Aug 6, 2013

I figured out why there's no good Chinese food in Humboldt County

One of the more entertaining local new outlets available to me here in Eureka, Lost Coast Outpost has a running series of  best-of contests called "Humboldt Approved" where it's readers can vote for their favorite local things. So far they've had Best Burrito, Best Burger and the most recent, Best Chinese Restaurant. I've lived here 6 months and based on the four places I've gone and the fact that locals I know can't recommend a good Chinese place. I've just accepted the fact that I'll have to wait till I go back to the bay area for good Chinese food. I'd settle for a panda express at this point. But then one of the reader comments pretty much hit the head on the nail. Eureka, is one of the original old pioneer cities of California settled in 1850.  But something it lacks that most other old coastal cities of the West have is a vibrant Chinese culture. There's no China Town in Eureka.   

"It didn't take Jean Pfaelzer long to notice something odd about the class she was teaching at Humboldt State University: no Asian students.
There were significant numbers of Native Americans in the Humboldt student body back then, in the late 1970s. There were also noticeable numbers of other minorities, particularly Hispanics. But, campus-wide, Asians were few and far between.."  KEITH EASTHOUSE: Northcoast Journal

In 1882 the white people of my lovely new home didn't like all the Chinese takin' their jobs and being all Chinesey and stuff which led to what's now known as the Chinese Expulsion of 1885.

Chinese Expulsion: (from Wikipedia)
Rising immigration from China in the late 1800s sparked conflict between white settlers and immigrants, which ultimately led to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Economic downturns resulting in competition for jobs led some white people to commit violent actions against Chinese immigrants, especially on the Pacific coast, despite the fact that Chinese immigrants provided the backbreaking labor to build the railroad making it possible for the railroad to connect the coasts of the nation. In February 1885, the racial tension in Eureka broke when Eureka City Councilman David Kendall was caught in the crossfire of two rival Chinese gangs and killed. This led to the convening of 600 Eurekans and resulted in the forcible permanent expulsion of all 480 Chinese residents of Eureka's Chinatown.[33] The expelled Chinese unsuccessfully attempted to sue for damages. In the U.S. Circuit Court case Wing Hing v. Eureka, the court noted that the Chinese owned no land and held that their other property was worthless. A citizen's committee then drafted an unofficial law decreeing:
  1.  That all Chinamen be expelled from the city and that none be allowed to return.
  2.  That a committee be appointed to act for one year, whose duty shall be to warn all Chinamen who may attempt to come to this place to live, and to use all reasonable means to prevent their remaining. If the warning is disregarded, to call mass meetings of citizens to whom the case will be referred for proper action.
  3.  That a notice be issued to all property owners through the daily papers, requesting them not to lease or rent property to Chinese.
Awesome, so now because of that, 100 years later you can't get a decent Lemon Chicken in the area.

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