Categories
Being Chinese Fiction

Food! Glorious Food!

Magic happens when dough meets sizzling oil. Donuts! Funnel cake!  Churros! Indian fry bread! For us Chinese, it’s youtiao, or in English, OIL STICKS. What’s not to love? I’ve had a hankering for the foods of my Shanghai and Hong Kong childhood. Covid lockdown has made me nostalgic for, well, almost anything pre-Covid. Also, Incensed: A Taipei Night […]

Categories
Being Chinese Fiction

We❤️ Our Grandkids

She wore clothes that I had only seen on servants: light blue tunic, dark pants and cloth shoes. She was short, almost squat. The nape-length hair went straight across. She wore no make-up. Her appearance was a sharp contrast to that of my mom and her lady friends. They wore tailored, silk qipao. They dabbed on lipstick […]

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Being Chinese Self-Help

It’s Not Easy Eating Green

Fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables. As a physician, I have recommended “fruits and vegetables” to a gazillion patients. “Mike, your cholesterol is too high. Eat more fruits and vegetables.” “You want to lose weight, Carol? Fruits and vegetables.” “Callie, you’ll lower your blood sugar eating fewer refined carbs and more fruits and vegetables.” In […]

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Being Chinese Self-Help

“I Love You, Mom and Dad”

“Ming zaw way,” in the Shanghai dialect means, “See you in the morning.” This was how our family bade each other good night. For my entire life, these were the last words I would say to my parents before we headed to bed. To me, their “ming zaw way” meant “Good night, sleep tight.” They, […]

Categories
Being Chinese Fiction

No Tickee, No Shirtee

I recently reread Robert van Gulik’s The Emperor’s Pearl: A Judge Dee Mystery to see if his depictions of Chinese culture still rang true. This book is one of a series of mysteries set in 7th century China about a crime-solving magistrate. When I first encountered these books as a teenager in St. Louis in […]

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Being Chinese Memoir Non-Fiction

West Meets East: Chinese Americans Visit Mother China

I had quite a few knowing chuckles reading Scott Tong’s account of his experiences in China in his book A Village with My Name. Like me, journalist Tong is Chinese American. Even though we grew up in Chinese homes in America, we both experienced major culture shock when we visited China as adults. Early on, […]

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Being Chinese Memoir Non-Fiction

East Meets West: A Century of Connections between Chinese and Foreigners in China

As the last hundred years of Chinese history has had more than its share of upheavals, every Chinese family has stories of separation, betrayal, imprisonment, exile and death. In A Village With My Name: A Family History of China’s Opening to the World, Scott Tong writes about his search for his own family’s story.  Scott […]

Categories
Being Chinese Self-Help

The Joyce Chen Cook Book or Mom, Tofu and Crappies

To us Chinese, there are only two kinds of food: good Chinese food and bad Chinese food. When I was a kid, wherever our family went — Chicago, New York, DC — we always ate at Chinese restaurants. Only after I grew up and realized that I wanted to try local food – BBQ in […]

Categories
Being Chinese Non-Fiction

The Small Are Eating the Old

“The small are eating the old.” My cousin, Yu, whose name means Jade in Chinese, said these words to me when I was in China in 2016. Yu’s point is that the older generations are sacrificing too much for the youth. (In English, I call him “cousin.” In Chinese, he is the grandson of my […]

Categories
Being Chinese Picture Books

The Third Reading Group (or, How I Became a Blogger)

My mother called me a bookworm. She was rather proud of her knowledge of this idiom in a foreign language. She was oblivious to the “lack of social life” aspect that this word implied. She was not wrong. I was usually reading at the dining table, in the bathtub and under the covers. Not resourceful […]