Mah Jong every which way
family style
My daughter’s stylish set

Porch style

Outdoor style

We’ve been playing all summer. I love the game, and my daughter is completely hooked.
You usually play with 4 people, but you can play with 3 or even 2. (Or 5 if you switch like in bridge). There are several ways to play it. The Chinese play it very much like gin rummy. The English have a whiole book of ‘special hands’, and my aunt, who taught us, learned the English way while she was living in China, lol.
The real difference is in the various ‘hands’. They all have cool names, like ‘Gerties Garters’, and ‘Heavenly Twins’, or ‘The Ruby hand’, or ‘Dragon’s Breath’. There are three suits, (bams, cracks, and dots) and three dragons (red, white, and green) and the four winds (north, south, east, and west.)
The set-up is easy, once you get the hang of it. And playing is fun and for all ages.
We wanted to get a set, but they are hard to find. So this summer, I promised my daughter we’d take a trip to Chinatown in NYC and see if we could find one. We went down the last day of our visit, and stopped to see Sam, who offered to take us to Chinatown for lunch and help hunt down a set – so off we went. We had lunch in a Fabulous restaurant, I will definitely recommend it to anyone who loves Chinese food – it’s called Shanghai Cuisine, and it’s located at 89-91 Bayard street downtown Manhatten. (corner of Mulberry and Bayard). Everything we had was delicious – I can’t say enough good things about that place.
Anyhow, after lunch we headed east, and hit a small street with some tiny shops, and Sam spotted a mahjongg set in the window! We went in, and the shop owner took down a box, opened it, and took out a huge wooden box with a dragon on it. She opened it, and my daughter gasped in delight. A lovely mah jongg set. My daughter asked the price, and her face crumpled It was expensive. I was just starting to tell the lady that we couldn’t afford it, when Sam said, “Wrap it up! It’s for her birthday!” My daughter was jumping with joy, and all I could think of was ‘we are going to have to carry this 30 pound mah jongg set with us on the plane’. Actually, I was thrilled, and am planning on sending a care package to Sam, with some chocolate and some ‘get skinny’ tea – LOL!
My son managed to cram the box into our luggage, so all we had to do was wheel it around the airport. And now, every night, we play a few hands of mah jongg.
Last night I won with a hand called 5 odd honors.
Thank you Sam!!!!!