“The experiences of Queens Night Market vendors are as varied as their cuisines. Some are all-in with their food businesses. Others have day jobs and work in various professional backgrounds—medical, finance, law, hospitality, education and tech, to name a few. For them, their food entrepreneurship could be a hobby or side gig. Still others do it to share their culinary heritage with the public or spend quality time with their families while working at the market. Participating vendors hail from all five boroughs.”
“Each of the 88 recipes, and the accompanying profiles, is crammed with compelling details.”
-Florence Fabricant, New York Times, May 11, 2020
The vendor-chef profiles in this book, The World Eats Here: Amazing Food and the Inspiring People Who Make It At New York’s Queens Night Market, released May 12, 2020, were adapted by Storm Garner from 50 of her long-form interviews with Queens Night Market food vendors for the Queens Night Market Vendor Stories Oral History Project conducted in 2019. The book was co-written with John Wang, the founder of the Queens Night Market, who curated and edited the recipes contributed by the vendors. Proceeds from book sales will be split between Garner’s oral history project–allowing it to become, through extensive transcription, indexing, and editing, a fully online-accessible public education resource, as it pivots to documenting the effects of the pandemic on the vendors, and the Queens Night Market, which has had to discontinue normal operation until further notice in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but now organizes the hiring of its vendors to make meals for Queens hospital staff in the Queens Borough President’s Office’s Fuel the Frontlines project.
Here’s an article in Queens Ledger about #TheWorldEatsHereCookbook that also mentions my ongoing Queens Night Market Vendor Stories Oral History Project that provided the basis for the chef profiles in the book.
This year I’m conducting another round of interviews with Queens Night Market vendors–remotely now of course–to document their pandemic experiences, and will contribute those interviews to the Queens Memory COVID-19 project.
John Wang, founder of the Queens Night Market and my dear husband, got his oral history done by someone other than me!
Here’s a nicely-edited 4 minutes of it, in which he talks about starting his Queens Night Market inspired by family visits to Taiwan as a kid. 💗
Also mentioned: the racist epithet that was written by his hometown in Texas on his friggin US birth certificate, in 1981! “Mother’s race: yellow” ⁉️😡 (We’re trying to get this changed retroactively: if you know anyone else this has happened to anywhere in the US, please get in touch!)
On 4/28/20 on YouTube Live, co-authors of The World Eats Here John Wang (also founder of the Queens Night Market) and Storm Garner (creator of the Queens Night Market Vendor Stories Oral History Project) joined Kat Lloyd, Tenement Museum Director of Programs, and with Queens Night Market vendor Danny Atehortua of Arepalicious in a dynamic conversation discussing immigrant-owned small businesses, the Corona and Elmhurst neighborhoods surrounding the event, and the impact of the coronavirus on these communities.