Thursday, October 22, 2015

"How Pittsburgh is Growing America's Next Great Chinatown".


Sign from Pittsburgh's Chinatown bus station. The remnants of Pittsburgh's former Chinatown are downtown.

Food critic Melissa McCart of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes for Saveur that Pittsburgh's Chinese student population is leading to an improve Chinese restaurant scene. Today's article borrows from McCart's July 9 Post-Gazette piece and profiles the people behind Everyday Noodles, Sakura, and Chengdu Gourmet, three restaurants in Squirrel Hill.
Pittsburgh sits at the gateway to the Midwest and the crux of the Appalachian mountains, with more bridges than Venice, a vibrant arts community, and a growing restaurant scene. But the city has not been known for its national diversity, with a 2010 census showing that only 4 percent of residents were born abroad.

That's changing now as schools like University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne University, and Point Park University are attracting more international students from Asia—especially China. Five years ago, Pittsburgh universities counted under 1,000 Chinese students in their undergraduate and graduate programs combined; today more than 5,000 Chinese students, and several thousand more residents, call Pittsburgh home—a number that's expected to keep growing.

The surge in diversity has sparked changes in restaurant kitchens around the city, with Chinese-American and pan-Asian restaurants recruiting Chinese chefs with the help of overseas government agencies, cooking schools, and placement services in New York in order to get cooks with the cultural literacy and specialized skills to serve more regional Chinese cuisine.