Operating out of Junzi Kitchen, the pop-up Nice Day offers nostalgic Chinese American food, including some of the best spring rolls in the city. Bwog Senior Staff Writers, Elena Christenfeld and Yuki Adams, spoke with Yong Zhao, Lucas Sin, and Nicky Chang, the CEO, Head Chef, and Head of Design and Strategy for Nice Day, respectively.
“It is important to be a loyalist to American Chinese food. American Chinese food has very strong ties to people’s nostalgia and memories and it is important to be faithful to that,” says Chef Lucas Sin. And with menu items like Crab Rangoon, General Tso’s Chicken, and Pork Lo Mein, Nice Day offers Chinese American staples that are both nostalgic and delicious. Their bright and fun designs (and free stickers), coupled with menu items like Shake Shake Shrimp, make Nice Day not only a place of memories, but also a takeout experience that is exciting: a true “modern Chinese American food restaurant.”
The Nice Day pop-up is located in the Junzi Kitchen at 2896 Broadway on the corner of 113th street, three blocks from campus. But their takeout delivery format, made easy by the Nice Day website and ordering platform, offers Chinese American food to anyone between 80th and 140th. The pop-up style lends itself perfectly to the classic Chinese American food experience of takeout and delivery.
Nice Day also centers itself on the campaign, “Love our people as much as you love our food,” and those sentiments drive a lot of what Lucas, Yong, and Nicky hope to do. In the face of rising violence and racism against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the Nice Day team hopes that the love of Chinese American food can start opening channels for communication and understanding.
Nicky Chang speaks to this, saying, “when there is conflict, misunderstanding, sense of fear and confusion, whatever it might be, food might be the last space where we can have a civil conversation, where we can offer empathy, comfort, nourishment, healing. No matter where we came from, there is power in the food that you love, and we want to make sure that there is power that lies in the food that we serve.”
And CEO Yong Zhao adds that, “we need to understand hate, and this hate is from misunderstanding and ignorance. Food is one of the things that can expand communication effectively. If you can eat our food first, then we can talk about ourselves and our deserved place in the community. By generating communication we can start to break down the hate.”
With its delicious takeout food, colorful design, and important messaging, Nice Day is a new Columbia eating experience that all should enjoy.
To order from Nice Day, check out their website. And to follow them on social media their Instagram is: @eatniceday.
The deliciousness that is Nice Day
Images via Bwog Staff