fairly broad, different meats. We also have to sort of understand the trends. For instance, &quot ; gluten free&quot ; or vegetarian, low sodium. Since we are not cooking by formula, everything is fresh, fresh ingredients. And so, you know, sometime my daughter was helping out, and she said &quot ; Oh my God! Somebody ordered Chicken Chow Mein, or Chicken Lo Mein with no chicken, no vegetables!&quot ; She said, &quot ; Why can&#039 ; t they just say &#039 ; We want plain noodles?&#039 ; &quot ; So, we can customize everything. So as I said, we want them to entice, inspire, explore. And also finding comfort and enjoy eating. |00:08:02| BRODY That&#039 ; s a great answer. When we&#039 ; re talking about restaurants, a lot of times there&#039 ; s a debate about what is &quot ; authentic.&quot ; Where do you stand on that question? |00:08:18| KAO Well, I&#039 ; m a very big foodie. So, I have a lot of respect for food. And while I&#039 ; m not expert or a connoisseur in every cuisine, I feel, if it&#039 ; s pleasing to your palate, you enjoy it, and if it&#039 ; s from that country, or a deviation, or a fusion, why not? You know, especially nowadays, there&#039 ; s so many fusion. You know, like Peru, fusion of Japanese, Latin American. India- there&#039 ; s the Chinese and Indian food. So, who can say, &quot ; That&#039 ; s not authentic?&quot ; It&#039 ; s authentic for some people. It may not be you, but we have to respect that. |00:09:45| BRODY Thank you so much for that. Is there anything that I didn&#039 ; t ask that I should have or anything that you&#039 ; d like to say? |00:09:59| KAO You know, my family has been here for almost 50 years and is tied to Royal China, and I don&#039 ; t know. There&#039 ; s so much wonderful memories. And Royal China, and Dallas has given us so much that you know, it&#039 ; s like a Giving Tree, just keep on giving. We feel very blessed, and I can&#039 ; t think of anything particular. We are just so thankful. |00:10:58| BRODY Well, thank you so much for sharing your memories and for helping to put the story of Royal China into the record. I appreciate it. |00:11:09| KAO Thank you for having us. All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the Baylor University Institute for Oral History. audio Interviews may be reproduced with permission from the Baylor University Institute for Oral History. 0

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“Interview with Linda Kao_Part 2, December 21, 2021,” Digging In Dallas, accessed July 12, 2024, https://diggingindallas.org/items/show/34.