Pho Basil offers cutting-edge flavors that tease the taste buds

Pho Basil’s fried calamari was tender and not rubbery. (Photo courtesy of Vekonda Luangaphay)

As I walked into Pho Basil on a recent Tuesday night hoping to satisfy a craving for something creamy with soft spices at a restaurant that specializes in Vietnamese and Thai cuisine, buzzed chatter filled the whole dining room, and all but one table was taken. Stepping inside, the décor of this small restaurant was inviting. The dim lighting at each table encouraged conversations while also making it easier for diners to tune out noise. Considering the busy night, it wasn’t long until my fried calamari ($7.25) came. Lightly battered fried calamari was garnished with scallions and pickled jalapeños, and … Continue reading

Clean Up Chinatown Committee see less street litter after community workshops

Clean Up Chinatown committee members Jeff Hovis (resident), Hung Goon (president of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association) and Leo Boucher (assistant commissioner of Inspectional Services) discuss progress at the October meeting. 
(Photo courtesy of Vekonda Luangaphay)

Identifying the people who illegally dump trash in Chinatown continues to be a major concern for the Clean Up Chinatown Committee. Depending on the location, size and type of waste, the fines range from $100 to $5,000. At its monthly meeting on Oct. 7, as the city continues to address this problem, landlords and business owners complained they receive tickets for trash illegally dumped on their properties. The city stated that it responds to all appeals and tries to find the culprits by looking through the trash for identifying evidence. “But catching every single person who places trash on others’ … Continue reading

Next STEP English program recognized by state for most students sent to college

This year's winners of $1,000 college scholarships from First Literacy at the awards ceremony at Boston City Hall in July. Peggie Kuang (red shirt in far right), AACA Next STEP student, was among the scholarship winners. (Photo courtesy of First Literacy)

For the second year in a row, the Next Steps Transitional English Program (Next STEP) of the Asian American Civic Association (AACA) has sent more adults to college than any other community-based adult basic education program funded by the Mass. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). DESE released fiscal year 2014 statistics on adults who enrolled in college after studying in adult English language learning programs. AACA had the highest number of students entering secondary education among community-based organizations in Massachusetts. Next STEP was created in January 1993 to bridge the gap between basic English classes in greater Boston’s … Continue reading

Republican governor hopeful Charlie Baker visits Chinatown

Charlie Baker visited Chinatown on Oct. 12. (L to R) Lili Mei, Frank Chin, state Rep. Donald Wong and Sherry Dong 
(Image courtesy of Vekonda Luangaphay.)

Republican governor candidate Charlie Baker campaigned in Chinatown at the Nam Pai Boston Ultimate Fitness gym on Harrison Street on Oct. 12. “He is a very compassionate person, and he knows his material well,” said Amy Guen, a 90-year-old Chinatown resident, about Baker’s health care experience. She was sitting with more than 70 attendees, including many senior citizens. State rep. Donald Wong and community leader Frank Chin helped organize the Baker event in Chinatown. In 1994, Baker signed legislation to make Medicare supplement insurance more affordable for low-income elders. Baker was the president and CEO of Harvard Vanguard’s parent company, … Continue reading

Boston mayor releases plan for 53,000 housing units by 2030

Mayor Marty Walsh announced plans to add 53,000 housing units in Boston by 2030 on Oct. 9 at the One Greenway construction site in Chinatown. (Image courtesy of Vekonda Luangaphay.)

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh released “Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030,” a plan for housing that calls for 53,000 new units by 2030 on Oct. 9 at the One Greenway construction site. The plan focuses on four demographic groups: Seniors, low-income households, the middle class and students. A total of 5,000 new units will be for seniors, 44,000 new units for the workforce and 4,000 new units for vacancies to stabilize the market. “(Seniors) must be able to age in their homes. They have earned that right and we need them as neighbors,” Walsh said. “We need to support services … Continue reading

Whole Foods to hire within communities of Chinatown and South End

(Left to right) Jessica Taubner, Mark Liu and Marie Moy attended the Whole Foods community meeting on Sept. 29 at the Josiah Quincy School.  
Image courtesy of the Sampan editorial team

By Arick Wong A Whole Foods hiring agreement for Chinatown and the South End was discussed by community members at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School on Sept. 29. The new Whole Foods located at Ink Block, or the former Boston Herald headquarters, will open January 2015. It will be the largest Whole Foods store in Boston, employing about 250 individuals with a starting salary of $11 an hour. Karen Chen, organizing director of the Chinese Progressive Association, hosted the meeting in Cantonese with English and Mandarin translation. Before the meeting, more than 400 signatures were collected to support Whole Foods … Continue reading