Eat a Bowl of Tea takes place in 1949, when New York's Chinatown is about to be turned upside down. Immigration restrictions are ending, and Ben Loy's (Russell Wong) father sends him to China to bring back a bride. It's an arranged marriage, but Ben falls in love at first sight with the beautiful Mei Oi (Cora Miao). After the couple return to New York, the entire community presses in with expectations. It's a big test for Ben-already pressured by his time-consuming new job-and the marriage begins to fall apart. The lonely Mei Oi takes a lover, a slick gambler and womanizer (Eric Tsang). Soon all of Chinatown is deliberating over Ben's private affairs. He nearly loses his now-pregnant wife, an intruder loses an ear, his father is wanted by the law . . . and the young couple have to start anew on their own terms.