As Jule Spohn has indicated, Newark had
many Chinese restaurants. In the 1950's the one that I visited often
was Low Moon. It was on Market Street near Washington Street across
from Bamberger's. Unlike most restaurants in that area it was located
on the second floor. As I remember it was a very narrow room and
you passed the manager at the front counter. He always seemed to
be operating his abacus. I have no idea what he was counting but
he was always counting something.
How many people remember the Chinese using the abacus?
It was a crude wooden calculator where they would slide wooden
beads back and forth on a rod. I was told that it was very accurate.
The Chinese obviously had problems with the English language.
But they cleverly worked around it with numbered menus and other
aids. Most restaurants had both luncheon and dinner menus. As would
be expected the former was less than the latter.
One day I went to Low Moon's around 3:00 P.M. I think it was the
day before payday and I didn't have much money in my wallet. I had
enough to cover a luncheon but not for a dinner.
I told the waiter what I wanted but he didn't understand my concern
about whether luncheon or dinner was being served. He seemed to
ignore me. I tried to explain to him a couple of times. All of a
sudden he shouted at me" I talka food, no talka price".
When I finished eating I paid the man with the abacus and thanked
God for not having to wash any bowls that afternoon.