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TOPICS: Population data; Livable cities; Bean Sauce; Museums in China; Jews and Hong Kong hotels

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Newman's News and Notes

Fall Volume: 2012 Issue: 19(3) page(s): 29

POPULATION DATA about Chinese and other Asians continue to be popular queries. We are not a census bureau but sometimes do offer data about Chinese in the United States. As of July 2009, one government source estimates sixteen million residents of Asian descent living in the Unites States. California has 5.2 million, New York follows with 1.5 million, Texas with almost a million, and Hawaii--the only state with a majority of Asian people, more than half of its population are Asian.

Countrywide, those of Chinese descent are said to be the largest Asian group. Following them are Filipinos with 3.2 million, Asian Indians with 2.8 million, Vietnamese with 1.7 million, Koreans are at 1.6 million, and Japanese are 1.3 million. These numbers do not include those reporting more than one ethnic population as their heritage.

The number of Asian-owned businesses also increased, and at more than twice the national rate to 1.5 million. They generated more than half a trillion dollars to the United States economy. The largest number of them are in California, more than half a million. New York follows with almost two hundred thousand Asian-owned businesses. Asian-owned businesses with Chinese owners top the list and make up twenty-seven percent of the total. This data is collected every five years, more currently being tabulated; and when that will be released we know not.

'LIVABLE CITIES' is a list compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit of the United Kingdom; and on their list are some in Taiwan and China. The numbers that follow are in the millions and given in parenthesis. They include: Hong Kong (31st), Taipei (61st), Beijing (72nd), Suzhou (73rd), Tianjin (74th), Shanghai (79th), Shenzhen (82nd), Dalian (85th), Guangzhou (89th), and Qingdao (98th).

For those who wonder what city holds in the number one spot, it is Melbourne, Australia. Criteria to get on this 'Livable Cities' list includes thirty factors in the five areas of: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. Congratulations to those making it to the TOP 100!

BEAN SAUCE confusions continue. We are often asked: What is yellow grinding bean sauce? This fermented product refers to the color of the soy beans before being fermented. Yellow bean sauces and yellow grinding bean sauces have very small differences, most between manufacturers. The same sauce can say ground bean sauce or brown bean sauce, and then they refer to the color of the beans after fermentation, which is brown.

These sauces are made crushing already fermented soy beans, adding wheat flour, sugar, and salt in various amounts and at various times. Sauces from different manufacturers can and do taste different, so do taste them to determine the one or ones you like best. These yellow/brown sauces can be the basis of hoisin and chou hou sauces, and when manufacturers add chilies some sell them as Guilin chili sauce, hot Sichuan paste, sa cha sauce, etc. Some of these sauces have baby shrimp, krill, or brill, even tiny fish. Read the labels on all of the above mentioned foods to know their contents. JEWS AND HONG KONG HOTELS have been associated since the 1800's. Several Jewish families from Baghdad, including the Sassoons whose son Vidal is a well-known clothing designer is one example. In 1902, his family dedicated the Ohel Leah Synagogue in memory of Sir Jacob Sassoon's mother. Sir Elly Kadoorie, also from Iraq, has a son who owns the Peninsula Hotel. He purchased torahs from Catholic friars on Hong Kong's Cat Street for five thousand dollars so they would not be misused. The Furama Hotel hosts the Chabad Eishel Menachen synagogue within and holds three minyan services every day. They cater Kosher Saturday dinners. Chabad also publishes a magazine called L.I.F.E. which stands for the 'Lubavitch In the Far East.'

Waves of Jews came to Hong Kong after they escaped pogroms in Poland, Russia, and other far-eastern countries. They built a historic synagogue, later demolished it, and replaced it with high rise apartments. The first two floors in one of them now has a synagogue and a Jewish Community Center. About three thousand Jews make Hong Kong their home. Many are diamond merchants with connections to others in the trade in Europe. The Chinese report they like the Jews because they share enthusiasm for good food, good business, and good education. Read more about Jews in China in the article about Kaifeng in this issue.

MUSEUMS IN CHINA were discussed in a book reviewed several issues ago. To update this information, we recently read that at the end of 2010, China had 3,020 museums, half with free entry. Beijing has the second largest number of museums in any city worldwide, only London has more.

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