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The Hollywood Chinese Restaurant

Scouting New York reports on the difficulty of pleasing movie and TV directors by finding them the Chinese restaurant they want to film in. It must look exotic, with red wallpaper and lots of dragons and intricately-carved furniture. After all, they've seen that Chinatown restaurant in lots of other movies! The problem is, they are looking for the restaurant decor of the early 20th century.

But those days are gone. Chinese restaurants don’t need crazy decor anymore to convince New Yorkers that the cuisine is worthwhile. And while I really wish just one holdover from the 1940s or 1950s had survived into the modern age as a historical relic, they’re kaput, and no amount of scouting will bring them back.

So the Chinatown restaurants you see on film are usually built on sound stages. You can see plenty of those screenshots, plus what actual New York restaurants look like, and a couple of vintage interiors that no longer exist, at Scouting New York. Link -via Digg

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

I know of a Chinese restaurant in Baltimore that looks more or less like that. Can't remember the name and, by virtue of living on the other side of the planet (in China), can't easily find out.

I don't remember if the sign telling waiters and waitresses not to smoke while in the dining room was in Chinese or not. I'm thinking it was but I don't have photo proof at least until the next time I'm in the States.
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You can still find this kind of decor outside of NYC. 20-30 years ago, every small town I knew had ONE Chinese restaurant and they all went overboard to deliver the "exotic" experience. Now my town has four Chinese restaurants and a Japanese steakhouse, and they all just look like restaurants. A couple do serve pizza, for picky kids. I still have to drive a couple of hours to get Indian food (unless I want to spend all day cooking).
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