culture

As an Asian-American, I’m on a journey of reconnecting with my Chinese culture.

beauty standards

On trips back to China, it was always amusing to hear relatives praise my height, considering my grand stature of five-two. (You can imagine how short the local girls were.) But quickly followed by that would be acclamations for my skin color, or…

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tangyuan, glutinous rice balls

tangyuan Tangyuan are chewy, round rice balls made from glutinous rice flour. You can eat them plain, but fillings such as black sesame, red bean, or peanut paste make for a sweet surprise. Tangyuan is served in a simple bowl of hot water…

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an odd choice of breakfast

My uncle is a tall and lively man. He blurts out English phrases in a terrible accent, chain-smokes, and worships white wine. But since he remarried and now busies himself with changing diapers and patting a milky-skinned baby’s back until he burps, his…

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hotpot: a communal experience

A giant, bubbling pot of stew sits in the middle of a table. Colorful plates of sliced marble meat, leafy greens, fish balls, enoki mushrooms, daikon, and vermicelli are laid out. Several chopsticks fish for food within the boiling broth as friendly conversations…

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noodles

a culinary sensation Sometimes the simplest things in life provide the most versatility. A combination of flour and water brings us noodles, a popular multicultural dish enjoyed all over the globe. The origin of noodles is a contentious debate. Some say Marco Polo…

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tanghulu, candied hawthorn

Chinese “candied apples” On the chilly, winter streets of Beijing, you spot an odd sight: Street vendors selling bright-red spheres stacked on long, wooden sticks. The smooth and glossy spectacle looks like a glass figurine! You find out it’s edible and as you…

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tao zi, peaches

Peaches in Ancient China Originating from China, Peaches or Tao zi were first cultivated by farmers around 4000 years ago. Emperors loved to feast on Taozi, so if peaches happen to be your favorite fruit, you have noble taste. In Chinese literature and…

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mooncake and the chinese lunar goddess

Mooncakes, 月饼 One of the most beloved Chinese desserts is mooncake, or yuebing (月饼). Mooncakes are traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival on the lunar calendar’s eighth month. Different regions have their own variations of this soft, decadent pastry with them boast a…

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the grandmother i never met

Four bowls of steaming white rice and colorful plates of Chinese home dishes crowded the kitchen table. As per usual, my dad’s sonorous voice expressed his opinions on trifling matters, addressing no one in particular while our chopsticks clinked as the bass beat.…

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